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The Dark Arena

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  1,166 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The first novel by the author of The Godfather begins at the end of World War II, as Walter Mosca returns home from war to an uncertain life as a civilian. He returns to Germany to find the woman he once loved, and to build a life there, but succumbs to the corrupting influences of a malevolent time.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Ballantine Books (first published 1955)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,157)
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Aurore
i read this one in the darkest days of my life, when i thought too much about my life, about what i'd lost and how i could... die without hurting anyone around me. i felt touched with this story of a soldier who couldn't again get in touch with his loved ones at homeland and that made him return to Germany to find the only one, his woman, who got all his trust during darkest days of the WWII. her love helped him go on with his life until the day she passed away. nothing left and worth to him sin ...more
Peter
This was Mario Puzo's first novel and became a bestseller after he wrote the superb Godfather. Obviously many readers(like me)who'd read the Godfather raced to buy the The Dark Arena. It is dreadful, beyond dreadful in fact, poorly written a terrible and totally boring storyline and it is hard to believe that the author of the Godfather penned this rubbish. It is testimony though to his enormous improvement as a writer and story-teller in his later novels.
Beth
Although the the setting was intriguing, post war occupied Germany, I really did not like this book. The main character just did not have an redeeming qualities. He seemed to have no emotions or feelings, no matter who was hurt or killed. He finally seemed to have a bit of love for his German mistress but even that seemed forced at times. It is a very, dark, unforgiving book and one I would not recommend.
Jim C
This book takes place after World War II in Germany. This is about an American soldier that returns home to his family and his girlfriend who has waited the whole time he was in the service. The problem is that he is a changed man and he doesn't want this scenario anymore. He returns to Germany for the woman he fell for while he was stationed there.

The author does a fantastic job with the setting and the mood for this novel. One cannot help but get a feeling of dreadfulness throughout this novel
...more
Amira Abdellatif
I expected a "Godfather" setting, but it's totally different: there is no honour here. Published in 1953, it shows Americans in Germany in the years after the War. The conquerors and the conquered living in a city of ruins. It is savage, and brutal, and there is no-one to blame. Puzo lays out the emotions and thoughts in precise, delicate detail. A real masterpiece.
Michal Skrivan
Mar 09, 2014 Michal Skrivan marked it as to-read
Tento první román světoznámého prozaika se odehrává v poválečném Německu. Je to období norimberského procesu a okupačních zón, ale i doba nových možností pro poctivé i podnikavce bez skrupulí. Americký voják Walter Mosca se obohacuje obchodem na černém trhu. Válka udělala z tohoto 23letého mladíka drsného muže spoléhajícího jen na vlastní sílu. Jediným, na kom lpí, je něžná milující Hella, s níž má syna; když ji však tragicky ztrácí, nezadrží ho už nic na cestě násilí, na kterou se dal... Německ ...more
Lauren
Another super sad Puzo, but something about his writing makes you read until the very end, despite the inevitable misery and emptiness you're going to feel.
Nazim
in my opinion it's one of the best Puzo's books (after the Godfather). I enjoyed it very much! )))
Anu Lal
Unreadable!
Matt
The was a decent read, but I am not really sure why. Nothing super interesting really happens (although there are some moments). I like Puzo but it's not as though he writing style is mesmerizing. This is definitely the least interesting of all his books. There isn't any sort of secretive plotting or manipulation or anything like what he writes so well. I found all of the characters pretty hard to relate to.

