the heady summer days of 1970, an untrained police recruit, recently
returned to Brooklyn from a tour in the air force, was secretly
assigned by the NYPD to infiltrate an up-and-coming urban terrorist
organization described only as "a black cloud on the horizon."
It was led by a charismatic rogue rabbi, whose impact would be
felt around the world. Administered his oath of office in an empty
building, stripped of his badge, forbidden to attend the police
academy or mingle with other officers at any time, Richard Rosenthal
advanced through the ranks of the Jewish Defense League from its
early days of street intimidation through its production of incendiary
weapons, its international airline hijacking attempt and ultimately
its bombings, until he became a firearms instructor, oversaw their
weapons arsenal, and acted as body guard to the notorious Rabbi
Meir Kahane. With a cast of characters that includes Joe Colombo,
the Brooklyn mob, the Ku Klux Klan, former French President Pompidou,
the grave diggers’ union, and the Soviet Mission to the
United States, Rookie Cop is not only the very human story of
a young cop on an outrageously dangerous assignment but one of
the wackiest true police stories ever told.
"A strange true tale of a Jewish NYPD cadet recruited into
the department's elite intelligence unit to spy on the Jewish
Defense League, offering vivid portraits of a politically incendiary
era and revealing secrets of intrusive police tactics...This is
a well-tuned portrait of the stress and acrimony that permeates
such radical cliques, and of the lonely, paranoid personalities
at their centers — and it offers insights into the radically
charged violence of the early 1970s...Rosenthal has a fine eye
for human detail and a cop's mordant sensibility. Altogether an
exciting tale of unusual police practices, and a solid portrait
of a quintessential fringe radical group inhabiting insecure,
— Kirkus Reviews
"Reads like outtakes from The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight!"
— The Boston Globe
"Quite compelling…leaving the reader wanting to know
more about the crimes perpetrated by the JDL, the undercover operations
against it, and its head, Rabbi Meir Kahane."
— Library Journal
"Rosenthal does a solid job of reconstructing his undercover
— Publishers Weekly
"If this book were fiction I wouldn't believe it...Rookie
Cop is a fabulous combination of true crime and backyard gossip.
Reading Rosenthal's account of the events he was involved in is
like running across a really interesting guy at a party who tells
you the most unbelievable tale in the most believable way... This
is a modern morality tale written in the most modern terms and
should be assigned reading for anyone who thinks they would kill
for a cause."
— Carlye Archibeque, The Independent Review Site
"A remarkable look into a hidden world of Jewish militancy;
Richard Rosenthal's story reads like a trip through the looking
— Rich Cohen, Author of Tough Jews
"This book is more than a memoir, it is a blueprint for
how not to conduct a criminal conspiracy. Executed with admirable
economy, written with the law-abiding fan in mind, it is must
reading for all the bad guys."
— Robert Sabbag Author of Snowblind
"A compelling and clear-eyed portrait of a clannish, secret,
and vengeful world. I read it with great interest and respect."
— Alec Wilkinson, Author of Midnights: A Year with the Wellfleet
Read an excerpt
from Rookie Cop
becoming Chief of Police in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Richard
Rosenthal spent twenty years in the New York City Police
Department, where he ran the Heavy Weapons and Undercover Weapons
Training programs and, as a detective in the Bronx dealt with
homicide, narcotics, and armed robbery. Before joining the NYPD,
he worked for U.S. Air Force military intelligence as a Russian
language specialist. Pocket Books published his two popular books
of police craft, Sky Cops and K-9 Cops, as well
as his novel, The Murder of Old Comrades, "a spicy
police procedural about KGB assassins on the loose in Manhattan,"
according to The Wall Street Journal, which "put Mr.
Rosenthal on the map in big-league publishing."
True Crime/Jewish Studies/Biography
A Leapfrog Press Paperback Original
200 Pages/ 6 x 9 / 14.95
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