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Book Review: Bomb Squad – A Year Inside the Nation’s Most Exclusive Police Unit by Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein

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Join Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein as they delve into the world of terror and excitement with New York City’s most elite arm of the police department, the Bomb Squad. The squad is made of 33 normal guys who shy away from heroism, though they put their life on the line almost every day of the year meeting head-on the countless bomb threats — real and imagined — plaguing New York City with unnerving consistency.

The Bomb Squad’s roots were in the early 1900s when the Black Hand, an early group of thugs that preferred to use dynamite for extortion and terror, preyed on the Italian immigrants. An Italian-American detective named Giuseppe Petrosino from Salerno, Sicily was assigned to head up a five-man unit, “The Italian Squad,” that deported thousands of members of the Black Hand, and cut the crime rate against Italian-Americans by half.

The authors write:

    The culture of the bomb technician, we came to learn, is not to be found in the five-inch-thick NYPD rule book — the Patrol Guide — or the regulations of any other police department. Nor is it explained in the volumes of explosives training material. It is a culture that has evolved over ten decades of trial and error on the part of police officers who donned protective gear, knelt down, said a prayer, and attempted to cut the correct wire, sever a circuit, remove a blasting cap, and defuse a bomb.

Imagine the destructive force of a super heated blast wave moving 26,000 feet per second. Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein train with the squad for a full year, working with the K-9 dogs and observe the men in Kevlar as they perform their magic on these improvised bombs. Ditto what Ted Koppel said about this book, “Forget 24; this is the real thing.”

Bomb Squad is an enjoyable book with a tremendous amount of information directing the ins and outs of this elite arm of the New York City Police Department. It’s packed full of interesting stories of the real-life heroes we should all applaud for their unselfish dedication to preserve the safety of our families, our way of life, and our freedom.

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