Yet somehow I enjoyed it, it in no way felt like a drag. I looked forward to picking it u
...more
Vishnu Nair
The first thing that strikes you when you read The Dark Arena is the stark contrast to the other works of Puzo like The godfather, Last Don and the likes. Puzo uses an entirely different narrative structure and you wouldn't find any of sudden twists, travelling back and forth in time, he keeps it straight here with a linear storytelling. Nor would you find lengthy side tracks. Not surprising as it is one of the earlier works of Puzo.
The story takes some time to get us engaged but halfway throug
...more
Cathy
The language was strong and the writing was vibrant, as Puzo's work always is. But the plot was weak, the characters were unlikeable, unrelatable, and in some ways flat. Couldn't bring myself to finish this book.
James Nolan
Sorry to say didn't enjoy this one .Have all his books so hope they get better .only his first book I suppose.
Karunakaran N.
The Dark Arena by Mario Puzo... The first book of Puzo (1957). Set entirely in the backdrop of the aftermath of WWII. Mosca from the US was a soldier of the Allied Forces returns home after war but emotionally bitter returns back to Germany where he finds solace to his perturbation, loses his love Hella (German) to the dire conditions after the war. Puzo has portrayed the play of human emotions when the world seems to be at the end. Well written no wonder Godfather was a great success.. The nove ...more
Sarah
I would not have chosen to read this but I really liked it.
Ennaciri Mehdi
something on mario puzo's making u read till the last page
Apps *ąþþℓεş щïŧɧ şþℓεεŋ ïş şҩųïşɧγ*
This came as a pleasant surprise. I didn't go in expecting to like this book, and the first few pages didn't make an impression on me either, but as the book progressed, I actually grew to like it. Though I usually don't read stuff that are not a-thousand-things-happening-at-once stuff, this book was more that good enough to keep me in it's grip. I must say, Mario Puzo knows his business. More than the plot, it's the subtle way he narrates that makes it worth reading. I just may give his other n ...more
Michael Chrisman
For some reason i cant give ratIngs with this phone i got, i dont have a computer. But i want to give this book 5 stars. I cant believe the average rating is less than 4 stars, wack. I cant remember the dudes name who is the star of the book but i remember the book. It was real. What, i dont get it, someone didnt like it cause it wasnt fake. I read it in like one night as i was in twin towers los angeles county jail level 9, waiting for the chain. My cellys name was rob and his dad sent him the ...more
Mike Grady
This was one of the rare books where I found myself loathing the main character. I found myself caring more for the supporting characters that then main one.

The book is centered mainly in immediate post WWII Germany and the emerging black market in cigarettes. The main character is a US veteran of the European theater and is incredibly selfish.

Not sure if Puzo meant to intentionally explore the audience's interest in such a loathsome character. Either way, I just can't recommend it.
Victor
Great book, but not perfect. (view spoiler) The problem with this book is the lenght of several innecesary parts, making the reading at some points very annoying. Overall, it's a good book. Good and sad
Razibul Hassan
Some People might not agree it as one of the greatest work by Puzo but this is mostly because they expect a godfather like story from this book which is completely the reader's contradiction of interest. The story set about a soldier after the war is indeed a compelling one. The fortunate Pilgrim and The Dark Arena in my opinion are two great books written by Mario Puzo who is well-known for his work of Mafia story.
Sandi
it took me a bit to be engaged, but once i was in, i was in to the end. visceral description of WW2, really delves into the psychological aspects of the effects of war on the conqueror and the conquered. poignant, shocking at times. i was surprised that this was Puzo's first book, he is an excellent writer. it's obvious that he had first-hand experience in the war. reminds me that i need to reread The Godfather books...
Guilherme Gontijo
Sem sombra de dúvidas, esse é o pior livro de Mario Puzo. Você o compra esperando um livro de guerra eletrizante com estratégias e planos (como the godfather fez ) e quando começa a lê-lo se dá conta de que é um dramalhão deprimente sobre um soldado remoendo as tristezas da guerra. De real já basta a vida. Não recomendo.
Vivek Malleshappa
Amazing how Puzo keeps the mood of the novel dark throughout the book.
Loved the way he has painted post war Germany,the relationship of the conquered and the conqueror and the functioning of the black market. The tale of love between the protagonist and his Fraulein warm your heart. Excellent read and very different from his only other I have read, 'Godfather'.
Angel Serrano
Las cicatrices de la guerra tardan en curar. Walter, en su vida de soldado recién licenciado al acabar la segunda Guerra Mundial, no encuentra su sitio en los Estados Unidos. Al volver a Alemania se encontrará otro mundo donde la violencia y el amor se entremezclan.
Uygar Öztürk
it's like a train ticket to nowhere.
Ann
It is an "ok" book by then starting author Mario Puzo. Partly lacks composition, partly reminds of Remarque. But good enough for the beginning author
Kaustubh Sanyal
Sluggish in its pace but it reminded me of the Opeth Songs, one which you need to give it time ans listens and has an awesome finale.

Firuza Kabilova
Hustlers and Survivors. He knows how to keep the story dark, mystic, you just want to dive more and more to see what's in the bottom.
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Puzo was born in a poor family of Neapolitan immigrants living in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York. Many of his books draw heavily on this heritage. After graduating from the City College of New York, he joined the United States Army Air Forces in World War II. Due to his poor eyesight, the military did not let him undertake combat duties but made him a public relations officer statione ...more
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