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The God Father – Book report
The God Father begins with a discussion between The Don and a person named Amerigo Bonasera. The immediate backdrop in the conversation is the mistrust between the Don and this character as the man asks for justice from the don after their relationship has been strained over the years due to Bonasera choosing the ‘American way’ of trusting the law and police to handle personal matters such as in Bonasera’s case the brutal assault of his only daughter, instead of calling upon trusted Sicilian figures (Italian American gangsters) to resolve the issue. But now as the justice system has failed in process of punishing the perpetrators, Bonasera has now come to the Don to demand justice, yet as the Don is a businessperson at heart and the demands of Bonasera will be granted but the man will pay a price eventually. Away from the initial setting of a plead for justice the day the book starts on is the Dons daughter’s wedding a joyous occasion in which all members of society attend from governors to gangsters all to pay homage and respect to the Don.
Despite the day being his daughter’s wedding, the Dons priority is business and as it goes a close friend of the family, Johnny Fontane (a famous singer) is another man asking for the Dons services. This time Johnny Fontane wants the Don to intimate a big-time director in Hollywood (Jack Woltz) to allow him to expand his talents into the movie industry. The Don grants his Godsons request and states famously that Jack Woltz will “receive another he cannot refuse”. As so the next day he sent his consigliore (Tom Hagen) to attempt to bargain with Jack Woltz.
In California Tom Hagen tries to bargain with the director yet the man is stubborn and refuses to budge on giving Johnny Fontane the lead role, such that in an outburst of pride and anger Jack Woltz insists he will not be intimated by “Goombas” and sends Tom Hagen away. Yet after realising who sent Tom Hagen, Woltz invites Tom for dinner. Woltz explains how Johnny Fontane personally insulted him and therefore made a promise to never give Johnny Fontane any type of future in the Film Industry. As such Hagen realising, he may have to try other methods of persuasion leaves calmly, only for the next morning to have left the severed head of a prized racehorse on the bed where Jack Woltz was sleeping.
Back in New York the Don grants audience to a character referred to as the ‘Turk’. This new character wanted to persuade the Don to sponsor his efforts in the heroin trade. The Don refuses the proposal and sends the ‘Turk’ away. The Don being suspicious decides to investigate this new character and sends Luca Brasi to follow and spy on the Turk and his connections. As such the Don discovers the Turk is allied with the powerful Tattaglia family. However, in seeing Don Corleone’s knowledge of the operation as a threat, the Turk and his allies begin to purge and intimate the Corleone family, as such Luca Brasi is killed, Tom Hagen is kidnapped, and the Don is shot but survives an attempted assassination attempt.
Soon after, people discover the Don is in fact alive, Tom Hagen is released and The Dons youngest son visits his father in the hospital, yet in this visit Michael (the don’s youngest son) discovers that the Turk has corrupted the chief of police and as such this police chief was offering the Turk protection. With the hospital visit behind him Michael returns to the family house to discuss the situation with The Dons other son, ‘sonny’ and the various other underbosses and captains. As such Michael produces a plan to kill both the Turk and the police chief.
The plan goes perfectly and as a precaution Michael is sent to Sicily to hide from a potential revenge attack, while in Sicily Michael finds love and marries a women called Apollonia. Meanwhile back in New York with the Don still in recovery, Sonny takes charge of the family. However, in the discovery of his newly married sister being abused and beat up by her new husband, Sonny in a fit of rage rushes over to find and kill his sister’s husband, however he is trapped in a toll booth and subsequently machine gunned to death by multiple assassins. The Don now grief stricken and able to walk calls a meeting with the ‘5 families of New York’ to plead for this crime wave be finished.
Back in Sicily Michael discovers the death of his brother and as he rushes to leave, a car bomb blows up his wife an explosion meant for him. Michael now back in America meets the women (Kay Adams) he left behind when he went to Sicily and proposes to her. Yet his soon to be fiancé makes Michael promise that she would only marry him if within 5 years he will turn his back on crime and make the family business entirely legitimate.
With the Don ill and no other option being viable, Michael takes charge of the family. Yet prominent underbosses ‘Tessio and Clemenza’ become frustrated with Michael’s inaction against the previous murders of close members of the family, that Don (Vito) Corleone let slide. As well as this other families begin to sense weakness in the new Don. It comes to Michael’s attention that there may be resentment and greed brewing in the ranks of his family and businesses. Yet despite this Michael has planned for his family to move out of New York and subsequently move to Nevada to cash in on the booming casino business of Las Vegas.
