• Sarge!: Cases of a Chicago Police Detective Sergeant in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s

  • By: John A. DiMaggio
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Biographies & Memoirs
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Sarge! is a fascinating memoir by the late Chicago Police Detective Sergeant John A. DiMaggio, one of the most decorated officers on the force during a career that spanned the years 1957 to 1991. Among his awards are two Superintendent’s Awards of Valor, Mayor Richard J. Daley’s Praiseworthy Acknowledgment Plaque for Exceptional Act of Bravery Involving Risk of Life, a Presidential Citation of Appreciation, the Illinois Police Association Award of Valor, and many more.

Upon his retirement in 1991, DiMaggio wrote a fascinating account of his work as a cop. The manuscript languished among his personal effects until after his death in 2008, after which his family decided to resurrect it, spruce it up, and submit it for publication. It turns out that he was an excellent word craftsman and storyteller; in fact, he was no stranger to writing - for many years he wrote the “Ask Sarge” column for the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter newsletter.

Told in a conversational, “regular guy” voice in episodic fashion, Sarge! reveals to the listener what it was really like to be a cop. The book in many ways takes the form of a prose treatment of a weekly television police drama.

DiMaggio takes the listener back to the decades, such as the turbulent 1960s, when the police department was making a painful transition from “old school” to modernization. The author describes the legendary riots that occurred in Chicago after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He illustrates the integration of minorities into the department and how that played out. He also goes into famous cases of corruption and the politics of navigating such a large department. One of the “set pieces” of the book is the story of how DiMaggio, as part of the “Three Musketeers” - a trio that included two detectives who were close friends - investigated a series terrifying slasher attacks on women that occurred in the city in the mid-70s. The case became one of the police department’s most memorable. Among the other cases detailed in the book include how DiMaggio found himself entering the home of a crazed young man holding hostages with a shotgun; the investigation of the discovery of a headless corpse; the take-down of the Chicago “Mad Bomber”; how an anonymous audio tape provided clues to the identities of armed robbers; and the manhunt for a cop killer.

©2018 Debra DiMaggio (P)2019 David N. Wilson

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What listeners say about Sarge!: Cases of a Chicago Police Detective Sergeant in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s

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A story of policing that is relevant 30 years later.

I started on the CPD the same year this book comes to an end. The Sergeant’s story is different, and in some respects the same as mine. Now retired myself Sarge stirred emotions in me both good and bad. Sad and funny this story offers real insight into the lives of police officers who work the streets of our communities. The narration is fantastic as Kevin Pierce sounds just like real Chicago Police Bosses that I worked for in my career. The funny thing is that this book really should be listened too instead of read. The lessons from the Sixties and Seventies are as relevant today as they were back then. Listening to the audiobook is like having an Old School Boss explain the ways of the world to the young men and women struggling with being The Police today. And for the civilian it offers a realistic glimpse of what police officers deal with day in and day out as they try to manage their jobs, personal lives and families. Thanks to Sgt. DiMaggio’s children for bringing their Father’s story to light. The story made me smile and also helped to lubricate my old eyes with some fresh tears.

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Magnificent story telling

This book is filled with heart, emotion, and honesty. The civil unrest, social turmoil, rampant crime,, is as true today as Sarge experienced it 50 years ago. Worth every minute.

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Narrator deserves an award for his contribution.

Kevin Pierce did a remarkable job narrating this book.
That gravely voice of his seriously brought John's story to life for me, and because of the first person narrative, I could almost imagine myself, cold beer in hand, sharing a table with the author himself, as he told his story in the back of one of the "cop bars" mentioned in the book.

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4 star

A very good listen that gives some insight in Chicago PD. Worth the time enjoyed very much excellent narration.

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CPD Detective cases.

great audiobook no bull. I recommend it highly. this a book that takes you behind the scene.

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  • Nick
  • 02-20-20

Fascinating

I really enjoyed this book. John sounds like a good man and exactly the kind of cop you would hope to arrive if you had been the victim of a crime. The narrator was excellent, just like somebody recounting his life while sitting in a bar. It gets pretty gruesome in places but overall I found it to be a fascinating insight into being a cop in the 70s.