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Publisher's Summary

Hollywood. Saturday night. A broken taillight leads to a routine traffic stop. It shouldn’t have changed the lives of the four men involved, but it did. The Onion Field is the frighteningly true story of a fatal collision of destinies that would lead two young cops and two young robbers to a deserted field on the outskirts of Los Angeles, towards a bizarre execution and its terrible aftermath.

The Onion Field is the basis for the movie starring James Woods and John Savage.

©1973 Joseph Wambaugh (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“More ambitious than In Cold Blood and equally compelling.” (The New York Times)
“Wambaugh is the best in the business.” (Kathy Reichs)
“No other writer illuminates the heart beneath the badge better or more honestly than Joseph Wambaugh" (Robert Crais)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Story

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So slow

This was so painfully slow as others have noted. On my third forced attempt, I made myself finish it but with so much filler and irrelevant information I’m left just annoyed

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This book was so good I spent more time exercising just to listen

I recommend this book to any true crime fan. Had a great time listening to this book.

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Heartbreaking.

The police are not supposed to surrender their weapons under any circumstances. Easier said than done. I think the author has done an excellent job in showing that.

Jimmy Buffett has an album or a song "You Had To Be There" ... and boy, we all know that there are times and instances in our lives that we cannot fully explain because...you had to be there.

I do not understand the mentality of so many of their fellow officers not being able to put themselves in the shoes of these two officers and trying to imagine an unimaginable set of circumstances that would force the officers to do what they did. Are they just supposed to die rather than surrender their weapons? The situation was impossible.

My heart goes out to the good cops everywhere. The good ones.

This is an old book, but I think you can see how this one incident ruined lives, ruined by punks. To my mind, the surviving officer was not truly cop material, but was a good man nonetheless. It is well worth the listen just to get a bit of a handle on what cops face from both the criminals and the law-enforcement world.

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life is life

great book very well done makes think of how the justice in this world works

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very drawn out

did not finish. too many pointless details character background that was useless information to the reader

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  • Storm
  • Jonesboro
  • 11-13-15

loved it!!!

always wanted to read the book, this was better. will be using this app more.

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Still an amazing story

I read this book when it first came out decades ago. It still is an amazing story. Some of the characters are so bizarre that it seems like a crime novel, rather than nonfiction. The author Joseph Wambaugh did a great job.

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  • Sheri
  • Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
  • 06-20-15

Just tedious

This style of novel is one of my least favourites - where there is no mystery because you already have the facts, but the author repeatedly takes you back over familiar territory.

There is so very little that progresses the story and long, long sections of excruciating detail narrated by secondary or tertiary characters.

This is suitable as background noise in your head while doing chores or exercising, but if you're looking for an engaging novel, keep looking.

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ever rest Moby dick?

The author is superb Lee masterful at storytelling. His ability to create characters lightning background was fantastic. But there came a point for me in the story when I just wanted it to end and that pretty much happened with the courtroom details which were not unlike reading Melville's Moby Dick on the botany of Wales. The book is well worth the listen however be forewarned that the end cannot come soon enough.

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A must!

Great telling of a horrible true story. A tribute to all man and women who, keep us safe.