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Crusader: The Hell-Raising Police Career of Detective David Durk Hardcover – April 2, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When David Durk joined the New York City Police Department in 1963, he found an organization with its own set of rules, where bribery and payoffs were routine and no one wanted to be disturbed. Durk set out to fix the whole mess. For 22 years, until he was forced to retire at age 51, he was a thorn in the side of mayors, police commissioners, commanders, sergeants, and beat cops alike. His crusading led to an investigation into police corruption in the 1970s by the Knapp Commission (credit for which usually goes to Frank Serpico) and more recently, the Mollen Commission.

From Publishers Weekly

David Durk, an Amherst graduate who had also spent a year studying law, joined the New York City Police Department in 1963. He was shocked and angered by what he found there: officers who had chosen police careers on idealistic grounds had learned to conform to the prevailing cynical attitude in the department because many of their superiors were dishonest, timid, lazy or all of these. Working with the later famous Frank Serpico, he gathered evidence against the department; they got nowhere until in 1968 they enlisted the interest of the New York Times, whose exposes resulted in the setting up of the Knapp Commission in 1971, which uncovered corruption in the NYPD. As a whistle-blower, Durk became persona non grata and was transferred into the finance department, where he unearthed potential scandals that were never exposed. Still regarded as a troublemaker, he retired in 1985. Lardner (Fast Forward), a former police officer in the District of Columbia, sees Durk as a hero, a commendation with which readers of this rousing volume will agree.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 389 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (April 2, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394576489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394576480
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,633,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
David Durk did not fit in the NYPD of the sixties and seventies from the start. A tall, wiry, Jewish college graduate-- it never quite seemed that Durk was going to be a typical cop; and he wasn't. Durk was to be a true Crusader, along with his acolyte and friend, Patrolman Frank Serpico, Durk the Idealist would go on to expose the massive amounts of corruption that lay undisturbed, rife within the NYPD. Durk's obsessive love of the truth and his equally obsessive love of policing led these dramatic changes. The NYPD is less corrupt today than it was thirty years ago, and we have David Durk to thank for that. This book retells, in startling detail, the methods which Durk employed to achieve his goal; to rid the NYPD of corruption.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Suzannah B. Troy on June 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Powerfully written book by James Lardner that makes the film "Serpico" fall flat because the immense complexity of the story which was bigger than police corruption although Durk could not get the Knapp Commission to investigate corruption beyond the police and there was plenty. What is unique about this book is how much David loved the NYPD. The dept. often turned it's back on great talent, not just rebel rousers like Durk.

David Durk's father was an eye surgeon who felt compelled to do community doctoring in Harlem, often being robbed, so much so he started carrying his medical equipment in a paper bag. He never called the police. Davd joined the NYPD after graduating Amherst College and studying law at Columbia University where he met his future wife Arlene. Serpico and he inevitably meet and form an alliance although their paths are different and there was no doubt both had to worry for their safety but as most people know Serpico did take a bullet to the face and had to leave the country. There are a lot of grey tones filled with compassion in this book except for tolerating corruption but sometimes David even found gentle ways to discourage cops and ultimately liberate them by just doing the math for them and proving it wasn't worth it. David wanted to make change and to do so from within the system. There were honest police officers, very impressive people, some in senior positions that would literally go out on the street to work with Serpico and Durk. Capt. Paul Delise worked with David on surveilling Gigante which even involved David using the faculty room at NYU Law School which I particularly enjoyed including David having a conversation with a law professor that had me smiling. Capt.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
David Durk is a crusader in the best and worse sense of the word. He relentlessly fought for justice, despite the apathy and corruption of the New York City Police Department. For his noble efforts, he was rewarded with a partial pension, a long list of powerful enemies and an exile in upstate New York. It is a travesty that someone who devotes his life to helping people would receieve such horrible treatment himself. This book made me angry and sad but also hopeful that someone like David Durk exists to fight the system. I hope one day he wins out.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written but flawed. Lardner evidently thinks every cop should be held to Durk's standard. I didn't like Lardner's comments on the Chuck Stewart case from Boston in the early 90s. As someone who knew many of the principals involved, I found his brief account facile and trite. I note Lardner was evidently a cop for a few years. I worked with many cops who served for 30 years or more and who always did the best they could under often difficult circumstances despite lacking a crusader mentality.
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