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The New Centurions [Kindle Edition]

Joseph Wambaugh , Michael Connelly
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In a class of new police recruits, Augustus Plebesly is fast and scared. Roy Fehler is full of ideals. And Serge Duran is an ex-marine running away from his Chicano childhood. In a few weeks they'll put on the blue uniform of the LAPD. In the months to come, they'll learn that right and wrong aren't always clearly black and white. Bad guys populate both sides of the law. Rules are subject to interpretation. Justice is slow and convoluted. And life is not fair. But for these men, these new centurions, time is an enemy. The year is 1960. The streets are burning with rage. And before they can grow old on this job, they'll have to fight for their lives...

Editorial Reviews

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Wambaugh is the best in the business - Kathy Reichs

Review

Wambaugh is the best in the business - Kathy Reichs

Product Details

  • File Size: 577 KB
  • Print Length: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0015DROW8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,360,917 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a rough and surprisingly beautiful novel April 28, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have to admit that Wambaugh's subsequent books (with the exception of The Onion Field) have been major disappointments. Perhaps that is because this, his first novel, is such a wonderful and complete book. Everything else seems to be a valient yet failed effort to recapture to wonder and confusion of this bristling masterwork. It deals with the trials, triupmhs and personal failures of three young cops, the now stock characters of the confused kid, the inept failure trying to make something out of himself and the brainy, yet physically weak intellectual who tries to out smart every situation. It takes them from academy training up through the Watts riots of 1965. The characters are real, innately believable and sympathetic and abhorrent and cruel. I loved this book. With the exception of the brutal novels of James Ellroy, there is no better "cop" fiction available, and it is infinately more realistic than Ellroy's work because we get the sense that Wambaugh truly was there at these events, that he honestly understand s what it is like to be young and scared with a gun and a badge when the whole world is falling apart. It took about four or five books before Wambaugh became just another second rate crime novelist. This is the finest of his almost true-crime fiction. Likely you will burn through this absorbing novel in the shortest time possible. Compelling, funny, action-packed and sad, this is a wonderful book that, within its ever growing sub-genre, will likely never be equaled.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent examination of what makes cops tick November 1, 2002
By Plaque
Format:Paperback
"The New Centurions" came as a bit of a surprise to me. I read other Wambaugh works, but they were written more recently. This book was written back in the early part fo Wambaugh's career, and I feel under the false assumption that it was going to be inferior.
Boy, was I wrong. This is the most honest and perfect police novel I have ever read, and I liked it more than the author's later work (which I love).
"The New Centurions" focuses on the lives of three Los Angeles cops from bot camp to their 5 year anniversary on the force. Not a police procedural, the emphasis is rather on the lives of the characters and the various experiences they go through as police officers. Alternately brutal, funny, smart, sad, warm, philosophical, and ugly, "The New Centurions" is an extremely well-done piece of realistic fiction. These characters could be real.
I won't spoil anything here, but I have to recommend this book to anyone interested in the cop lifestyle. I'm going to give this book to my brother who has contemplated becoming a police officer, since I think the realism here can be an eye-opener.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As usual, Wambaugh delivers. April 14, 2003
By Plaque
Format:Hardcover
Joseph Wambaugh never ceases to entertain me. �The Blue Knight� is one of his earlier works, and so far it�s a very close second to �The New Centurions� for my favorite Wambaugh novel.
The novel tells the story of Bumper Morgan, a Los Angeles beat cop who is three days from retirement. Bumper is a big, fat, loveable glutton with a bit of a sadistic streak. We follow his last few days on the police force while he begrudgingly drives his patrol car through his long time beat in LA. Bumper explains that he prefers walking the beat, but since he�s too old and fat he is forced to drive � his legs aren�t what they used to be.
Bumper tells his own story, and everything is told through his eyes. As usual, Wambaugh�s gifted use of sharp, witty dialogue and scathing �common-man� analysis of the streets brings Bumper�s story to life. Everyone on his beat loves him. Restaurant owners pile heaps of culinary delights in front of him on a daily basis, and it�s obvious Bumper LOVES to eat� many times my mouth started watering while reading the descriptions of a wide variety of foods laid out for this loveable cop.
When he�s not eating (a rare occasion, or so it seems), Bumper meets with other locals: strip club owners, convenience store managers, even homeless bums whom he pays for info on the local crooks. Bumper is proud of himself for paying his informants out of his own pocket rather than paying out of the PDs �kitty�; he thinks it keeps his sources anonymous and safe.
As warm, loveable and thoughtful our hero is, there is a sadistic side to Bumper Morgan as well. He�s not above turning up the heat on the undesirables, and it seems to me that it�s considered to be part of the job for him; certainly nothing to think twice about.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Realistic Cop Indoctrination. February 14, 2001
Format:Paperback
A centurion was literally a Roman officer in charge of a hundred-man contingent of soldiers in a legion of three to six thousand men. They were the front-line leaders who issued forth from Rome for five hundred years, beating barbarians into submission and maintaining law and order throughout the empire. Wambaugh applies this moniker to his unique tale of three rookies issuing forth from the police academy, fresh and idealistic as they set about to clean up Los Angeles.
They have a lot to learn. As it turns out, right and wrong aren't always clearly black and white. Bad guys populate both sides of the law. Rules are subject to interpretation. Justice is slow and convoluted. And life is not fair.
Wambaugh brings his unique real-life experience in LAPD to bear on this story, showing the maturation of cops in believable fashion. The book is a little dated in terms of police procedure, but the underlying story and message are same-day fresh. This is a cut above the typical cop's tale. --Christopher Bonn Jonnes, author of Wake Up Dead.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
quick delivery reasonable price
Published 7 days ago by Edward Jachimowicz
4.0 out of 5 stars I brought back some wonderful memories as a beat cop and of the...
I started reading Joseph Wambaug's books years ago. When I saw that Amazon was coming back with his writings, I jumped at the chance to reminisce a bit by re reading The Blue... Read more
Published 14 days ago by TWM102
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A modern classic, marking the beginning of a a major career.
Published 16 days ago by Kevin Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars At his best. I thought this was going to be a ...
It's Joe Wambaugh! At his best. I thought this was going to be a real cop story. It's about cops., alright. But, it's more about human beings who happen to be cops. It's work. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mike3746
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A good but not great read. Little mystery but decent character development.
Published 1 month ago by Robert Rourke
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Well worth the time , recommend it highly !!! Love Wambaughs style of writing. Great characters and fast pace. Puts you right into the story.
Published 1 month ago by Kevin
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read
Great novel, great writer- Everybody should read this (+ The Onion Fields) !!
Published 1 month ago by Ava Wooton
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and tragic
A wonderful study of a police officer at the end of his career. Some of the greatest dangers in police work come not from the street, but from the work itself and what it does to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Philip F.
4.0 out of 5 stars Review
Good story about 3 days in a beat cop's life. Some good twists and characters, really 're commend. Especially recommend for older readers.
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I have read it many times and have now bought one for my son, who I have introduced to Wambaugh's books
Published 5 months ago by Knut Erik Evju
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More About the Author

Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD detective sergeant, is the bestselling author of eighteen prior works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Choirboys and The Onion Field. Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times' said, "Joseph Wambaugh is one of those Los Angeles authors whose popular success always has overshadowed his importance as a writer. Wambaugh is an important writer not simply because he's ambitious and technically accomplished, but also because he 'owns' a critical slice of L.A.'s literary real estate: the Los Angeles Police Department -- not just its inner workings, but also its relationship to the city's political establishment and to its intricately enmeshed social classes. There is no other American metropolis whose civic history is so inextricably intertwined with the history of its police department. That alone would make Wambaugh's work significant, but the importance of his best fiction and nonfiction is amplified by his unequaled ability to capture the nuances of the LAPD's isolated and essentially Hobbesian tribal culture."
Understandably, then, Wambaugh, who lives in California, is known as the "cop-author" with emphasis on the former, since, according to him, most of his fantasies involve the arrest and prosecution of half of California's motorists. Wambaugh still prefers the company of police officers and interviews hundreds of them for story material. However, he is aghast that these days most of the young cops drink iced tea or light beer, both of which he finds exceedingly vile, causing him to obsessively fume with Hamlet that, 'The time is out of joint.' He expects to die in a road rage encounter. For more information please visit www.josephwambaugh.net or www.hollywoodmoon.com.


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