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Il campo di cipolle

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4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,811 Ratings  ·  233 Reviews
Los Angeles, 9 marzo 1963. Campbell e Hettinger, due agenti di pattuglia che lavorano da poco in coppia fermano un'auto sospetta. A bordo due delinquenti di piccolo cabotaggio con una lunga storia di reati e carcere alle spalle. I due criminali disarmano i poliziotti, li rapiscono e, dopo un lungo tragitto in auto sulle freeways intorno a Los Angeles, li portano in un camp ...more
Paperback, Stile libero. Noir, 482 pages
Published March 23rd 2009 by Einaudi (first published 1973)
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Dennis Banahan Yes, the book and the movie were based on the true-life assassinations of two LAPD police officers, Karl Hettinger and Ian Campbell. The movie,…moreYes, the book and the movie were based on the true-life assassinations of two LAPD police officers, Karl Hettinger and Ian Campbell. The movie, starring James Woods, John Savage and Ted Danson, was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. It was an excellent movie, but still not as good as the book. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ed
Nov 03, 2014 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1973, The Onion Field covers the story of the brutal encounter between two LAPD cops and two career criminals in, well, an onion field. I won't go into the outcome except to say the criminals got the best end of the deal, especially when the death penalty was struck down in California. Compelling reading, even the tedious courtroom scenes unraveling with their own grim, ironic dramas. Wambaugh's early writing, such as this nonfiction title, is generally regarded as his better ...more
Doug Cummings
Apr 16, 2008 Doug Cummings rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a young cop and again after I had been a crime reporter for a good long time. Each reading gave me chills. Having attended many police survival courses and pulled many car stops, I can relate to the experiences of the officers. Working a one-man unit in the middle of the night when you're twenty-three and carefree is one thing. Looking back on it from an adult's perspective many years ago, I'm surprised I never visited an Onion Field of my own.
Robert S
Mar 29, 2013 Robert S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Onion Field by Joseph Wambaugh

The Onion Field tells the true-life story of two young Los Angeles Police Department detectives who are kidnapped by two robbers in 1963, and the subsequent ordeal of all four men.

The book is structured like an episode of television’s Law and Order - the first half of the book focuses on the crime, while the second half focuses on the numerous, protracted criminal prosecutions that follow the incident.

Wambaugh raises important questions about the purpose of the
...more
Nancy
Jun 22, 2016 Nancy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
I tried reading this once when I was in high school and ended up donating it.

I'll try again now that it's only $1.99 on Amazon.

Jessica
Not my favorite True Crime book. It felt like it dragged on longer than the story had steam, partly because the trial was so long and crazy. The author does a great job of outlining the characters and overall it was a fairly interesting and terrible tale of the abduction and execution of police officers in Los Angeles in the 60s. But parts of the way the book was structured and paced bothered me, with little interludes from an unnamed (until the end) character and often important revelations in ...more
Rebecca McNutt
An odd and mysterious story taking place in the heat and dust of Los Angeles during the early Sixties, The Onion Field is a completely unforgettable crime novel.
Lanie
Mar 27, 2014 Lanie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't make it through this book due to its poor pacing and rampant homophobia. The character development is excruciatingly focused on one character's bisexuality and how that is a major influence of his criminal behaviors. The author's perspective on this disgusted me and the pacing of the book was so poor that when I thought about those two factors, I just put the book down instead of continuing. The story is disjointed and very sluggish.
Rusty
A true story, this tale as told by Wambaugh finds two young robbers encountering two young policemen, in an onion field. The fatal shootings evolve into one of the longest and most convoluted trials in California history. It is a fascinating and tragic story - a real parody of crime and punishment. An excellent read.
Nick
Jul 31, 2015 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This book was a bit of a surprise. It was a recommendation from years ago and on a whim decided to listen to the audio version. I didn't even know it was a true crime story. The story as told is much more than just a crime novel. There is a tremendous amount of backstory about each of the primary participants. Joe Wambaugh writes a superb account of the trials and overturned rulings. It's really amazing how the system was manipulated by the two felons. The story is heartbreaking - that it took a ...more
Xxertz
BLUF: Good for those who like to know the background of all players and enjoy true crime that reads like a novel.

