Little Caesar
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Little Caesar

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  71 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The savage chronicle of a gangland bosss odyssey toward power and destruction in the sChicago underworld of the 1920s. Burnetts short story, Dressing Up, won the O. Henry First Prize in 1929.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 1989 by No Exit Press (first published 1929)
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In 1929's Little Caesar, author W. R. Burnett, who had in a minor way infiltrated the Chicago underworld, strove to capture the career criminal, his milieu, and his idiom. Much of what was innovative in 1929 may seem quaint today; as a result, it can be easy to miss that Burnett was fomenting a revolution in crime fiction that would culminate 45 years later in the works of George V. Higgins and Elmore Leonard. But the highest praise for Little Caesar is that it is still a potent read today. The...more
Rob Kitchin
Little Caesar is considered to be the first American gangster novel, highly innovative for the time for its social realism in depicting how a gang was run and organised, their crimes and on-going struggles with the law. He subsequently converted the book into a screenplay and it was made into a movie (1931), also considered the first classic Gangster film. In total he wrote over 40 novels and the screenplays for over 50 movies. The plot for Little Caesar is very linear, telling the story of the...more
C. James
I consider this the best "gangster" novel I've read. It launched Burnett's writing career and set the style for this type of fiction and film. Nobody seems to read Burnett anymore though this one sold well over 5 million copies. First published in 1929, Burnett's prose still crackles when some of the contemporary writing by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett creaks.

My favorite edition is the 1956-7 reissue with the new introduction by Burnett, looking back on how he came to write this watersh...more
Cesare Bandello, dit Rico, modeste membre d'un gang italien de Chicago, est un petit homme simple.

Il n'aime que trois choses au monde : "lui-même, ses cheveux et son revolver".

À l'issue d'un hold-up commis par sa bande, il abat froidement un policier et profite de l'incident pour prendre par la force la tête du gang.

Devenu chef, le petit César affiche sa véritable personnalité et règne en despote.

Ambitieux et arrogant, il s'attire vite la haine des bandes rivales et de ses propres hommes. La...more
Geert Daelemans
First gangster novel ever - a classic

Imagine yourself being flown back in time to the late 1930's and dropped of into a dark and lonely alley on the north side of Chicago, commonly known as Little Italy. This area, ruled by the mob, forms the setting for Little Caesar, world's first gangster novel.

Sam Vettori is one of the toughest gang-bosses of Little Italy, but his days are counted. A new ambitious predator is on the verge of throwing Sam from his throne. Cesare Bandello, commonly known a 'Ri...more
Larry Piper
The classic gangster book, which became a famous movie starring Edward G. Robinson. This wasn't a particularly well-written book, from a literary point of view, and it seems rather cliched today, but I'm guessing it was more-or-less the genesis of the gangster cliches.

Basically, it's the story of a tough guy who worked his way up in the Chicago gangster pantheon. Then he was identified and became a fugitive, eventually ending back in Toledo, where he'd begun his life of crime. He finds it horri...more
This was sort of a whim checkout on my online library--I was searching for some interesting fiction and had been talking to my boyfriend about this flick and he had not seen it--so then I thought, "I wonder if their is a book available!?"...and there was. I was surprised--this was much better than I expected!! Ran along like a train and you just did not want to put it down--I have the flick in my Netflix queue because the dialogue in the book was easily as snappy as the movie and just as fun. I...more
Nov 11, 2007 Qt rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in film noir or gangster stories
Shelves: noir-style
"Little Caesar" was, I believe, the inspiration for the 1931 gangster film of the same name, starring Edward G. Robinson. There are a few differences between the book and movie, but the plot is the same, and chronicles the rise of the gangster Rico. It took me a bit to get into the swing of the writing style--things are shown, rather than described, and the motives and thoughts of the characters are not always evident. But, being a fan of this era, and also of 30's gangster movies, I really got...more
Very easy, fast read. As entertaining as a Cable TV movie on a Sunday afternoon when there isn't much else to do. There isn't much substance. There is no lesson to be learned. It's simply a collection of action scenes. Maybe in the 1930s this would have been a gem, but 80 years later, there's not much meat there.
ascesa e declino di rico, piccolo gangster italoamericano nella little italy di chicago. secco e rapido, spietato e senza fronzoli.
Jan C
Good story becomes good movie. It is a little different from the movie but still good.
Surfing Moose
You see I read this book and I read it good.
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William Riley Burnett (November 25, 1899 April 25, 1982), often credited as W. R. Burnett, was an American novelist and screenwriter. He is best known for the crime novel, Little Caesar, whose film adaptation is considered the first of the classic American gangster movies.
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