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My Father's Gun: One Family, Three Badges, One Hundred Years in the NYPD Paperback – April 1, 2000
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About the Author
Brian McDonald was born in the Bronx and grew up in Rockland County, New York. He is a graduate of Fordham University and the Columbia School of Journalism, and contributes frequently to New York City newspapers, including The New York Times. My Father's Gun is his first book.
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You learn from the start about what it was like to grow up in a family defined by the father's (and grandfather's) job of being a senior police officer, of the value system it created, and the social structure that resulted. We learn that police families fled The Bronx and Brooklyn for Orange and Rockland Counties, trading the "old neighborhood" and brownstones for lawns and split-levels. They came into social conflicts with local police officers (not as well paid) and their families, as well as the suburban native populations.
There is a great deal about the personal lives and struggles of the three generations, coping with internal politics in the Police Department, changes in society, and even the changes in how police officer candidates are tested. There are the occasional war stories -- acts of heroism, dedicated pursuits of murder suspects, and underlying it all, a continuous thread of commitment to duty and community.
This book is a fascinating look at how the police life affects the people who wear the uniform and their family members. It changes the way you view the police officer and makes you see the humanity behind the badge. Highly recommended.
My great grandfather responded to the General Slocum disaster; my grandfather (a Fordham Law graduate) was a detective who investigated Murder Inc. and other organized crime families; my father was the target of bricks during the 1960s, and I remember being terrified watching the Black Panthers calling for the execution of all cops; and one of my uncles battled the gangs in China town.
This book not only covers most of those events, it also made me remember police picnics and clam bakes, and hanging out as a kid watching my father play pool in the local saloon. Although my family moved "up the line" to northern Westchester, and not "across the river" to Rockland, my family's closest associations were with other cop families.
I have three brothers and three sisters. All seven of us have enjoyed this book.
Furthermore, as other reviewers have noted, this is a well written book.
I urge anyone who grew up in a cop family, as well as anyone looking for a great read to read this book.
I am about Brian McDonald's age and also grew up with a Dad who was NYPD from just after WWII through mid-1960's. Our fathers would have been contemporaries and probably would have been acquainted with alot of the same people and possibly each other. Book dealt alot with family values and situations. I related so much to the book just from what I knew of Dad and the job. Elder people would enjoy the chapter about the Father, as it covered history from Tammany Hall days through Mayor LaGuardia who really made NYPD a professional police force. Readers who were NYPD or a family member would get the most appreciation out of this book. I loved it and have to re-read it. Alot of info to digest. Book seems to have been written from the heart. Heck, you can't beat the price. :-)
Most recent customer reviews
This book helped me realize that all the heroic things cops do are ignored by the media, while the...Read more