Back in New York the Michaels Father (was the old Don Corleone) advises Michael that upon his death, members of the business, who will attempt to let outsiders in on family business have been corrupted by outside influences and would subsequently try to steal for themselves all what the old Don has fought to build.
One evening as the old Don is playing with Michael’s son, The old Don collapses and dies. Yet at his funeral it is Tessio, a current underboss and old friend of Michael’s father who advises Michaels to meet with the leader of one the other families of New York. At this point Michael realises that Tessio is the traitor that the Don warned him about.
At this moment as Michael is attending a baptism for his sisters newly born child and his plan to purge the traitors within his ranks comes inti effect. Later, as Michael prepares his move to Las Vegas he is questioned by his fiancé, Kay Adams of the rumours of the widespread killings after she made him promise all business of the family would now be legit, she notices how Michael denies all rumours yet knows he is lying. Kay Adams then goes to get a drink, as she returns to his office she waits outside and notices that he is surrounded with underbosses and ‘caporegimes’ kneeling down and killing his hand calling him “Don Corleone”.
Main Characters
Michael – A war hero who the Don never intended to get involved in the family business. He is the youngest of the Dons sons yet is the most respectable, honourable and intelligent. Michael is said to greet adversaries with a “cold stare” compared to his older brother’s sonny who would go into fit of rage and harm anybody who would stand in his way and Fredo who would cowardly shy away from anybody who would bring him harm. In this logic although the Don never intended for Michael to be involved in the family, he is the best fit, compared to his other brothers. By the end of the book Michael turns into cruel, ruthless gangster like his father was before him.
The Don – A wise tyrant with reaches from the very top of government to the dark alleys of the underworld who would wield his influence, name and power for the gain of his family. Yet the Don was a poor orphan from Sicily who was said to remain fair and known for being a reasonable and friendly man, who also happened to be the most murderous and greedy leader out of the 5 New York families.
Tom Hagen – A lawyer and the adopted son of Don Corleone who despite being of different blood and ancestry he was the Dons right hand man in all manner of occasions. Hagen was always the voice of reason amongst his adopted brothers and stayed loyal throughout. He subsequently rose in the ranks of the family and ended up being both The Dons right hand man and the man Michael first turned to. As the Don said, “a hundred lawyers with brief cases can steal more money than a hundred men with guns”.
Minor characters –
Fredo and Sonny Corleone – Fredo is the weakest and most cowardly brother and thus is not included in the family business, yet Michael sends him to Las Vegas to look after the families interests yet falls victim to his desires and fails at asserting Michael’s power in the city. Sonny is the oldest and physically strongest yet is not as bright as Michael or Tom, he has a wild temper and is a ruthless enforcer of his father’s influence, yet sonny has a softer side and is extremely protective of his family as seen in his responses to hearing his sister is being abused.
Connie and Mama Corleone - It is Connie’s wedding that is the setting of the opening of the book, yet in her marriage she is cheated on and abused, yet during the purges of the end of book in which her husband Carlo was a victim of her and Michael’s relationship is broken. Mama Corleone is the matriarch of the family and is the wife of Don Corleone.
Impressions and thoughts on the God Father –
The God Father is undoubtedly a masterpiece of modern literature. This story of the New York mafia sparked an uproar in popular culture around this topic. Yet despite all that is wrong with a murderous and corrupt mafia family, Mario Puzo portrays the Corleone’s in such a way that on many occasions you find yourself agreeing with many of the actions within the book and rooting for the Corleone family to dominate in whatever they do.
Each character shown to us in the book initially seems trustworthy and respectable especially the Dons Children yet as we read on flaws arise, seen in the youngest sister Connie being naïve, fragile and trapped in a marriage doomed from the start, Fredo the second oldest yet a weak, cowardly and unintelligent man, Sonny a large strong domineering man yet to impulsive and violent to ever achieve success like his father. Yet it is Michael the youngest, a war hero, a man who as a war veteran and a ‘true American’ who wanted nothing to do with the family business, who in the end inherited his father’s position. This character development is equally intriguing and exciting as the story tests each of the Dons children and subsequently rejects them in favour of Michael
In the end the reader feels both curious to who Michael will eventually become but also notice how a once respectable and law-abiding citizen degenerates to become a ruthless and murderous head of a powerful mafia family.