Plot: The Onion Field is a nonfiction account of the kidnappings of Officers Ian Campbell and Karl Hettinger and murder of Ian Campbell by Gregory Ulas Powell and Jimmy Lee Smith. Powell and Smith kidnapped these two officers after being pulled over for looking suspicious. After a long night and an incorrect assumption about the California’s version of the Little Lindbergh Law (later
...more
Brendan Reid
Feb 26, 2013 Brendan Reid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book takes place back in 1963. The first half of the book goes describes the four main people. It describes where they grew up, their parents, sisters, brothers, and what kind of personality each of them has as well. It makes you feel like you know all four people really well by the time you get half way through the book.

Two of the main men are petty thieves trying to make it day to day by robbing and scamming. The other two men are police officers. The two thieves driving around town look
...more
Mark
Aug 21, 2007 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
True-crime "nonfiction novel" very much in the In Cold Blood mode, especially in how the relationship between the two killers is perhaps the most interesting aspect. Rough going, at first, as Waumbaugh has to rely on his rather florid prose stylings (and stilted recreated dialogue) to establish and evoke character (and his moments of judgment, in various matters of police and legal procedure, are so obvious that you wonder how selective he was in his inclusion and exclusion of information), but ...more
Bonnie E.
Jan 22, 2012 Bonnie E. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this many years ago but I still remember how vividly the story unfolded, and how the pages drew me in and ultimately wrung me dry. It is a harrowing recounting of a true event. The author's experiences as a police officer lends credibility to the book, and Wambaugh's writing style is powerful and gritty. This was the first of many of his books that I read over time. Joseph Wambaugh quote: "The Onion Field made me a real writer. And then I knew it was over, I couldn't be a cop anymore."

Christy Buhr
Nov 20, 2011 Christy Buhr rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bored prisoners
Recommended to Christy by: Goodreads
Shelves: quit-mid-read
This book was disgusting. I read true crime but not necessarily the "theatrical" true crime books. This one was dark and the language was offensive and I couldn't even catch the story at time because I was so bothered with the wording and prison phrasing. I'm not easily offended, and I can look past language, but by 125 pages I threw it in the garbage. Sad, because I really wanted to know more.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I read this way back in the 80s. Don't know why it's not on my page here. It was the first Wambaugh I'd read, and I think the only non-fiction I've read of his. None of his novels have ever impressed me the way this true story did.
Michael
Nov 23, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To me personally, this book is comparable to. "In Cold Blood". Very well written and keeps you reading. I couldn't put it down sometimes. Just a great book, true crime fan or not.
Warren Whitmire
"The Onion Field" is the sad tale of the murder of a police officer and the legal circus that ensues when his murderers are tried. Although "The Onion Field" is a true story, it is written much like a novel in some sections. Other sections are written much like newspaper articles. Structurally, "The Onion Field" resembles the television show "Law and Order" in that the first half of the book describes the crime and the police work, and the second half describes the legal proceedings. Throughout ...more
David Bell
Oct 15, 2014 David Bell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
I loved it. This book spans an interesting period in USA policing/legal times where the pendulum shifted very much in favour of defence lawyers who could use every trick in the book to get their clients off by retrial after retrial after retrial. That the murderers were very clearly murderers, and the dead cop most definitely dead, well in the interests of spoiler alerts... let's leave it at that. The Cop who survived went through a very mangling wringer, and his story made me feel quite depress ...more
Durdles
Apr 14, 2010 Durdles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, historical
I came to this book not fully aware of the story although I had seen the film many years ago. All I could remember from this was the line, "Jumpimg Jesus". The first 140+ pages deal with the back story of the four protagonists in interminable detail and took some getting through. When the action came I was truly shocked even though I must have been forewarned. I really felt I was there, in the onion field trying to escape. That was skilfull. The characters are so well known by this stage that th ...more
Amerynth
Joseph Wambaugh was a cop, not an experienced nonfiction author and it shows in the "The Onion Field." The book isn't artfully written -- I found the structure (opening with backgrounds on the four principle people involved in the crime) to be a bit off-putting.

