Wilson Lanue's Reviews > Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

Homicide by David Simon
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Jul 07, 12

bookshelves: non-fiction, favorites

The first must-read for anyone interested in American policing.

David Simon writes with Stockholm Syndrome. (That would be the rude way to put it.) Which is to say, he writes for his subjects, doing his utmost to show their perspective through his reportage.

In this case - spending every day of 1988 with Baltimore PD's homicide unit - that means that, though Simon never fudges the facts of what defense attorneys would call coercion, the book's voice is firmly pro-cop: We are the good guys. And much of the time it's true. (Even when it isn't, the cops themselves are wonderfully entertaining characters.)

The antidote to this solitary flaw would come just a few years later, when Simon and one of BPD's own homicide cops (Ed Burns, retired by then) staked out a drug corner to write about the addicts and other players. The resulting book - The Corner - humanizes the underdwellers so frequently run over by upstanding police.

Read them both. Start with Homicide.
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