1984 – George Orwell – Book Review
Summary –
The book 1984 is divided into 3 parts, book 1, 2, 3. As expected the novel begins in book 1 and in this first section we are introduced to the protagonist, Winston Smith. The book begins with Winston coming home to his depressive apartment. Immediately as Winston enters his house, he is confronted with a picture aggressively stating, “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU”. From the beginning of the book the context is drawn out clear and the setting is built up instantly, showing that Winston is a low-ranking member of the outer party and is subject to high degree levels of observation and subsequent persecution. As such we are told that in his apartment there is a “telescreen” present, a device that monitors those who are present as well as relentlessly transmitting propaganda to whoever is in its vicinity. Winston’s rebellion to the state is shown instantly as it is noted that he makes effort to avoid its path.
The plot begins with Winston buying an old diary from an antique shop in the part of town where the ‘proles’ live. The proles being a lowly underclass of the population which the state and their enforcers (The Thought Police) consider to be a waste of time and effort to deal with. In his apartment Winston hides in a corner away from the observation of the telescreen and as he is lost on a daydream begins to write in the diary. After a while he notices he has copied out the phrase “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” several times. At this moment as he regains self-awareness, he knows that through his actions he is guilty of a ‘thought crime’ and knows that this minor act is now a dangerous game of rebellion against the state and ruling party.
As the book progresses Winston now realises, he is addicted to this act of rebellion despite knowing full well this activity can get him arrested and killed. Winston writes in his diary of dreams for rebellion and notes that through working the underclass (proles) of society his rebellion will be successful. Winston also laments on a man named ‘O’Brian’ a ranked party official who Winston believes could be an ally in his dream for rebellion.
By the end of Book one Winston has explored the neighbourhoods where the proles live yet finds little to help him picture a world before the party took over. In the antique shop in is now back to buy a paperweight. Winston is shown by the owner, a room upstairs without a telescreen and a very distinctive picture of a church (a building that represents religion a concept in which the state is hostile towards). However, on his way home from the shop, Winston is suspicious that his acts of rebellion may have caught up with him and suspects he is being tracked by the state’s enforcers (the thought police). As a result, Winston is in fear of being torture and put to death by the state and subsequently plans his eventual suicide.
In book two we are shown how a relationship between Winston and another member of the ‘outer party’ Julia develop. Winston who noticed the “Dark haired woman” in book one helps her as she has fallen on the floor, subsequently in helping Julia get back up and hands him a small piece of paper that states “I love you”. Winston being confused in this random act of affection in a bleak and depressing society immediately suspects Julia to be a spy. Yet in time this random act of kindness persuades Winston to not pursue efforts to kill himself and convinced that Julia is a potential ally, Winston and Julia plan to meet in secret during which their relationship develops further.
By chapter 3 of Book two Winston and Julia rent the room upstairs from the antique where Winston had previously purchased both the paper weight and diary from. The rented room has no telescreen and a picture of the church (as mentioned previously). This picture begins to symbolise life before the oppressive state took over and the picture evolves into a type of haven for Winston to keep his desire of rebellion to continue in difficult and arduous times.
In the middle of Book two the high-ranking member of the inner party O’Brien who Winston thought of as a potential ally (in Book one) contacts Winston. Yet by now Winston now begins to realise that he is on a path of suicide in his defiance against the state and ruling party. But nevertheless, Winston agrees to meet with O’Brien. At this moment in the Book Winston begins to have flashbacks and is now reliving much his childhood. Winston is traumatised by the events of political struggles in which he left his family behind. Winston now believes that it was his actions that lead to the death of his mother.
Along with Winston reliving his past, the couple (Winston and Julia) lament on how serious their actions of rebellion are and subsequently fear that their lives may be in danger. As such the couple try to get out of renting the room upstairs from the antique shop, but they soon discover that they cannot be released from renting the room. At this moment in the novel the couple begin to fear for the worst and make a pact to never stop loving each other in the face of the persecution and torture they may face.
At this moment the couple (Julia and Winston) are in a meeting with O’Brien and the couple declare themselves to O’Brien that they are against the state and its values and that they fundamentally enemies of the inner party. However in towards the end Book 2, while the couple are in the rented room, they hear a voice. The couple notice the sound is coming from a telescreen that has been placed behind the church picture (ironically). Immediately after, the state enforcers (Thought Police) enter the room and take in the couple. It is now revealed that the owner of the antique shop was not a ‘prole’ but an operative of the state enforcers (thought police).
