"A great book... with the testimonial force equal to that of Michael Herr's Dispatches."—Time
Edward Conlon's Blue Blood is an ambitious and extraordinary work of nonfiction about what it means to protect, to serve, and to defend among the ranks of New York's finest. Told by a fourth generation NYPD, this is an anecdotal history of New York as experienced through its police force, and depicts a portrait of the teeming street life of the city in all its horror and splendor. It is a story about police politics, fathers and sons, partners who become brothers, old ghosts and undying legacies. Conlon joined the NYPD during the Giuliani administration, when New York City saw its crime rate plummet but also witnessed events that would alter the city, its inhabitants, and its police force forever: polarizing racial cases, the proliferation of the drug trade, and the events of September 11, 2001, and its aftermath. Conlon captures the detail of the landscape, the ironies and rhythms of natural speech, the tragic and the marvelous, firsthand, day after day. A New York Times Notable Book and Finalist for The National Book Criticics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
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As a Harvard graduate and regular writer for the New Yorker, Edward Conlon is a little different from most of his fellow New York City cops. And the stories he tells in his compelling memoir Blue Blood are miles away from the commonly told Hollywood-style police tales that are always action packed but rarely tethered to reality. While there is action here, there's also political hassle, the rich and often troubling history of a department not unfamiliar with corruption, and the day to day life of people charged with preserving order in America's largest city. Conlon's book is, in part, a memoir as he progresses from being a rookie cop working the beat at troubled housing projects to assignments in the narcotics division to eventually becoming a detective. But it's also the story of his family history within the enormous NYPD as well as the evolving role of the police force within the city. Conlon relates the controversies surrounding the somewhat familiar shoo! ting of Amadou Diallou and the abuse, at the hands of New York cops, of Abner Louima. But being a cop himself, Conlon lends insight and nuance to these issues that could not possibly be found in the newspapers. And as an outstanding writer, he draws the reader into that world. In the book's most remarkable passage, Conlon tells of the grim but necessary work done at the Fresh Kills landfill, sifting through the rubble and remains left in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 (a section originally published in The New Yorker). In many ways, Blue Blood comes to resemble the world of New York City law enforcement that Conlon describes: both are expansive, sprawling, multi-dimensional, and endlessly fascinating. And Conlon's writing is perfectly matched to his subject, always lively, keenly observant, and possessing a streetwise energy. --John MoeAbout the Author:
Edward Conlon is a detective with the NYPD. A graduate of Harvard, he has published columns in The New Yorker under the byline Marcus Laffey.
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