George V. Reilly

Review: The New Centurions

The New Centurions
Title: The New Centurions
Author: Joseph Wambaugh
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Grand Central
Copyright: 1970
Pages: 528
Keywords: crime
Reading period: 29 June–4 July, 2008

Three very different young men graduate from the Los Angeles Police Academy in 1960. Wambaugh’s classic first novel follows them for five years until they meet again under fire in the Watts Riots.

In a series of vignettes, Wambaugh shows how they become hardened and cynical on the streets. Some will absorb the racist attitudes of their fellow officers. All will see horrifying things as they serve as patrol officers, vice cops, or juvenile officers.

Grim but en­thralling.

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