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The Dark Arena
Mario Puzo
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The Dark Arena

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,480 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
They lived in a world of ruthless men and their women. A world of naked power and secret influence. A world outside the law, beyond the law, above the law. They lived in - The Dark Arena. Mosca: young, tough, ambitious. He liked the wheeling and dealing and he wasn't afraid to kill; but there was one thing he didn't reckon with: love. Hella: she loved Mosca more than life ...more
Published (first published 1955)
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Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-books
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
Asghar Abbas
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Watch Mario Puzo Hemingway his way around in a first novel published under his own name, after the bad start that was Six Graves to Munich. For a longest while I thought The Dark Arena was his first published book. Sometimes writers go through this, I am not naive, I just thought Puzo was a masterwordsmith from the get go. But then again, Tawni O'Dell wrote five novels she thought she Should write before getting her Back Roads (an excellent novel) published, every writer's woes, I suppose. The D ...more
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like most people, the reason I read this book is that I LOVED the Godfather. I happened to love this book too, but expecting it to be like the Godfather was a HUGE mistake.

Puzo is great I writing about crime, manipulation, betrayal, negotiations, murder, etc. But I don't think he ever really wanted to be this kind of author. Puzo never actually wanted to write an entire book about mafia. He'd written a good book with a a small part about mafia, and his publisher told him the novel would have be
Jul 09, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 10, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Amira Abdellatif
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Anu Lal
Dec 16, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
in my opinion it's one of the best Puzo's books (after the Godfather). I enjoyed it very much! )))
Jun 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sharang Limaye
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Puzo's little known 'The Dark Arena' is a forgotten gem. The commercial failure of this novel apparently pushed him to writing pulp crime stories and the rest is history. It's not difficult to imagine why this book didn't do well. Its a dark, very dark love story set in post-World War 2 Germany. The protagonist is a misanthrope. The heroine is a wimp. The love story is doomed right from the word go. The miracle is how all this comes together to make one of the most haunting tales of tragic roman ...more
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Mario puzo but not just because of Godfather and so on (which I love too) . He has written different styles of books and I always enjoyed them.
This one, a novel about a soldier after war, how life change you and how you react to all of that. He created a good bunch of different characters with different ways to live, think and face life. Each of them has their own internal war.
May 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jim C
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Adriana Fogaça
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Título: A Guerra Suja
Autor: Mario Puzo
Tradução: Áurea Weissenberg
Editora: Record
Ano: 1955
Comprar: Infelizmente só nos sebos.


Este é o primeiro livro de Mario Puzo, para quem está costumado com O Poderoso Chefão, pode não gostar de A Guerra Suja. Particularmente adoro. Acho o livro um relato fiel de uma Alemanha devastada e subjugada pelos americanos após a derrota na Segunda Guerra Mundial.

A obra conta a história de Walter, jovem soldado americano, que se alista ao exercício com o idealis
Vishnu Nair
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Adolfo Pérez
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La primer novela de Mario Puzo.
He de confesar que este es uno de los libros que abandoné el año pasado, después de varios capítulos no me logró enganchar, pero hace unos días “le di una segunda oportunidad” y simplemente no pude dejarla.
Creo que al principio me vi influenciado por las demás obras de este autor pues inconscientemente esperaba una historia de gánsteres.
Se trata de la historia de un soldado estadounidense, Walter Mosca, qué regresa a su país después de la guerra y no se logra adapt
Oct 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-reviewed
I struggled to get through this one, it became to dry of a read. This was the first book of Puzo I had read and I thought, "It's bound to be a good read since I had enjoyed the Godfather so much." It was nothing what I had anticipated. The main character became uninteresting after awhile and everything else after that, story and all, just became too dry and boring. This was one that I had put down and kept picking back up little by little just to finish it, and finally I finished. After reading ...more
Michal Skrivan
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
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
Scott  Breslove
My first Puzo, which I had on hand, and would help me decide to buy the Godfather or not. Yup, I'll be picking up the Godfather the next time I get a chance. The Dark Arena was good, not great, but it was definitely an enjoyable read exposing a time and setting I was not very familiar with. The characters, although not very likable (which I've seen other reviewers complain about), we very well done, each fitting in their own niche. Overall it wasn't a very pleasant book, not what one would call ...more
Sujit Banerjee
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow I thought this book of his was his best. Godfather off course remains a classic but this book had more pathos and closer to reality in terms of war and its aftermath. He draws from himself being a soldier and witnessing death at close quarters. He tells a story of a man without nation, without love and hope. He returns to America after WW2 and realizes there is nothing left for him there. He moves to Germany to pick up lost threads and fails. What is left is a life without anything to lo ...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
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
Razibul Hassan
May 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 19, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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.
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mike Grady
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-year
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.
Tahmidul Islam
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This guy is a friggin' genius. I couldn't believe this was his first book. I've read the Godfather books, and fell in love. Found this book in the store and got it. It was awesome. The story was amazing. There's probably some sign of immaturity in his writing, but it's great anyway. The plot is kinda simple but filled with emotions. The main character is confusing. I loved the time and place the story took place in. Gives you a nice picture of the post WWII situation.
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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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