The reader in book 3 is immediately greeted with the image of Winston being held against his will in a bright prison cell. Winston is shown to have been tortured both mentally and physically for a period. It is again revealed to the reader that in the face of this hardship Winston again plans to commit suicide. It is at this moment in which O’Brien again visits Winston and reveals to him that he was indeed a spy.
O’Brien states to Winston that the only way to cure him of his rebellious tenancies is through relentless punishment and both physical and mental torture. O’Brien is right torture does begin to turn Winston away from his rebellious past and is subsequently brainwashed to the fact that Winston famously agrees to the statement “two and two make five”. However, despite the torture, misery and despair is taking over Winston and now is relentlessly calling out for Julia, as such he regains awareness and again confesses his hatred for ‘big brother’.
In chapter 5 of Book 3, Winston’s greatest fear is used against him, rats. And consequently, as the guards threaten and eventually prepare to involve rats in their torture methods, he gives in and demands for the rats to torture and harm Julia and not himself. At this moment O’Brien knows that all this torture had worked and allows Winston access to the outside world again. But Winston has changed and when he sees Julia again in the future, he does not bat an eye but finds her disgusting.
Main character analysis –
Winston Smith – Named after the famous WW2 prime minister Winston Churchill is an ordinary man of 39 years of age. He is a member of the outer party and is employed by the ministry of truth. Winston’s rise to prominence is through his heroism yet he does not execute his plans effectively enough to surpass the all-knowing forces of the thought police. Seen in foolishly placing his base of operations in a shop owned by a spy as well as documenting every move of his in a forbidden diary. Winston also admires a member of the inner party O’Brien for most of the book, even dreaming about him believing him to be an ally yet is eventually captured and tortured by this man he looked up to so much. The stark contrast between Winston in the beginning of the book and the character he eventually becomes leaves the reader feeling hopeless for any hopes of improvement in the world of 1984 as displayed by Orwell.
Julia – “The dark-haired women” who Winston believes to be a zealous supporter of Big Brother and the inner party who eventually turns out to be an impulsive and loyal girlfriend of Winston. Soon after a “secret meeting” Julia shows Winston her desire for revolution and is shown to be righteous and having a want for justice. Julia does what she does because in her eyes it is the right thing to do. Yet like Winston by the end of the book and with both characters being held captive for periods of time she is indifferent to Winston. By the end not only has her desire for revolution been forgotten but also her love for Winston.
Big Brother – The mysterious, all knowing, and ever observant leader of the totalitarian society depicted in the book 1984. He is not once seen in the flesh but is present in the millions of posters stating, “Big Brother is watching you” and only the telescreen broadcasting propaganda. Big Brother inspires an equal amount of fear and paranoia but also seems to gather plenty of loyalty love and support from his subjects. It is clear in the book that Big Brother is a fictious character in the realm of 1984, seen in how at the end O’Brien dodges the questions that Winston asks him. Nevertheless, the entity that is Big Brother is an intimating concept and was intended by Orwell to represent real life figures.
O’Brien – An intelligent and charmful high ranking member of the inner party who captivated Winston desires for rebellion and twists them against him and being the deciding factor in converting Winston for dissident to model citizen. Yet amongst all the torture and sabotage he does to Winston he is noted to respect the character Winston due to the intellectual challenge he brings him throughout the Book.

Impressions and opinions in 1984 –
The dystopian Novel by George Orwell is not a happy story and neither has a happy conclusion nor beginning. Each character whether a real person or a non-real entity in the world of 1984 plays a role and is affected by one another. The protagonist Winston is used as a tool to push the limits of freedom in the world of 1984 and subsequently as he steps to far is pushed back and reverted to a model citizen, this event also happened to his girlfriend Julia, this shows the power of the state and how the inner party has complete control and serves as a metaphor that the theme totalitarianism and how a dictator can manipulate and control history, thoughts, and lives in such a way that no one can escape it, is an unfortunate reality for both the fictional world of 1984 and also is a reality for much of the human population today and throughout history who are forced to live under similar restrictions and measures. Orwell’s main message in the book is how much of what he writes is not based on fiction but real-life occurrences.
Overall Orwell’s 1984 is a depressing, yet addictive read. This is because as much of what is displayed are real life things rather than fictional events and the constant oppression shown in 1984 is a reality for many across the globe.
