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Blue Bloodby Edward Conlon
National Book Critics Circle Award nominee
Synopses & Reviews
The life of a New York City police officer, with the NYPD running through his veins: a highly anticipated nonfiction epic — destined to be a classic.
Blue Blood is a bona fide literary masterpiece, an important book about what it means to protect, to serve, and to defend among the ranks of New York's finest. Conlon's canvas is great and complicated — he is the product of generations involved in law enforcement, good cops and bad — and the story he tells is impossibly rich: it presents an anecdotal history of New York through its police force, and paints a vivid portrait of the teeming street 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, commitment, and honor come alive, in action, on a daily basis. With brio and a thrilling literary style, Conlon depicts his life on the force — from his first days walking a beat in the South Bronx to his ascent to detective. The pace is relentless, the stories hypnotic, the scope nothing less than grand.
Edward Conlon is a son of the Bronx, who still lives and works there. His father was a police officer who left the NYPD to join the FBI. His uncle was a lifelong officer of the NYPD. His great grandfather was a crooked cop — a dandy who "carried the bag on Atlantic Avenue" — during the Tammany Hall era. Blue Blood brings together a gifted writer with a subject he owns: Conlon captures the exquisite detail, the hilarious exchange of dialogue, the tragic and the marvelous, experienced firsthand, day after day. He has the Irish gift of storytelling, an old-school delivery, a killer sense of irony, and a sentimental heart.
Conlon's father envisioned bigger things for his son, the Harvard graduate; but to Conlon, there is no greater job in the world. He answered the call. In the end, you know why he's a cop, why anyone becomes a cop. Without question, Blue Blood will be one of the most talked about and celebrated books of the year.
"A street-smart and hilarious memoir from Conlon....Conlon's prose, buffed to a high sheen, mixes the rich and rowdy dialogue of police and 'perps' with department lore....Crackling sharp — and utterly compelling." Kirkus Reviews
"Conlon is a wonderful writer, street smart and poetic, arresting you with his deft turn of phrase....Readers are lucky Conlon gives them a pass into his world." Connie Fletcher, Booklist (Starred Review)
"Conlon is a cop's cop and his book [is] a dazzling epic of street life and rough camaraderie....Vibrant and hilarious." Washington Post Book World
"This book, already hailed as a masterpiece of the genre, may be the read of the decade." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
"Stunning, poignant, and at times bitterly funny." Newsday
"There is a long and colorful history of New York police books, but this is the Moby Dick of them all. Steeped in rich lyrical description and powered by a curious and discursive mind, Blue Blood explains the job and its history like no book before..." Chicago Tribune
"Ironic, instructive, perplexing, poignant, hilarious, horrific...a notable, remarkable work." San Francisco Chronicle
"[M]ay be the best account ever written of life behind the badge....The amazing thing about Blue Blood is that where a lesser writer would just have gone numb, Conlon stays alive to the humor and the sadness and the ironies of life..." Lev Grossman, Time
"[S]prawling, wry, opinionated, beautifully written....Blue Blood, in terms of its ambition, its authenticity and the power of its writing, is in a class by itself." Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review
"Blue Blood is the most stunning memoir ever written about the cop world....You will never forget this superb book." Joseph Wambaugh, author of The Onion Field
"[A] well-rounded and insightful look at life as a cop." Boston Globe
"Det. Ed Conlon sets the bar for the true crime procedural and the cop memoir genres impossibly, unreachably high..." Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential
"[W]ell-written....However, the book has some weaknesses. It is too long, and Conlon slips into police-speak too often....Yet, when Conlon returns to the central narrative of his story...he is at his best as a writer." Del Quentin Wilber, The Baltimore Sun
"These 500-plus pages sometimes run heavy with abbreviation, jargon and elliptical references; and Conlon is far more open with his head than his heart. Still, he admits us into a fascinating and frightening world that is never far from our own doorstep." Edward Morris, BookPage
"A series of street-smart and street-dumb vignettes steeped in social and historical context, rendered in boldly assured prose that manages to be both gritty and lush....A work of art." San Diego Union-Tribune
"Blue Blood is more than just a cop book. It's more than a provincial book about New York City. It's an intelligent examination of a swath of life most of us prefer to sweep under the carpet." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"[A] far-reaching police procedural that smartly captures the NYPD's highs and lows in the Giuliani years." Miami Herald
The New York Times bestseller from the fourth-generation NYPD officer and author of The New Yorker "Cop Diary" column.
"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.
Blue Blood is an work of nonfiction about what it means to protect, to serve, and to defend among the ranks of New York's finest. Edward Conlon is fourth generation NYPD - and the story he tells is an anecdotal history of New York 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 fathers and sons, partners who become brothers, old ghosts and undying legacies. Here you will see terms like loyalty, commitment, and honor come to life, in action, on a daily basis. Conlon depicts his life on the force - from his first days walking a beat in the South Bronx, to his ascent to detective." The book opens with Conlon's first day on patrol, but in fact his story begins in the time of his great-grandfather, an officer of dubious integrity who participated in the corruption that marked the Tammany-era NYPD as a corps in need of reform; it continues through the experience of Conlon's father, a World War II officer who left the ranks of the NYPD to become an FBI agent, and the years of his uncle, an old-fashioned, easygoing career cop, who stayed in uniform throughout the political upheavals and corrections of the 1960s and 1970s. 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 and 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.
About 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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