Gear: The Onion Field, by Joseph Wambaugh


The Onion Field, by Joseph Wambaugh

Delacorte Press/New York Available Here
Category: Book Reviews
Subcategory: True Crime
Price: $15-$25
Average Rating:
(34 Votes)

True account of 2 LA officers & 2 criminals in a situation that ends up resulting in 1 officer's death.

Member Reviews

  • Tech_01_max30
    kgbacon, Wed, 30 Apr 2008 19:58:30 UTC.
    1st review

    This is a "must-read" for anyone in the LE field. A very gripping, emotional, true story. This case will get to the core of your very being.

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    aaa111, Wed, 30 Apr 2008 22:53:55 UTC.

    an excellent book

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  • Me__mr
    cgingo, Tue, 03 Jun 2008 13:19:13 UTC.

    More Wambaugh magic with the pen. Great writer.

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  • Blue_crop380w_max30
    DocThomas, Tue, 10 Jun 2008 17:40:58 UTC.

    Awsome, plain and simple!

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    Anonymous, Sun, 22 Jun 2008 19:57:12 UTC.

    True Wambaugh. A good read from start to finish.

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  • Brad_paisley_arrested_max30
    CAMotorCop, Wed, 25 Jun 2008 23:13:52 UTC.

    Great book, True story . . . .Read it. . . .

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  • Afspa_life_member-back_max30
    keeneagle, Thu, 26 Jun 2008 00:45:51 UTC.

    Read this a long time ago but still enjoy the skill of Wambaugh in his current novels.

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  • Robertmitchum_max30
    bad_LT, Sun, 13 Jul 2008 15:05:46 UTC.

    Excellent book

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    ForensicOne2be, Sat, 26 Jul 2008 01:01:47 UTC.

    This was a great, great book when I read it yrs. ago! A must read, from all perspectives. One of my criminal justice class academy instructors way back when, Mitch Smith, was one of the officers who responded to the initial scene, out in that field. He said it was really a terrible crime, that the officer who survived was often ostracized & criticized by his fellow LEOs. Mitch also said this surviving officer ended up spending time in a hospital for psychiatric reasons. No one from this crime or police dept. was ever the same again.

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  • Work_picture_max30
    Hisrat, Mon, 04 Aug 2008 01:41:47 UTC.

    Excellent account of terror...a must read for anyone not just law enforcement. This is by far Wambaugh's best.

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  • Patrolcar_pic_max30
    Jkaz232, Tue, 05 Aug 2008 21:03:25 UTC.

    Definitely a great book, along with the rest of Wambaugh's work.

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  • 813_max30
    sgt_dunning, Mon, 11 Aug 2008 00:00:22 UTC.

    Should be required reading at the Academy

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  • M_1fea71ddb46bbfd4ee7416f03a00ad38_max30
    MaeWest131, Tue, 19 Aug 2008 01:04:05 UTC.

    Joseph Wambaugh is a great writer of Police stories. The Onion Field is my favorite of his non fiction books. His fictiion writing is outstanding.

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  • 002380186205_max30
    P_Miller75, Wed, 20 Aug 2008 00:38:00 UTC.

    Great book a must read.

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    C04, Sat, 23 Aug 2008 04:13:22 UTC.

    Very good book, a must read.

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  • Phil_beshoner_max30
    ChiefLPD, Tue, 26 Aug 2008 00:05:06 UTC.

    I read this book years is great!!!

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  • Headshot_max30
    HeadShot, Thu, 28 Aug 2008 00:59:38 UTC.

    We studied this story in the academy. Unfortunately, about a year after graduation, one of our fellow officers found himself in a similar situation where he was forced a gunpoint (shotgun to the head) to give up his weapon. He did give up his weapon, and luckily he was not injured and the suspects were caught (later). Of course, his decision was praised and critized with a 50/50 decision. You really can't say what you are going to do unless you are in that this book and you will develop your own convictions.

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  • _d_max30
    robles580, Thu, 28 Aug 2008 02:46:06 UTC.