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
Summary –
Heart of darkness a novella authored by Joseph Conrad; it is a story about imperialism. The protagonist, a man named Charlie Marlow tells the story of his experiences in Africa. The book begins with a group of sailors (who the protagonist is amongst) waiting on the river Thames for the tide to go out. At this moment the protagonist (Charlie Marlow) thinks what it must’ve been like for the roman conquerors in ancient times, as they would’ve first set eyes on the marshy untamed banks of the river Thames that has not yet been civilised. This thought reminds Marlow of his own account of travelling to such uncivilised lands in the middle of Africa. This brings Marlow back to the past and he begins to recount to the men he is present with about his own journey into Africa.
Marlow who had always been fascinated by the mystery of the African continent had joined a European trading company along the river Congo. Marlow who had prior experience in being a sailor Is placed in charge of a river boat. The company Marlow works for is an ivory exporter. Whilst travelling on a French steamboat along the wild African coast to get to his station, Marlow notices a particular scenario in which a European gun boat is firing blindly into the jungle from the coast. There seems to be a conflict between European traders and the natives. This event leaves Marlow puzzled.
Upon Marlow’s arrival to the first company station, he notices the abundance of apparent criminals who are being put to work around the station. Yet despite the company claiming these people are criminals they are just slaves. Marlow is present at this first company station for about 10 days and learns of a man named Kurtz. Marlow is told that Kurtz is a “remarkable man” and somebody who has great chances of promotion within the company.
It takes a 15-day hike through fierce jungle for Marlow to finally arrive at the central company station. Where he is supposed to pick up his steam boast. Yet upon his arrival he Is told that his steamboat has sunk. And it will take 3 months for it to assume back to working order. Yet Marlow’s mission is an urgent one as due to unforeseen delays the company is in desperate need to resupply further upriver stations. At this moment the manager who is discussing the matter with Marlow mentions “Kurtz” and speaks highly of him.
In the months it takes for repairs on the boat to be repaired. While still repairing the boat Marlow overhears a conversation between the station manager and his uncle (a leader of a greedy mining group searching for value in the region). The manager tells his uncle that he received a note from Kurtz over a year ago. The note is said to tell the company to leave Kurtz alone. Yet despite his disappearance Kurtz has continued to send massive quantities of ivory down the river via a fleet of canoes. In the same conversation Marlow hears of a competitor encroaching in on Kurtz efforts and the men discuss that such a competitor should be hanged.
Eventually after three months Marlow begins the journey upriver accompanied by the manger and other company members on the journey. The group of men enlist a group of natives who are said to be cannibals. The team arrive at a hut on the bank of the river and discover a house with a book written in English in it. At this point the manger believes the house belongs to the competitor he heard about.
As the group sail through the jungle, they are attacked by natives and a crew member is killed. Marlow believes now that Kurtz must surely be dead considering the hostility in the area. After some time on the river Marlow notices a man waving on the banks in front of a decaying building, Marlow now knows the group has finally reached the upriver company station. Marlow talks to the man who was waving at him and realises that the man is a Russian working for a Dutch company who has been on the river for 2 years and has met Kurtz before. Marlow soon realises that this is the man who was the competitor, and it was his house that contained the book. The man also tells Marlow that the natives meant no harm but were only afraid that the group would take Kurtz away. Marlow learns that Kurtz has been raiding nearby villages for ivory with the help of a tribe who treats their leader (Kurtz) like a God. Around the station Marlow notices several heads on spears and the Russian says to Marlow that Kurtz has lost all sense and that Kurtz himself had become a savage. At this point the manager and the other men come out the decaying hut carrying a man (Kurtz) who is extremely ill.
Onboard the steamer the manager and Kurtz are seen arguing. Marlow who hears Kurtz declaring that the group are disrupting his plans and that he vows to return to the wilderness. At this point the manager tells Marlow that Kurtz has become a liability to the company, the Russian soon asks Marlow not to speak bad of Kurtz yet after Marlow told the Russian that the manager had planned to hang him the Russian left. Whilst on board the riverboat Marlow notices that Kurtz had escaped. On the riverbanks he sees a trail in which, on all fours Kurtz had escaped through, heading towards a fire in the distance. Marlow follows the trail and manages to get Kurtz on board the riverboat again. That morning the group depart and leave behind a mob of angry natives shouting mournfully as Kurtz is taken away.
As the group sail downstream Kurtz’s health deteriorates. Marlow while watching Kurtz say his last words notices him state the phrase “the horror the horror” soon after it is announced that Kurtz has died.
