Photo: ©2015 Los Angeles Police Museum.

Photo: ©2015 Los Angeles Police Museum.

In 1853, just three years after it was incorporated, Los Angeles found itself at a crossroads. The city was reputed to have the highest murder rate nationwide, as the California Gold Rush brought cutthroats to town. Desperate to turn the tide, the first specific Los Angeles police force was founded and staffed with volunteers, who in turn earned a reputation for indulging in violence, gambling, and vice. A century later, the LAPD had become notorious for widespread corruption, racism, and brutality. This is where our story begins.

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James Ellroy, the undisputed master of modern crime noir, has joined forces with and Glynn Martin, executive director for Los Angles Police Museum to create LAPD ’53 (Abrams) a devastating portrait of the era through. The book features 80 duotone photographs, sprinkled throughout the book, showing the particulars of the grim and ghastly tales Ellroy narrates. Imagine the underbelly of Hollywood Babylon, if it were illustrated by Weegee and you get the spirit of LAPD ’53.

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