The Onion Field

The Onion Field

by Joseph Wambaugh
4.1 43

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The Onion Field 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
DeeNadj More than 1 year ago
An amazing book. I wish Wambaugh had added just a little of himself; some emotion or editorialization. It was a great book but by the end I felt it kind of came across as dry recitation, and lost some of the drama it had in earlier chapters. Even knowing what happened, Wambaugh was still able to surprise me with the way the entire incident developed. I agree with other reviewers that the treatment (or lack thereof) of Karl Hettinger was absolutely devastating in the wake of the psychological trauma he endured that night. So many things about this whole story are outrageous; but that Hettinger was evaluated by seven doctors - ONLY for the purpose of determining pension issues, and then found by SIX of those doctors to be needing serious, immediate help - yet still it was not provided or deemed a condition of pension issuance. Hettinger didn't die in the field with Campbell, but the LAPD buried alive him many times over in the years that followed. If I may nitpick just a little; there were lots of areas of misprinting in the ebook version. Trying to read it on my nook was a little frustrating since this was my first time reading this work, I didn't know what the words and characters were supposed to be saying. Still, this is an amazing read for younger generations who may not have ever heard of the Onion Field killing. It certainly was enlightening for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually enjoy re-reading my favorite books every year or so, and this true-crime tale is in my personal top ten list. Sadly, the story of Los Angeles Police Officer Ian Campbell's death and the resulting years of anguish suffered by his partner Karl Hettinger is almost too painful to read again. Wambaugh does an expert job of allowing the reader into the minds of both officers as well as the criminals, Greg Powell and Jimmy Youngblood. While not excusing their sociopathy, the author gives considerable insight into how the criminals' desolate childhoods paved the way for the doomed encounter in the onion field. Also intriguing is Wambaugh's description of the incredibly detailed homicide investigation conducted by legendary detective Pierce Brooks. My only (very minor) complaint is that some of the descriptions of the numerous trials are a little dry. This is an outstanding, poignant and unforgettable book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is by far one of the best written that I have read. The true story of this terrifying event was captured perfectly by Joseph Wambaugh. This is the first book that I have read of Wambaugh and will continue with reading all of them.
Purlingurl More than 1 year ago
I read this book several years ago and I have to say it's still one of my fav's. I think about those Police Officer's and their families...
MarcoB More than 1 year ago
Wambaugh cronicles the tale of the abdution of two LA Police Officers in 1963, The Murder of Officer Ian Campbell, the brake down of Karl Hettinger and the twists and turns of the murderers Gregory Powell and Jimmy youngblood. A true story that will anger and frustrate you. It may also break your heart. Wambaugh wrote of post traumatic stress disorder before it had a name.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wambaugh gives the reader great insight as to what is real after the headlines are in the trash and the nightly news gives us the sensational blurb of a cop killing. The Onion Field reveals every mind blowing detail of how our criminal justice system is derranged, particularly the court systems. This book is especially interesting to students of constiutional law as it relates to the rights of the accused. The real life cop murder takes place just prior to some major Supreme court decisions on so called 'right to be silent' and 'right to counsel'. (a.ks. Miranda warnings) The resulting rape and destruction of the court and prison systems is well depectied in Wambaugh's straight to the point style. You will be entertained, educated and pissed off all at the same time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joseph Wambau is at his very best when writing an indepth True Crime drama. Though the pace of the book seems a bit long and drawn out, Wambau's technical approach to story telling works here. Because this is a historical account of a very tragic event, a detailed description and charachter sketch of the suspects and the victims are essential. I recently tried reading some fiction written by Wambau. Though the book was imaginative, his overly indepth approach sacrificed the pace of the book. A work of thrilling fiction should jam!! The Onion Field (was) excellent though!!. Stick to True Crime Joe...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am still reading this book. I think that Joseph Wambaugh did a really good job of writing this book. The movie as well is wonderful. I am a descendent of Ian Campbell's family and have always been very interested in this story. I'll put out another review when I'm finished.
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An interesting look into a brutal crime from the standpoint of the criminals and the police officers involved in and affected by the incident.
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Oscar Campbell More than 1 year ago
A day by days of small choices, descernments. Yes these can lead to 'the worst day' of your life, your familys, your friends. Thats the 'big deal'. Just humans like you and in the end. always tears for you all!
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