After Kurtz died Marlow returned to Europe and receives a visit from the company demanding that he hand over the papers and document Kurtz had left Marlow when he died. Yet Marlow gives the company meaningless documents. Whilst back in Europe Marlow visits Kurtz’s fiancé he left behind and gives her all the documents and reports he left him and lies to her about the circumstances of his death.
Now that the story is over, and the tide has come in Marlow states to his ship mates that the Thames leads to a “heart of darkness” suggesting that London is not too far removed from the depths of the Congolese jungle.
Characters –
Marlow – “Marlow is a wanderer, an explorer, a discoverer”, despite the reader not knowing much of Marlow’s life before his adventures into Africa, we know he is an experienced sailor and a man of modesty as well as being courageous. To the reader Marlow is very much the dominant moral force in the novel as he is the only white character who questions the treatment of the natives. As well as being a moral force Marlow comes across as a normal man who happens to find himself amongst people of desire and greed. This feature in Marlow’s character makes him relatable to the reader.
Kurtz – From quite early in the Novel, the reader only hears good things about Kurtz. Yet when we finally meet Kurtz, it is hard for the reader not to feel disappointed. It feels as if Kurtz’s presence is brought forward by others more than himself. However, despite his meagre appearance Kurtz role in the novel is the metaphor of the ‘white man's failure in Africa. As we see and intelligent, noble and brave explorer equipped with every philanthropic ideal along with the finest technology fall into a shell of a man who manipulates a tribe to steal ivory of their fellow peoples to send to a European export company.
The manager – An average man who inherited his success from his family’s business. Yet despite the managers unremarkable personality he creates uneasiness to whoever is around him. He is smart but his crew does not respect him or is loyal to his leadership. The managers personality can be summed up in his initial praise of Kurtz yet at the end of the novel he reveals that in his opinions on Kurtz’s methods are “unsound”.
The Russian – A young man who seems very fond of Kurtz. The Russian has been stranded for over two years and he seems to make up for this isolation by becoming very chatty when we encounter him. This chatty nature of the man is used to tell the reader much about Kurtz’s behaviour in the wilderness. Yet unlike other explorers in the novel the Russian comes across as unscathed by greed and simply respects the natives and wishes for the wilderness the Europeans what to exploit be left alone.
Thoughts and reflections on the Book.
Heart of Darkness is at times a slow and uneventful read. Yet this works to its advantage. As a reader we are faced with a build in momentum as Marlow sails down the river. This increase in momentum is aided by the rumours and stories of Kurtz. Yet when we meet Kurtz, we as readers feel underwhelmed. We do not see a brave and respectable man but a man who has fallen into the depths of corruption and savagery. However, Heart of darkness serves a deeper purpose and to many is a story of greed and fortune, yet it is equally a story of human nature and its flaws. This purpose whether intended or not has morphed the book into a journal of the European exploitation of the African continent. Whether the author felt sympathy for the African natives during this era is unclear. This has therefore left the question, are the characters in the book racist and imperialistic or are just men caught up in one great adventure?

Wise Guys – Nicholas Pileggi
Henry Hill a working-class kid of Irish and Italian descent tells the story of his life, while being in the safety of witness protection. This autobiography is written by crime journalist Nicholas Pileggi. This book was the basis of the Movie Goodfellas.
Henry Hill is introduction to the mafia and their criminal behaviour begin when he is 11 years old. Coming from a cash strapped family with many kids Henry is captivated by the expensive cars and suits of men who regularly are about a cabstand near his house. Henry’s curiosity in these men lands him a job at this cab stand. Despite this job coming as a welcome opportunity in the eyes of his family, Henry soon becomes consumed and begins to skip school and family duties to be around the Cabstand.
Soon Henry is quickly rising the ranks and learning all sorts of criminal activities. The Cab stand is owned by Paul Vario who is a high-ranking member of a mafia family and subsequently used the cab stand as a base of operations. Paul takes Henry under his wing and becomes a sort of mentor to Henry. Yet Henry’s excessive time spent at the cabstand does not go unnoticed and when he receives a letter from school detailing his absences, his parents are incredibly angry. To prevent such a thing happening again Henry and his new friends kidnap the mailman and very creatively persuade him to stop sending letters from henrys school to his house.
