• Title: NYPD: A City and Its Police
  • Author: Thomas Reppetto, James Lardner
  • Released: 2000-08-23
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 384
  • ISBN: 0805055789
  • ISBN13: 978-0805055788
  • ASIN: 0805055789
From Publishers Weekly A comprehensive and elegant history of the New York Police Department, this book, written by a journalist (Lardner) and a former cop (Reppetto), charts the department's development, from its origins as a collection of unorganized watchmen in the 1820s to its recent past. In crisp, anecdote-rich prose, Lardner (a New Yorker contributor) and Reppetto (now president of New York's Citizens Crime Commission) take readers on a chronological tourDthrough the years when the department reluctantly adopted firearms and uniforms and when police applicants depended on patronage, through wave after wave of anti-corruption ferment, and through years of controversy. Drawing on sources ranging from the memoir of George Washington Walling, a 19th-century officer who saw action during most of the era's flashpoints (including the 1849 Opera House Riot and the 1863 Draft Riots), to newspaper accounts and legislative committee reports, Lardner and Reppetto assess the potential for good and bad in the city and on its police force. Along the way, they recount colorful stories about early gangs like the Dead Rabbits and Five Pointers; they examine the conflict between the Metropolitan Police and the Municipals, an early rogue offshoot; and they address the department's pendulum-like swings between corruption and reform (which, they note, gets activated every 20 years by a major scandal). They also depict the Giuliani administration's 1990s' "Rediscovery of Crime" and recent controversies like the deaths of Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond, both unarmed black men gunned to death by police officers. Arguing that the cop's lot has barely changed since the 1800s, the two authors assessDin a fair-minded wayDthe enduring relationship between a police force and their city. Their account is at once entertaining, historical and engaged with hard questions about the nature and politics of police workDa true accomplishment. 30 b&w illus. Author tour. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal Given the seemingly endless number of books about the NYPD, police brutality, and corruption, one might think it difficult to find a refreshingly new and in-depth approach to the nation's oldest police force. But this history accomplishes such a feat. Lardner, who has written on the NYPD for The New York Times Magazine, and Repetto, president of New York's Citizens Crime Commission, examine the long history of New York's police from the 1820s, before the city organized them into a formal department, until the near present. In 1820, there were no housing projects, violent gangs, gun-toting drug dealers, or media scrutiny. As time passed, the department mirrored the waves of immigrants that moved to the city, beginning with the Irish in the 1840s, the Italians and Jews in the 1890s, African Americans from the Southern states after World War I, and, most recently, the Puerto Ricans. People who criticize some of the NYPD's controversial actions today might be equally shocked by past actions, which included the common practice of accepting graft, brutality against criminals (with media support), bribery, riots, and competing city police forces, manipulated by politicians. Both entertaining and insightful, this excellent book is highly recommended for all libraries.
Tim Delaney, Canisius Coll., Buffalo
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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