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The Choirboys Paperback – 28 Aug 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Paperback, 28 Aug 2007
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Product details

  • Paperback: 399 pages
  • Publisher: Delta; Reprint edition (28 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385341601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385341608
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.3 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,464,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The classic novel of the LA Police. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

A former LAPD detective and perennial bestselling author, Joseph Wambaugh is the cops poet laureate, and these are the stories he was born to tell."


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A book James Ellroy describes, as 'Magnificent' can only be a winner. It reminded me of Catch -22, as the darkest of humour is used to cut open and expose the folly of human behaviour; and mercilessly sends up senior officers. As Baxter Slate is fond of saying in the book - 'most people don't have the dignity to be evil'.
The story chronicles the lives of ten LAPD patrolmen in the mid-seventy's, with backgrounds that range from Vietnam veteran to Mormon. They don't particularly like each other, but are forced to relay on one an other by the shocking nature of their work.
The narrative is told as a series of inter-relating stories that converge on a shooting during 'Choir practise'. Which is a type of group therapy. It involves going to the park after a particularly bad day, to get horrendously drunk and make out with 'Stationhouse Groupies'.
The book doesn't pull any punches as it talks about the day to day lives of the patrolmen who deal with rape, murder, suicide and child abuse as a matter of course.
This ultimately has a devastating affect on the patrolmen. In a dangerous occupation the worst threat to their lives is from themselves, suicide being the highest cause of death to policemen. Choir practise becomes their main way to relax and express they're feelings, this strategy ultimately fails and leads to disaster.
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Format: Paperback
Blisteringly funny and heart-rendingly powerful, this the authentic voice of the LAPD foot soldiers. Bitter, sardonic and engrossing, Wambaugh brings us the sights, sounds and smells of the LA underwolrd as glimpsed by his disenfranchised centurions.
Hilarious and deeply moving, the book grips from the very outset and doesn't let go until its bleak denounement. The characters and their blasted world continue to haunt my conciousness long after turning the last page.
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By Dave TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not so much a story but a collection of anecdotes that a bunch of Los Angeles policemen come across daily while working as cops and then when off duty. They are a varied bunch of well developed colourful characters with apt nick names such as Spermwhale, Roscoe Rules and Whaddaymean Dean.

These hard drinking, promiscuous, practical joking policemen are the Choirboys.

Choir practice is the off duty drink fuelled sex sessions in MacArthur Park where inevitably things go wildly wrong and tragedy follows but before then there is an insight to the characters backgrounds and thus the way thier personalities developed.

This book is sometimes sad, sometimes funny but always addictive reading and while some of the antics seem incredulous it always seems authentic. The authenticity must be due to the author, Joseph Wambaugh's 14 years with the Los Angeles police department and the addictiveness is due to his great ability as a writer.

There is always an undercurrent, quite pronounced towards the end, where the author is critical of the higher ranks in the police deparment and rails against the incompetence and injustices of these higher ranks to the lowly beat cop.

Recommended.
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By jinx on 15 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i had forgotten so much of this book,and the film of the same story...Joseph Wambaugh always was one of my favourite 'police' story writers...always written with a cynicism born out of experiencing the real thing...would recommend highly for "100 hundred books you must read"..jinx
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr Wambaugh was a LAPD patrolman himself and this is a heartfelt insight into their lives and especially the psychological stresses they face. 'Choir practice' is the unwinding or 'uncoiling' they need in drunken revelries in all-night drink and sex sessions in the city's MacArthur Park. Choirboys are the bottom of the police food chain and predominantly 'unencumbered' males.

The book is a series of vignettes following the experiences of each set of partners. Each chapter outdoes the other in terms of crime, violence, abuse and the limits of human depravity. Mr Wambaugh introduces two new characters per chapter with some biographical details, spreads a fair degree of very black humour and then culminates the chapter with desperate experiences which traumatically affect the policemen - leading to a call to all for choir practice.

In 1975 this book was considered groundbreaking. It was bitterly angry at the treatment of street cops by the powers-that-be reflecting the author's own experience. Unfortunately, the book now appears dated and was rapidly overtaken by other books, TV programmes and films pursuing similar themes.

This is not so much a crime thriller, or even a crime novel, but more a semi-autobiographical, documentary style work strictly from the police perspective.

There is a big finish with devastating effects for the choirboys but by then the format of the book had become repetitive. It is a work which is heartfelt, cautionary and well-meaning yet regrettably it seems to have lost its punch. Perhaps that is not the fault of Mr Wambaugh but the way we have become de-sensitised to this type of book.
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Format: Paperback
I have recently been reminded of this great book that I read nearly 40 years ago whilst on holiday in Greece. It's pure genius writing from Joseph Wambaugh, laugh out load funny and dark and harrowing in equal measure. A word of warning, after reading this book do not under any circumstances watch the film as you will be sorely disappointed.
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