The Worlds of R. A. Hortz
A Year Inside the Nation's Most Exclusive Police Unit
By Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein
Hyperion: New York (2007)
Reviewed by Herbert White - Posted February 28, 2012
In 2003, Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein embarked upon an in-depth investigation of the New York City Police Department's Bomb Squad. They were given unprecedented access to this elite group, spending twelve months working and living with the thirty-three bomb technicians who comprise this squad. Building upon this unique experience, Esposito and Gerstein authored Bomb Squad, a book which chronicles their experiences and observations of their year with the New York City Bomb Squad. Esposito is a News Reporter whose beat includes Homeland Security and Criminal Justice matters, and Gerstein is a seasoned journalist and an ABC News Nightline producer.
Bomb Squad provides an intimate glimpse into the lives and mind-set of the bomb squad members, and it provides a gripping and detailed account of the tools they use on the job, the training they undergo, how they carry out their day-to-day duties, and how 9/11 and the ongoing threat of terrorism have affect their job. In researching this book, Esposito and Gerstein were not only embedded with the NYPD Bomb Squad, but they also conducted countless interviews with a diverse range of people, from bomb manufacturers to terrorism experts. In addition, they were given the opportunity to work with bomb sniffing dogs, learn about improvised explosive devices (IEDs), learn how bombers can be identified by the bombs they make, witness bombs being defused, and to take the Hazardous Devices School's basic course for bomb technicians - the same training course that members of the NYPD bomb squad take.
Bomb Squad is a hard book to put down. The narrative is conversational in nature, and the authors used nontechnical language to explain the technical aspects discussed in the book. Throughout, the authors make you feel as if you are on the scene with them, and that you are getting an authentic experience as vicarious member of the NYPD Bomb Squad. Informative appendixes covering items such as a time-line of the key moments in the life of the NYPD Bomb Squad 1903-2004 and a list of 'significant terrorists' bombings from 1945-2003. The appendixes serve as an edifying glimpse into the history and importance of the NYPD Bomb Squad. In short, this book provides you with an unprecedented and exciting glimpse into one of the nation's premier bomb squads.
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