Henry Hill is arrested at the age of 16. And through the mafia’s lawyers and their reputation he gets off easy. Yet despite his parents’ fury, this event is seen as a sort of inhiation in the mafia world and subsequently as Henry did not ‘rat’ on his friends he is greeted outside the courtroom with a celebration. However, after his arrest Henry does decide to join the army to appease his long-disappointed father, but Henry does not last long in the military and is kicked out for crimes such as loansharking.
Soon after Henry is discharge from the army, he meets his soon to be future wife on a double date with a fellow mafia associate. Despite his girlfriend, Karen being from a middle-class Jewish family and Henry being a working-class mafia associate she quickly falls for his dangerous and risky personality and soon the couple are married. However, Karen soon realises whom she has married and the life he pursues but she enjoys the money and lifestyle he brings her, despite always worrying about the chances of him getting killed or going to prison.
Henry's criminal activities are now accelerated after the opening of an international cargo airport nearby his house and thus stealing cash and produce from this airport becomes Henrys main source of income. At this point, we are introduced to Jimmy Burke an Irish mafia associate who has a passion for stealing and quickly he and Jimmy begin to devise greater robberies from the airport including one that would rattle the airport's owners leading to an increased security presence. Henry now an established mafia associate is feeling the effects of his way of life especially the murder and disposals of deemed troublemakers and those who are seen to have stepped out of line.
While enjoying the rewards of his robberies and various businesses Hill gets a new girlfriend and begins to live a double life away from his family and wife. This infuriates Karen yet despite his unfaithfulness she still loves him and refuses to leave him even if he is sent to prison.
However, the life of a risky and flamboyant mafia associate is always going to catch up with you and after a drunken bar fight Henry is sent to prison. However, Henry’s prison experience is different from normal people and enjoys certain luxuries others would only dream off. However, a cash strapped Henry hill must find other ways of supporting his wife, children and girlfriend while in prison and turns to dealing drugs whilst inside prison.
Henry after an easy life in prison is eventually released and with experience in drug dealing (an activity frowned upon by his mafia bosses) he quickly returns to his old criminal ways. While outside of prison Henry begins to be involved in a heist of a considerable sum of cash. As usual Jimmy Burke is responsible for organising the heist. However, despite the apparent seamless execution of the plan, many loose ends are left untied, and many mistakes are made. As such Jimmy Burke embarks on a killing spree of those who were careless in the operation and greedily realises the more people, he kills that were involved the more money he keeps himself.
News of this robbery is quickly brought to the attention of the FBI and their encroachment into the case gets a lot of people worried. The FBI soon confirm Burke’s identity. Henry at this point is also arrested on the account of his drug dealing operations, however this arrest comes welcome to Henry as he is happy the police got to him before Jimmy did. At this point the FBI leverage Henries Drug charges to prosecute his friends higher up in the mafia and after Karen is nearly killed by Jimmy and Paul Vario turns his back on Henry. Hill decides his best option is in the criminal protection programme.
As a result of his protection by the law Henry must testify against his old friends and subsequently puts Vario and Burke behind bars. Out of his original crew and friend’s Henry is the only one alive and not dead or in jail and therefore lives a life away from New York under a different name. Yet despite a new life, home and running a successful business Henry still very much misses the excitement and adrenaline of his old life.
Characters –
Henry Hill – A young ambitious and at times charming mafia associate, who rose quickly through the ranks. Yet his fast-paced lifestyle often catches up to him leaving him fearing for his life at times and regularly running into the law. However, Hill by the end of his story has completely turned his back on his lifestyle and the price he had to pay was to trade his freedom for prosecution and jailtime of his once close friends.
Jimmy Burke – A man involved in crime and doing hits for the mafia from an incredibly early age. Jimmy is not technically a full-blown member of any mafia family but works for himself and often only using his mafia friends to bolster his efforts in his passion for stealing. Yet this shows jimmy to be fundamentally greedy and self-serving seen in his reckless killings of crew members after the heist went wrong. Yet Jimmy’s actions pushed his own downfall, leading Henry to snitch on Jimmy in fear that if Jimmy isn’t not in prison Jimmy would kill henry and his family.
Paul Vario – The leader of the crew Henry was part of. Paul is an imposing figure who had connections in both the high and low reaches of society. Paul is old school and demanded his crew never be involved in drug dealing. Paul eventually turns his back on henry due to his drug dealing yet his association with Henry eventually leads Henry to testify against him.