    Must read

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  • Th_detective_max30
    Retleo, Mon, 01 Sep 2008 23:56:51 UTC.

    A riveting account based on a true story about the murder of LAPD officers. Wambaugh at his best.

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  • 1981_max30
    SGT43, Wed, 03 Sep 2008 01:19:12 UTC.

    Read the book after I saw the movie many years ago. Great book, very well written. Must read for LEO's.

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  • P5140190_max30
    TMC136, Thu, 18 Sep 2008 04:20:20 UTC.

    Outstanding read. Rest in Peace LAPD Officer Ian Campbell

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  • Police_ribbon_max30
    bink105, Thu, 25 Sep 2008 20:02:28 UTC.

    Great Book !!! A must read!!

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  • Justin___rachael_wedding_011_max30
    wilhite192, Wed, 12 Nov 2008 00:30:01 UTC.

    Agreat true crime story from the master "cop" writer Joseph Wambaugh. Giving all the details of the death of Officer Ian James Campbell and the resulting survivors guit of Officer Karl Hettinger (Before it was known there was even such a thing). Hettinger who gave up his gun was made to feel a coward by fellow officer and the admistration and was made a scapegoat for Campbell's deat (in MHO). The book is a quick read that you'll have trouble putting down. Made into a movie in 1979, the movie stays pretty true to the actual story and does not gloss over Hettinger's troubles after the incident. A book every cop should read.

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  • Az_hp_plymouth_fury_max30
    Arizona_Smokey, Fri, 14 Nov 2008 14:55:21 UTC.

    As with most movies, they do not do the book justice. I must say, I was very impressed with both. I read the book in one day and have read it several more times over the years. Although this tragedy occurred in 1963, there are lessons still today to be learned from it. Mr. Wambaugh took his experience as a veteran police officer and told this story as only a cop could.

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  • 100_0734_max30
    forensicsmom, Sat, 03 Jan 2009 23:32:33 UTC.

    This was an interesting book for me as it happened out side of where i live and i even met the officer that survived. He ran for city council or soemthing in Bakersfield.....He was a very nice man....

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  • Apache___me_max30
    K9Apache, Sun, 04 Jan 2009 03:37:43 UTC.

    I read this book so long ago and loved it. I consider it a great read and a classic. If you get a chance watch the movie with James Woods in it. What the surviving officer goes through is heart wrenching. I also highly recommend 'The Blue Mable', same author.

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  • Foster_5
    dfostermpd27, Wed, 11 Feb 2009 20:22:19 UTC.

    This was mandatory reading for us in the academy. Written well. I liked the book more than the movie. This story changed theories about weapons in law enforcement. This is where saying, "Never give up your weapon," came from. Wambaugh had a lot of great books.

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  • Walther_ppk_pic_max600_max30
    KRG123, Wed, 11 Feb 2009 23:20:57 UTC.

    Excellent Book, This would be a good book,if it was fiction. Unfortunately, It's all true.

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  • Image0001_max30
    gumby63857, Mon, 23 Mar 2009 14:46:28 UTC.

    Good book. Couldn't put it down.

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  • Lone_ranger_max30
    twoliver, Tue, 08 Sep 2009 23:14:36 UTC.

    One of his best.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big
    Anonymous, Wed, 09 Sep 2009 04:19:59 UTC.

    I agree this is a very good book. I as well think everyone should read this book.

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    Anonymous, Sat, 15 May 2010 16:10:34 UTC.

    I had the misfortune of having to read this on a tight schedule for a class. While I enjoy Wambaugh's writing style, and the story- sad though it may be... I didn't like it. I'm not even sure what is was exactly that made me really glad when I was done with it, but I was.

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  • Shields_police_max30
    Patrolman25, Sun, 18 Jul 2010 23:51:27 UTC.

    Very good. Very sad. Read this while in the academy. Based on a true story this book will keep you drawn in until the end.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big
    Anonymous, Wed, 20 Oct 2010 02:36:47 UTC.


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