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War Against the Mafia (The Executioner #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  930 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
The mafia destroyed his family after driving them to the depths of degradation and depair. Now Mack Bolan has returned from the jungles of 'Nam, burning with one insatiable desire: revenge!

The Special Forces' top assassin has declared war on the cancerous leeches that are draining America's lifeblood. The underworld may have the numbers - but they're no match for his brut

1st U.S. Edition, 170 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1969)
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K.T. Katzmann Since the moon landing, many red-blooded American teenagers have been exposed to exciting things, often for the very first time, in Executioner…moreSince the moon landing, many red-blooded American teenagers have been exposed to exciting things, often for the very first time, in Executioner novels. Why, my thirteen-year-old self learned some very interesting facts for the first time reading #156 Phantom Force. Why not try something new, and ask your parents any questions that might come up? You may learn a thing or two. But don;t take my word for it!(less)
The Infidel Soldiers by Jams N. RosesWar Against the Mafia by Don PendletonHeart of Stone by C.E. MartinDinosaur Dust by Michael PanushAverage Joe and the Extraordinaires by Belart Wright
Men's Adventure
2nd out of 36 books — 21 voters
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Roaring Rampages of Revenge
9th out of 11 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,725)
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Dale Pearl
I had to dust this book off and reread it. I have been reading so many larger and epic scale novels this month that my brain needed a break.

True story. When I was a young teen my brothers and I broke into a neighbors house and stole away his porno magazines. Along side the pornos we just so happened to accidentally grab a bag full of paperbacks. I don't think anyone else was interested in the books with all the naked ladies in the magazines to stare at. I did my fair share of staring as well but
Quentin Wallace
Aug 06, 2015 Quentin Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, Men's Adventure Novels, it's been too long. This is the first ever book in the long (there's close to 600 books) series of The Executioner. The Executioner being Mack Bolan, a take no prisoners vigilante weaned on the violence of the Viet Nam Conflict. When I was younger I used to read various Mack Bolan novels I'd pick up from the drugstore, but I'd never actually explored the character's roots until I got older. Now that the books are being reprinted as ebooks, I can finally start at the b ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Ok, we all have skeletons in our closets...maybe these are some of mine. Actually the ones of these written by Pendelton himself aren't bad adventure stories, if they happen to be the type you like. I didn't read nearly all the Pendelton books, but did recently pick up one of the later ones written by Harliquin who bought the rights to the series...I couldn't finish it and took it straight to my favorite used book store (which takes trades) to foist off on someone else.

Before I went in the army
David Dalton
I first read this book back in March of 1973 as a young sailor in the Coast Guard. I went to a bookstore/newsstand and picked it up for about $1.25 or so. Loved it! And I got hooked on action thrillers from that point on.

Classic story that might seem outdated now, but it does reflect the times in which it was written (1969). I think the first 38 or so Mack Bolan books were written by Don Pendleton before he just became a co-writer or director of the series.

I still like this book. Picked up #1 fr
Feb 22, 2013 Paul rated it liked it
It's so hard to rate books like this but I tend to be conservative in my ratings unless a book blows me away completely. I liked it and it was a rather decent pulpy adventure/action story. Mack Bolan, at least in this first volume, comes across as a more righteous Parker with a similar vendetta against the Mob. On the plus side, I found the action sequences gripping and well-written and the character of Mack Bolan agreeable. The major flaw in this novel was that I often found myself unable to su ...more
Sep 19, 2007 Adam rated it really liked it
Shelves: action-adventure
I remember reading a smattering of Executioner novels as a youngster, and--reminiscing about how much I enjoyed them--I recently bought a bunch of old Pendleton titles. Of the first several novels in the series, War Against the Mafia still stands out as my clear favorite. The action is hard-hitting, and the story moves quickly while still taking the time to establish the characters and settings.

Another thing that struck me while reading this is how morally murky The Executioner's beginnings are.
T.W. Barton
Jun 14, 2015 T.W. Barton rated it it was amazing
This is not a new book or series. The books in this series are not new to me but I had never read any of them. They were a favorite of my older brother while growing up.

