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Blue Blood by Edward Conlon

Blue Blood (2004)

by Edward Conlon

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An exceptional book about a "man in blue" in the Bronx. This book was written and published before "Blue Bloods" appeared on television. And although there are some similarities, the book and the tv show are two separate entities. Most of the book was an enlightening and good read. I say "most" because the author didn't spare the pen in complaining about a certain unnamed few of his superiors. But then again, the book is fact and not fiction. ( )
  moibibliomaniac | Sep 12, 2015 |
Conlon's writing was very good, and the subject matter was mostly interesting, but this book really could have used an editor. A book of anecdotes about life as a New York City police officer did not have to be 550 pages. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 4, 2014 |
With 'Blue Blood,' former detective Edward Conlon delivers an engrossing memoir about his time in the NYPD, starting with his days as a rookie on the street up through finally obtaining his detective badge.

For anyone who's ever been curious about day to day life is like for the, as it were, "boys in blue," the book offers plenty of fascinating insights on all manner of subjects - from the squadroom atmosphere and camaraderie between coworkers, through the bureaucratic BS that Conlon and others had to suffer through. Readers hear about what its like to spend your days chasing down criminals, petty and otherwise, while dealing with a community that's at times welcoming, at other times not so much. Conlon also shares stories from his family history. His father was an FBI agent; his uncle, a colorful cop's cop, and well-liked. His great grandfather, as it turns out, was on the take, something Conlon tried to be forthright about without dismissing him as just another crooked cop. Overall, the stories make for interesting character snapshots, which work well woven in with Conlon's own experiences.

Readers also get some insight on scandals such as the Amadou Diallo trial and how they affected the lives and work of officers just trying to do their jobs. The degree with which the public sometimes distrusts the police becomes evident as Conlon shares stories of his frustration over open-and-shut cases that get thrown out time and time again because the ADAs know juries will never convict, even for the most ludicrous of reasons. It's frustrating to read about as well, particularly for those with a keen sense of justice.

I enjoyed my ride-along with Mr. Conlon, rather lengthy though it were. He's an excellent writer and it shows (in fact, he's since retired to pursue writing full-time and has a novel out). He does a good job of introducing us to his vibrant "cast of characters," making them not just abstract names, vague figures from his past that exist to the reader as little more than letters on a page, but memorable, real people whom I almost wished I knew, all unique and colorful even in their flaws. I think there's a lesson to be taken from that too - cops are just people, and trying to sweep them all under the same label, whether that be Hero or The Enemy, is erroneous. ( )
  Queensowntalia | May 20, 2012 |
So long. Cut it in half and it would have been better. Who edited the book?
Some of the facts were incorrect.
  shazjhb | Feb 22, 2011 |
Blue Blood tells the story of Edward Conlon's campaign from Harvard English major graduate to gold shield NYPD Detective. While chronicling his own journey, he also peppers readers with info about his family and general NYPD history. I enjoyed it; though, it runs a little long, coming in at over five hundred pages. Fielding domestic violence calls--which he doesn't seem to think much of--and the like, he tires of the smallness of patrol, acquiring a taste for chasing drugs and guns, not because of having made any case as to why that might be more important, but because it was simply more fun. He perfectly captures the ineffectiveness of poor leadership, the degree to which human pettiness can find a friend in the mechanisms inherent in a large bureaucracy. I completely understand his frustrations with juries that refuse to return indictments or guilty verdicts because of biases against the police or "the system." His interactions with illogical prosecutors who are afraid of trying cases and are constantly looking for easy ones that result in guilty pleas rang true with what I've seen in bigger jurisdictions. I've spoken with detective friends, trying to find someone to talk to about the book with, but I keep getting the same response: "that's the book by the Harvard plant that got a job as a cop for the purpose of writing his book." I don't think that he got the job to be able to write the book, but I do think that he knew at the time of taking the job that he would write a book about his experiences. ( )
  Voracious_Reader | Feb 13, 2011 |
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As I took my first steps on patrol as a New York City police officer, heading out from the precinct onto East 156 Street toward the projects on Courtlandt Avenue in the South Bronx, a deep voice called out, "Theres a new sheriff in town!"
It is almost a wonderful thing to be hurt as a cop, or rather, there is something majestic in the spectacle of the Job taking care of its own. Highway entrances are shut down all along the hospital route; flashing lights and sirens guard the road as you pass, and escort you to your destination. The world is told that a cop is hurt, and that is all that matters.

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Book description
Blue Blood is a work of nonfiction about what it means to protect, serve, and to defend among the ranks of NY's finest. Edward Conlan is fourth generation NYPD-and the story he tells is an anecdotal history of NY through its police force, and depicts a portrait of the teeming steet life of the city in all its horror and splendor. It is a story about fathers and sons, partners who become brothers old ghosts and undying legacies. Here you will see terms like loyalty, comittment, and honor come to life, in action, on a daily basis. -B&N
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0965446964, Paperback)

Amazon.com: 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 Moe

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:37 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Harvard-educated Edward Conlon is fourth-generation NYPD. Having ascended the ranks from South Bronx beat cop to detective, he knows the city as well as any person can. And what's more--he knows how to tell the stories that bring the city to life as no book ever has.… (more)

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