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War Against the Mafia (The Executioner, #1)
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War Against the Mafia (The Executioner #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,214 Ratings  ·  133 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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Gary Peterson Definitely NOT appropriate for 7th graders, which would be 12-13-year-olds. There are several graphic sex scenes in this first novel, along with…moreDefinitely NOT appropriate for 7th graders, which would be 12-13-year-olds. There are several graphic sex scenes in this first novel, along with f-bombs and even the c-word when a house of prostitution is described as a "c--- castle." Pendleton's lingering and lavish descriptions of breasts, nipples, and "mounds of venus" put this book past PG-13 and well into R-rated territory. And I haven't even touched on the explicit violence. Frankly, I was not expecting the book to boast this much sexual content. My recommended reading would be the Doc Savage series or the Ian Fleming James Bond novels. (less)

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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 04, 2015 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
Apr 09, 2007 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.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the times where it’s okay to judge a book by its cover, as it’s just as cheap and pulpy as it looks. Still, I had fun with this one. I can’t resist a “wronged ultra-badass on an epic mission of revenge” story and this is apparently one of the classics, even going so far as to inspire the fucking PUNISHER (this information gleaned from my Goodreads friend Mike.) I mean, if this dude was the inspiration for the wind of death that is Frank Castle you know I have to check this out. An ...more
Mar 24, 2009 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.
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
War against the Mafia is probably the most influential Men’s Adventure novel ever. Published the same year as Mario Puzo’s the Godfather, it also deals with the Cosa Nostra (or Italian Mafia). However, this is not a gangster story like the Godfather. This is a revenge story.

The plot is very straightforward. Protagonist Mack Bolan comes home from Vietnam to find his family ruined by Mafia loan sharks. He declares war on the Mafia - in Pittsfield where he lives. He infiltrates them in Act 1. In Ac
James  Love
This is the book that started it all. It is highly imitated but rarely duplicated. This is the beginning of the highly successful men's action/adventure genre.

Mack Bolan is mix of Sherlock Holmes, Mike Hammer and Lew Archer. An Army sniper sent home on emergency leave to bury his family. Mack's father kills his wife and daughter and gravely injures his youngest son before turning the gun on himself.

The reason sets Mack on a new warpath. He brings the tactics he learned in Vietnam against the mob
Feb 19, 2013 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
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
Gary Sundell
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that started the men's action genre. Mack Bolan launches his one man war against the Mafia. I first read this well over 20 years ago. The original series by Don Pendelton is now available in Ebook format.
Brian Sammons
May 27, 2012 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.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action-adventure
Having read a smattering of randoms Executioners over the years I'm glad that I finally got around to reading the first book in the series. Mack Bolan's motivations and actions are clearly more morally ambiguous in this book, and although Bolan has dedicated himself to a relentless and brutal destruction of "evil", readers may find this somewhat bordering on psychotic. I think that this level of depth makes Bolan a fascinating character, much more than a typical action hero. All in all an excell ...more
charmaine White
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I'm rereading I read Don Pendleton s Execution series 40 years ago and really enjoyed it.So I decided to read it again.
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, p

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
Gary Peterson
A novel that more than fulfills its mandate to entertain.

Donald Pendleton has been dubbed the "father of men's action-adventure," but what about Edward S. Aarons, Donald Hamilton, and Ian Fleming? Mack Bolan belongs to the same pantheon as Sam Durrell, Matt Helm, and James Bond. I see some fans claim The Executioner belongs to a new genre, but I didn't see a clear line of demarcation.

One thing this novel had that its forebears lacked was graphic sex scenes. The encounters with the prostitutes
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.5 of 5

As a teen, I used to spend a lot of time in bookshops ... okay, I still do, but back in the 1970's I was trolling the bookshelves, looking for anything that I could get excited for. I would ALWAYS pick up one of The Executioner titles, stare at the action on the cover and wonder how much fun the books would be to read, but I also knew that books with such depicted violence would not be particularly welcomed into my househ
T.W. Barton
Jun 14, 2015 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
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
Jul 16, 2009 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
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-hunter-2016
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,
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
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
I read 13 volumes in this series when it first came out and loved it. I had always hoped to get back to it and so it begins.............

Mack Bolan is the deadliest sniper in the Vietnam War but when he is sent home because of a tragedy in his family he finds he must exact revenge for his mother, father, sister and brother. Revenge against the Mafia will not be easy, especially when they put out a kill order on him.

The police are sympathetic but their hands are tied so it up to Mack to kill and n
Nov 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the benefits of the Kindle Unlimited program is that you can find many series that you might have passed over. The Mack Bolan series by Don Pendleton is one of them.

In this first of the series, Mack Bolan is called home from Vietnam because his father went beserk, killed his mother and sister, then himself. His younger brother survived. Mack finds out that there is much more going on under the surface and decides to act.

Not badly written, hence the 3 stars. I found some of the dialog a
Michael Lecter
Feb 08, 2016 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
Jeff J.
Nov 10, 2015 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.
Jul 31, 2015 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.
Christopher Patterson
This is the first book in the Executioner series, this is true men's adventure. Mack Bolan is a special forces sniper, on on Vietnam when he is notified his family is dead. Upon arrival home he finds the cause is due to pressures put on by mafia loan sharks. Mack Bolan embarks on his personal war everlasting against the mafia.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exhilarating action-packed series!
charlie potter
Fast easy read.

25 years ago I had read every Mack Bolan book I could get my hands on. I saw this for Kindle and decided to read it again. It was a fun quick read. I'll more than likely buy some more of the series.
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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 41 books)
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“It was not bleeding quite so badly now, he decided—or maybe he was just running out of blood.” 1 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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