This book and series is a testament to the fact that a great story, strong characters, and great writing are truly timeless.

I love that this series is now available digitally for all of us thriller fans and for all the new readers that will be able to enjoy it.

Mack Bolan is the character who stars in the series that created a new
Apr 01, 2015 Col rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: p, 2015

To avenge his family, a soldier brings home the Vietnam War

In the jungles of Southeast Asia, no sniper was more ruthless than Mack Bolan. After twelve years in-country, with ninety-five confirmed kills, he comes home to the United States only to find that his father has gone berserk, slaughtering his family before taking his own life. But Mack knows his father was no killer. He was under pressure from a gang of Mafia thugs who were after his money and were willing to destroy his
Mar 24, 2009 Dave rated it it was amazing
The first book that I read that I could not put down. This was my hook into the world of reading.

Date read - a long, long time ago.
Brian Sammons
May 27, 2012 Brian Sammons rated it really liked it
Before The Punisher there was Mac Bolan. I won’t say these books are great literature, but I loved them as a teen.
Jul 31, 2015 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read this book, and a number of the ones that followed, though I can't recall their exact titles, when I was about fourteen. What I remember was an engaging story of violence and revenge that captured my young mind and I certainly thrilled to Bolan's exploits fighting against the Mafia types. I really enjoyed these pulp stories. Pendleton does not get the credit he deserves, because his books sold something like 200 million. I hope he was paid well.
Aug 10, 2009 Bill rated it liked it
Mack Bolan is the genre king of these mercenary seeks vengeance against . Mack's issue is with the Mafia. Since these books were written in the late 60's it all revolves around manly men shooting, stabbing, exploding etc the bad guys. There are some 60's references and attitudes that date the books and some outmoded terminology but it works. Mack is very good at what he does and what he does is execute people, usually from a distance. Not that he's ineffective up close mind you. He sees the worl ...more
Of course this is over the top pulp fiction, but it's a fun ride and just what a guy wants in his books sometimes--to quote Q from the Bond movie "Never say Never Again" "gratutious violence and sex." Or paraphrase him.

The story is Mack Bolan (a U.S. Army sharpshooter) comes home from Vietnam to bury his family--his father killed his wife and daughter, wounded his son, then killed himself because he was in debt to a Mafia loan shark. Bolan declares war on the mafia, and sets out to take down the
Apr 10, 2015 Joseph rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Not sure how this spawned a franchise of hundreds of Mack Bolan titles. Some decent action sequences, but spoiled by plot holes and some out-of-this-world pondering and philosophizing about Good, Evil, and the role of War. Also features some corny-ass bedroom dialogue.
Charles Ray
Jul 18, 2015 Charles Ray rated it really liked it
Several years ago I read several of the books in the Executioner series by the late Don Pendleton, but I’d never had the chance to read the inaugural book until now. War Against the Mafia tells the story of Mack Bolan, a Vietnam War vet—a sniper with more than 95 confirmed kills to his credit—who is sent home on compassionate leave when his father kills his mother and sister (and seriously wounds his younger brother) before killing himself.
When Mack learns that Mafia loan sharks were what drove
Derek Perumean
Aug 09, 2015 Derek Perumean rated it really liked it
I'm 20 titles into this series. Only 400+ to go! Is it great literature? Hell no. But it helps pass the time at work when I'm on my lunch . . .or when I should be working but I have to cram 6 hours of fun into 8 hours of boredom. Don't read this with high brow expectations. For me it's like reading Forrester and being transported to the age of sail and killing the French, or reading Woodman and being transported to the age of sail and killing the French, or reading Russell and being transported ...more
May 25, 2014 Al rated it it was ok
Em 1968 os E.U.A. enfrentavam o maior desafio à sua autoridade mundial: a guerra no Vietnam. Ainda sem saberem o caminho que a guerra tomaria, o inconsciente coletivo americano se baseava na dualidade bem/mal, sendo este conceito aplicado cotidianamente pelo cidadão comum.
Não seria diferente, nem poderia, a concepção psicológica adotada para o personagem Mack Bolan, ex-combatente dos vietnamitas que se vê obrigado, por sua moral de soldado, a enfrentar o mal em sua terra natal antes de tentar e
Liam Storrings
2.5... maybe

Pure 60's pulp - but kind of fun, once you get past the fact that it is very much a product of it's time.

