Previously published essays on the NYPD explore the last 150 years of crime-fighting in a tough town.
Adrenaline Books editor Willis (Kennedys, 2002, etc.) does it again, this time pulling together an admirable selection of works on policing that explore the ways New York cops cope with the demands of the beat, balancing coverage between upright guys and an impressive collection of cops on the take. An excerpt from Serpico appears almost as a matter of course, but Studs Terkel’s interview (taken from Will the Circle Be Unbroken?, 2001) with a retired NYPD officer is a nice surprise, especially when the man details a rescue made while dangling by a rope from the top of the World Trade Center. A 1953 two-part story on John Cordes, the only two-time NYPD Medal of Honor winner, written by Joel Sayre for the New Yorker, leaps out as extraordinary writing about an almost unbelievably heroic character. Regular Joes are represented in an excerpt from Brooklyn Bounce (1994), in which former cop Joe Poss gives a matter-of-fact lesson on the difference between working in Manhattan and Brooklyn. And, of course, since corrupt cops make for good stories, you’ll find plenty here. An excerpt from Mike McAlary’s Buddy Boys (1987) illustrates how one cop went bent from a combination of a crooked partner and working the night of the 1977 blackout (“After I saw everybody in the community looting, I just didn’t give a shit about what happened on the street anymore”). A twist is found in Vincent Cosgrove’s exploration of the career of John Manca, in an excerpt from his biography, Tin for Sale (1991); Manca had chosen the police department over the family business, which just happened to be the Cosa Nostra.
Meaty tales for the law-abiding, armchair adventurer.