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Serpico Paperback – January 4, 2005
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“[A] raw and moving portrait.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
“Maas’s reportage is detailed and of high narrative quality ...[Full of] tension and drama.” (Rolling Stone)
“An absorbing story of what one angry, honest man can do … told by a master of factual reporting.” (Detroit News)
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Top Customer Reviews
Peter Maas, who brought us THE VALACHI PAPERS, has written a satisfying but somewhat lightweight recounting of the facts and circumstances of Serpico's career. Maas misses, mostly, in failing to involve the reader fully in the tremendous emotional travail that Serpico felt during his long, frustrating, and ultimately inconclusive one man crusade against police corruption.
As a New Yorker, this reviewer has respect for "The Finest." Serpico was hardly the only honest cop in New York circa 1966. But he was one of the only cops to seek to exorcise the demons that beset the police force, root and branch. In this era of high goverment scandal, SERPICO is an important book.
Frank Serpico became a Patrolman in 1960, and as he was transferred around the City on various assignments came into contact with cops who routinely shook down criminals---mostly small numbers men and bookmakers with fuzzy Mafia connections---for tens of thousands of dollars per month per precinct, while allowing them to operate. The 1960s fixation on illegal gambling as a major urban problem is an almost charming quirk of this book.
The practice was so typical that his fellow officers automatically put Serpico "on the pad." When he refused to take graft he became an object of suspicion. This sense of mistrust was not lessened by Serpico's eccentric (for a cop) lifestyle.Read more ›
Unfortunately, Peter Maas's story could be told about many large urban police departments. Make no mistake about it, corruption, bigotry, and racism are all a part of law enforcement. It was the case back in the 60's - 70's, and it is still the case today. Consequently, Peter Maas's story about "one good cop" fighting a sea of corruption is still relevant today.
The story drags at times. But, otherwise, it is quick reading. It is definitely a story that needs to be read. Hence, I recommend this book. Police corruption is still a current topic. But, more importantly, Serpico's story is one of hope. At least there is "one good cop" out there trying to make a difference. And, knowing this, has made a difference in the way I view law enforcement professionals. That is, they are not all bad.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
graft [grafht] (n.): the acquisition of money, gain, or advantage by dishonest, unfair, or illegal means, especially through the abuse of one’s position or influence in politics,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by EviePea48
It's OK. I thought the book would be more about undercover work. It's mostly about police corruption in the 60's and 70's New York. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Midnight Toker
Very engaging account by Peter Marr of Frank Serpico's "lone wolf" stance against the corruption running unabated through the NYPD of the 60's. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Bob Hoskins
I read somewhere that the book was written to accompany the film (rather than the film being based on the book. Read morePublished 11 months ago by El Gringo