The Punisher-esque story is fun when Bolan is taking the fight to the Mafia. Cheesy,at times PSA level, writing along with blatant sexism that would put Fleming's Bond to shame really drag it down.

I picked up the book on an impulse, seeing it for sale on amazon and remembering reading one of the series I picked up from a discard shelf as a kid prompted me to buy the first four.
May 23, 2016 Cyurry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-hunter
A Vietnam War soldier returns to the states and unleashes hell on the Mafiosi. It sounds like a straightforward tale. However, Pendleton unfolds the story in a somewhat philosophical manner. The solider, also known as the Executioner, isn't fighting his fight out of revenge, but because of the quintessential idea of good versus evil. His side is good, even if his means of violence may not seem like it, and the Mafia is evil, which must be extinguished by soldiers willing to fight.

A quick read,
Dec 28, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it
Sharpshooter sniper, Mack Bolan returns from Vietnam when three members of his family are murdered – by his father. In debt to a loan shark Mafioso who also forced Mack’s sister into prostitution to pay off the debt, Mack’s dad lost it, defying the Mafia’s enforcers by killing himself, his wife, his daughter, and severely wounding his youngest son.

Once Mack realizes that, he also believes that the Mafia is strangling America and for all the good she stands for – and declares war.

Though not parti
Steve Vincent Furness
Men's adventures novels of the 60s and 70s are my not-so-guilty reading pleasures. I love them, in all of their pulpy, over-exaggerated goodness. Don Pendleton's Executioner is probably my second favorite - the first being the Nick Carter "Killmaster" series of spy novels that attempted to cash in on the James Bond craze. But I digress. The early Executioner novels hit all of my most primitive bases: they're fast, violent, sexed up, and hardcore badass. I can't account for the later Executioner ...more
Joel Mitchell
Over the last few years I've gotten into the hardboiled detective genre of pulp fiction: snarky protagonists who sometimes stray into gray areas, flirt with most attractive women they come across, and turn the bad guys over to the law (unless they have to kill them in self-defense first). This series of pulp books ratchets all of that up a level with a protagonist who most definitely operates outside the law, beds most attractive women he comes across (including a couple prostitutes in this part ...more
Jan 09, 2015 Jay rated it it was amazing
The Executioner, War Against the Mafia by Don Pendleton is the first book of a lengthy series of "serial"novels from my younger years. I am excited to see these books possibly coming to the digital age for a new round of readers to get engrossed in. I voraciously read these books when I was younger but could never find this one in paperback, so I had never read it. If this is your first in this series of books, never fear, they get better, with less down time. I received this book from the publi ...more
Michael Lecter
Feb 08, 2016 Michael Lecter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first in a series of Don Pendleton's classic action adventure novels. Mack Bolan is a classic fight-for-the-good-cause hero, and the plots are fairly plain vanilla. One of the things I like about the author is that he doesn't deviate too far from reality in order to make a story line 'work.' I see overstretched technology used all to often in contemporary fiction in order to justify an action or an outcome. Anybody that likes the crime/action/adventure should get a baseline by checki ...more
Tyson Adams
Dec 21, 2015 Tyson Adams rated it liked it
If you go to war with the Mafia do you have to use Tommy Guns?

Mac Bolan is a one man army and he has the Mafia in his sights because reasons. And he gets the girl. I think that sums up the plot. Change Mafia for some other antagonist and you have the plot for the entire series of the long running young-men's action novels.

