Friday, October 3, 2008
Two books on the Eastern District
Buz has gotten hold of two books, both written by persons who spent some time in the famous (infamous?) Eastern District in Baltimore City. Your consultant is slowly making his way throught the two book: one chapter or subchapter in one, juxtaposed with the chapter in the other book. One is by Petter Moskos, who spent a year there while doing research for his Ph.D. The book essentially becomes his dissertation, and gets bogge down by the constant citations, and literature review, though he is trying to bring the literture to bear on his year as "Cop in the Hood". Unfortunately, for us and for Peter one year+ being on the midnight shift in the Eastern is not necessarily representative of police work or even police work in Baltimore. I would argue that working nothing but the midnight shift is not representative.
Of course, Mr. Moskos never saw any brutality or corruption during his 14-month stay.
The other is by Danny Shanahan, a cop who writes about going over the edge and being eventually shot by other police and going to prison. His writing is awful, though some of his vignettes are interesting; the book is not well edited; apparently self-published. It's pretty clear that the picture Daniel Shanahan paints of the Eastern is one of burned out police, bad attitude, some sense of police duty and glory, and almost casual mention of police officers in his squad drinking and sleeping on duty. Even a casual reader would come to learn that a suburban boy brou;ght up in an all-white neighborhood, suddenly thrust into what is almost a third-world country and trying to police it, soon becomes way in over his head. And an amateur psychologist would dedeuce from his writing that eithere he is fooling us, or early on began suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Book review to Continue......................