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The Thin Black Line: True Stories by Black Law Enforcement Officers Policing America's Meanest Streets Hardcover – January 6, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Best known for his Chicago-based mystery series (Time of the Assassins, etc.), Holton, who died in 2001, compiled a compelling nonfiction collection of black officers' experiences in American law enforcement. While the majority of the 28 subjects, including Holton himself, belong to large metropolitan forces (Chicago, Los Angeles and New York), Holton also focuses on those who work for sheriff's departments, state police agencies and prisons. Notable highlights include Capt. Sam Welch of Indiana State Corrections, who observes that serving in Vietnam steeled him for working in prisons; Chicago PD Officer Tanya Junior, married to a fellow Chicago cop, who despite the dangers of her job considers herself just another public servant; and retired Chicago PD commander Hubert Holton (the author's father), who is proud that he and the author were the only father and son in the department's history to be commanders at the same time. Race is by no means the only unifying factor in these stories: the men and women Holton selected are all exemplary law enforcement officers committed to protecting and serving their communities. (Jan.)
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From Booklist

Holton, a Chicago police officer and author of more than 10 books, offers a collection of first-person accounts by black police officers, male and female, working primarily in urban areas across the nation. The contributors recall personal background and what lead led? them to careers in law enforcement, then recount dangerous drug busts and encounters with gangbangers, and the tension between lawbreakers and law enforcers, particularly given the lopsided representation of minorities among the criminals. The reader senses in each of these stories a proud tradition of black men and women enforcing the nation’s laws. What is omitted is any mention of racial tension within the various police departments. Holton died before the book was completed, and the editor notes Holton’s reluctance and that of the 28 contributors to discuss the issue of racial discrimination and the police. Yet within their stories they often convey the significance of race and their own racialized experiences as police in service to their communities. A revealing look at police work from the perspective of black officers. --Vernon Ford

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312868200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312868208
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,925,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on June 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Hugh Holton compiled 28 stories from law enforcement officers, male and female, who all just happened to be African-American. The stories the officers tell could be told with the racism they most likely faced, instead the stories focused on the jobs they did and the reason they chose law enforcement as a career. Unfortunately, Hugh Holton passed away before the book was published, but his goal of showcasing these officers as heroes was fulfilled.

The officers tell stories about some of their most memorable cases as well as those times they were fearful, and other times when things actually were worth laughing about. Each of the stories was told in the officer's voice and it was as if they were sitting in front of you talking, this enabled the collection to be genuine. These African-American law enforcement officers are an elite bunch because many started during the time of civil unrest in this country, but they took their jobs seriously and as much as they gave to it, they received in return. I smiled as I read several of the stories, but my heart pumped in pride at the immense satisfaction the stories revealed. No matter how these officers ended up in law enforcement, they did their job and did it with dignity and honor. For a bit of history on African-Americans in law enforcement in some of the larger cities in America, THE THIN BLACK LINE is a wonderful start.

Reviewed by Cashana Seals
of The RAWSISTAZ(tm) Reviewers
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miriam Swann on June 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I don't usually read nonfiction, and, even though I love cop stories, I was reluctant to read this one because I kind of expected it to harp on racial issues. Nevertheless, my mother-in-law got it for me, and I figured that as a gesture... Anyway, I'm so glad I picked it up! I had this book pegged all wrong! It was exciting and funny and scary and eye-opening!! And, to my (pleasant, I admit it) surprise, the issue of race never really entered into any of the stories. I have so much respect for what these guys have done and are doing. Sometimes reality is just as entertaining as fiction! Plus, I discovered two great authors to read: Hugh Holton and Chris Saffran. If you like police stories or crime dramas (even if you don't read nonfiction), definitely pick up this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is an intresting read, but it wasn't what I expected... Is actually true life stories of African American Law Enforcement officials who have risen through the ranks.
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