When I was young Indiana Jones was the prototype for action-adventure movies. They were amazing. It took a long time for them to be released on DVD, but when they finally did
Charles Ray
Dec 19, 2015 Charles Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several years ago I read several of the books in the Executioner series by the late Don Pendleton, but I’d never had the chance to read the inaugural book until now. War Against the Mafia tells the story of Mack Bolan, a Vietnam War vet—a sniper with more than 95 confirmed kills to his credit—who is sent home on compassionate leave when his father kills his mother and sister (and seriously wounds his younger brother) before killing himself.
When Mack learns that Mafia loan sharks were what drove
Frankie Roxx
May 03, 2015 Frankie Roxx rated it really liked it
The Executioner. Mack Bolan is indisputably the crowned king of the men's adventure books that ran so rampant during the 70's and 80's. Granted that might not be saying much in many people's eyes as these books were often considered to be literary “trash”. To be sure the writing on many of the men's adventure books was churned out at an often ridiculous rate and many suffered from poor editting, amateurish writing and poor character development....but when you're reading men's adventure books yo ...more
Mar 15, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Πόλεμος εναντίον της Μαφίας", εκδόσεις Άγκυρα.

Πρώτο βιβλίο της σειράς Ο Εκτελεστής που διαβάζω, αλλά δεύτερο του Ντον Πέντλετον, μετά από ένα αστυνομικό μυθιστόρημα με τον τίτλο Μπάτσος για νοίκιασμα, που είχα διαβάσει το 2010 και που δεν μου είχε φανεί κάτι το ιδιαίτερο.

Ο Εκτελεστής είναι, φυσικά, ο Μακ Μπόλαν, λοχίας του αμερικανικού στρατού, που έχει φάει με τα κουτάλια τα πεδία μάχης στο Βιετνάμ. Όμως μια μέρα μαθαίνει τα δυσάρεστα: Η μητέρα του, ο πατέρας του και η μικρή του αδελφή, σκοτώ
Feb 02, 2016 Ray rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this re-released story from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

I first heard of Mack Bolan, the Executioner, about 15 years ago. For some reason, despite the fact that the series sounded interesting, I finally got around to reading my first Executioner story when I saw that the stories were being re-released as e-books. Boy am I sorry I waited so long to read this series!

Maybe this wasn't the first action novel ever written, but it's a damn good one. Mack Bolan didn't w
Jeff J.
Nov 10, 2015 Jeff J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Executioner and his imitators during the 1970s "created" the genre of men's adventure novels, but I believe it is more accurate to call them the heirs of the pulp novels of the 1940s. The Executioner is definitely more violent, and the love-making more explicit, than such forerunners as the Spider or the Avenger, but in both cases the books emphasize action and plot over other literary tropes.
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Don Pendleton was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, December 12, 1927 and died October 23, 1995 in Arizona.

He wrote mystery, action/adventure, science-fiction, crime fiction, suspense, short stories, nonfiction, and was a comic scriptwriter, poet, screenwriter, essayist, and metaphysical scholar. He published more than 125 books in his long career, and his books have been published in more than 25 fo
More about Don Pendleton...

Other Books in the Series

The Executioner (1 - 10 of 40 books)
  • Death Squad (The Executioner, #2)
  • Battle Mask (The Executioner, #3)
  • Miami Massacre (The Executioner, #4)
  • Continental Contract (The Executioner, #5)
  • Assault on Soho (The Executioner, #6)
  • Nightmare in New York (The Executioner, #7)
  • Chicago Wipe-Out (The Executioner, #8)
  • Vegas Vendetta (The Executioner, #9)
  • Caribbean Kill (The Executioner, #10)
  • California Hit (The Executioner, #11)

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“It was not bleeding quite so badly now, he decided—or maybe he was just running out of blood.” 0 likes
“hissed. The other nodded silently and they moved slowly toward the rear of the apartment. The larger man paused near the bedroom door, squinting in the near dark to inspect a long-barrel pistol he held in his hand. A silencing device was attached to the barrel of the pistol. The other man touched the pistol, his teeth revealing themselves in a smile. “No pissin’ around,” he whispered. “This guy’s good with a gun, they say.” The man with the pistol nodded and slowly turned the knob of the bedroom door, pushed the door wide, and stepped inside, the second man right behind. They were momentarily blinded, squinting into the bright rectangle of sunlight beyond the bed, but the gunman raised his arm and squeezed off three quick shots into the huddled lump on the bed, the big pistol “plutting” dully under the muzzle silencer. Then there was a sliding sound in the corner” 0 likes
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