Fortunately for Wambaugh, he has plenty of great material to draw from in his telling of the murder of police officer Ian Campbell. It was one of California's longest cases court cases and he does make effective use of all of the informat
...more
Adam
Sep 22, 2009 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just a devastating book. Just so sad. There's so much about this book that just defies explanation. All at once it examines America's sometimes defunct legal system, psychological effects of traumatic events that go unexamined or forced down, men who feel they are "instutional men," the inner workings to two sociopaths, and so much more. Hard to believe this all actually happened, and I think after reading this I wish it was a fictional novel. I'd rather believe that events like these don't happ ...more
Jason M Waltz
went from 2 stars to 3. first 149.5 pages were pretty much dry and deplorable, a first book written by a cop used to factual-only report writing. while essentially the same from page 150 on, it became more personable. wide variety of emotional impact, from anxiety to sorrow to outrage to horror to despair to disgust to fear to animosity to hopefulness to resignation. it's a heart-rending recitation of not only the death of a human but the death of the freaking American legal system, the death of ...more
Dierdra Byrd
This was a true crime book where a police officer got killed. The book was very well written and never boring (as a few true crime books I've read over the years can be) some parts were very hard to read, as in gave me a strong emotional response, but then again those are some of the best books that can do that.
I really don't want to give any of the book away, if you enjoy true crime books I recommend this one!
Procyon Lotor
Non un giallo, un report. Hanno scritto gi praticamente tutto Enzo B e John Grady pi l'anobiiano che ricorda Capote. Rimarco che il libro poteva per essere abbondantemente sfrondato di un quarto (ecco perch una stellina in meno) e che pure Wambaugh spesso cade nel trabocchetto del giornalismo americano e fa come i registi ingenui che girano in scala temporale uno a uno. La morale estraibile incerta. Ecco la grandezza del libro. Mostra chiaramente che oltre un certo limite, quanto pi chiediamo ...more
Paola
Dec 14, 2010 Paola rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gialli

Che dire? magnifico noir. intenso, ben congegnato, descrizione della psicologia dei protagonisti ottima.
Precursore nel descrivere un certo tipo di giustizia che definirei oramai un enorme apparato burocratico dove vince chi meglio riesce a manipolare leggi e cavilli.
Stabilire la verità e condannare i colpevoli sono fatti del tutto secondari.
Lettura raccomandata.
J.M.
Not enjoying this much but I'll give it a little longer before I throw in the towel. I don't like the "gardener" interludes between the chapters. I don't care for the novelesque style in which it's written (I'd prefer it to be more inline with other true crime books I've read). And, though I realize the author is a product of his time, I don't like his disparaging remarks about homosexuals.
Joe
May 19, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good true crime book with a nice style and very little sensationalism. Taking place in 1960's LA, it's a historical, cultural and legal slice of a unique era that in some ways was worse than today and in other ways better. Folks who don't care for the contemporary, Ann Rule style of true crime might enjoy this one. It doesn't quite have the same lurid feel as many crime books of this kind.
Kathy Bennett
Oct 27, 2013 Kathy Bennett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes a good cop drama.
This book is always emotional for me to read. From personal experience I know that many of the tactics the LAPD now uses are a result of the events from that fateful night.

The book is gripping, horrifying, (from a police officer's perspective) and provides insight into the workings of the LAPD in those times.

A great book, and I'm sure I'll read it again.

Jessica
This book is rife with racism, mysogyny, homophobia and grammar errors. Not to mention the author takes forever to build up the story. Over 100 pages into the 400 page book and he still hadn't gotten to the crux of the kidnapping and murder story. Ugh, huge waste of time.
Sharon
Aug 06, 2011 Sharon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I plowed through 2/3 of the book before deciding I had better books to read. I don't like the way the author introduced and developed the characters of this true crime novel. For me, it was dis-jointed and, frankly, irritating. I was very disappointed.
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Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD detective sergeant (1960-1974), is the bestselling author of twenty-one prior works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Choirboys and The Onion Field. Wambaugh joined the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 1960. He served 14 years, rising to detective sergeant. He also attended California State University, Los Angeles, where he earned Bachelor of Arts and M ...more
More about Joseph Wambaugh...

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“Nothing could be more fearful than losing one's freedom. To be confined. Never to see a golden cloudburst or rivers of sunlight on dark flowers. never to walk your own cultivated furrows. And the memory dangled over his heart like the sword of Damocles.” 0 likes
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