The Choirboys by Joseph Wambaugh

I read this book years ago when it first came out. It is definitely a snapshot in time and given everything that has come out about the LAPD since it was written, it really speaks to the culture that existed in the past.

This is the 1970’s and sexism, free love and political incorrectness runs rife. A group of police officers convene an unofficial support group/drunken bacchanal in the park at Echo Lake where they vent about their job as police officers.

Each chapter focuses on a pair of officers and the things that occur on their shifts. Sometimes the stories are funny, sometimes they are sad and at others they are terribly tragic.

Don’t look for anything other than a dated portrait of policing in Los Angeles circa the 1970’s and an entertaining novel. It is just a fun romp. If you haven’t read any Wambaugh, this is an easy introduction to him and an opportunity to get to read his style.

There may be more current books but Wambaugh was one of the earliest writers to pull the curtain back on 20th century police work.


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