Karen – the loyal wife of Henry who sticks by his side despite his cheating and criminal activities affecting her and her children. Karen however does become involved in Henries drug activity and herself begins using drugs like Henry. However, she manages to be let of easy like Henry and they subsequently start a new life together in the criminal protection programme.

Thoughts and impressions on wise guy –
Wise guy an autobiography and eventually the script for the famous movie ‘Good Fellas’. Wise guys depict the highs and lows of mafia life, along with everything in between. We are also shown how and why a young kid would get mixed up in such a life. The book puts a human face on many of the criminal activities we often see on the news. However along with what is explicitly written in the book we also see how crime has evolved in the lifetime of Henry Hill. This is shown how a crew of outlaws went from running small time gambling operations to dealing drugs in mass as well as robbing huge sums of cash. The story also depicts the apparent ‘downfall’ of the American mafia and how the once imposable force in the crime world collapsed in on itself, due to greed and a lack of an honour code that once held it together indefinitely.
Overall, the book wise guy is thrilling exciting fast paced and enjoyable to read with a heavy climax and in the end left feeling sorry for Henry despite him coming clean and living a legit where he does not have to step over people to achieve success.

The prince – Machiavelli
Machiavelli’s the Prince is short guide on how to run a country and is essential a guide and pamphlet on how and why politicians do what they do. His Writings hold relevant and true in this modern era just as they did in the 15th century.
Machiavelli was a late 15th century political advisor and theorist in the Italian state of Florence. Machiavelli’s the Prince argues that a good Politian or leader is not kind and honest but someone who is not afraid to get their hands dirty and step over other to enrich and enlighten the people they rule over. Machiavelli argues that a Politian should not rely on being nice to gain popularity but someone who should strive on being effective no matter how this goal is met. And once the public realise this fact, they will learn to be less disappointed in the politicians that rule over them.
In Machiavelli’s the prince he outlines the qualities a leader of a state should desire if they want to be successful. Machiavelli argues that a prince should not be thought as soft and easy to disobey nor should a leader be so cruel, he disgusts those around them. Thus, Machiavelli suggests a leader should be uncompromisingly strict yet always being seen as fair and reasonable.
Summary –
In Machiavelli’s the prince he outlines how a prince (any sort of leader) should rule, take power and keep power. Machiavelli’s guide for those who are not yet a leader yet desire to be is as follows, one who wants leadership must follow the example of successful leaders in the past as well as being well-armed and always secured. Machiavelli’s guide on how to keep power suggests that any potential resistance should always be dealt with swiftly and as soon as possible and if necessary, violence must be used to instil fear. Yet for a leader not to be resented by their subjects, they must allow gradual improvements of life and rewards to their population. A leader must be favoured by their population if they want to rule successfully. Yet a leader’s security is not guaranteed unless they can raise and recruit a large and motivated army from the people they rule and that for their leadership to be successful they must not rely on mercenaries to fill their ranks as well as not relying on outside states helping them in their wars.
The most famous message from the book is that a leader should not be afraid to be seen as mean as being overly kind and spending freely on their population can lead to ruin for that state and its people. As well as this fact Machiavelli argues that a leader should want to be feared as with fear they can rule effectively and easily control their population. These points boil down to the argument, that a leader is safe only if their population fears them enough to be obedient yet is loved enough for his leadership not to be resented.
Machiavelli in his book outlined leaders throughout history and claimed a once powerful Italian prince lost his power through indecisiveness and being overall ineffective, and not through misfortune. Machiavelli states that fortune is only dictates half of our actions and that hard work effects the other half. The metaphor of a torrential river is used to describe misfortune, as at times where the water is rough it can damage property yet when the water is calm the people can prepare to minimise the damage yet therefore Machiavelli argues that misfortune is often created through lack of insight the random unfortunate events.
At this point Machiavelli concluded by admitting that a leader is desperately needed who will follow this book to rid Italy of its barbarians and to unify all the warring states.

Thoughts and impressions on The Prince-
Machiavelli’s methods are questionable for a modern reader. Yet much can be taken from what he says and be implemented in our own lives. This controversial little book has been banned and scorned. Through Machiavelli creating this book an adjective “Machiavellian” has been coined to describe an entity as cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics. Yet despite the instructions for why and when to kill people as well as arguing that all politicians must have a corrupted moral compass, Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ still contains truly relevant information and once you have read it you it will change the way you see politicians forever.
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Report 2 months ago
What do I like about the review? You have written it in a professional and comprehensive way.

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