Undisclosed Files of the Police
is a bit of a misnomer. This coffee-table book may not shed any new light on some of the most heinous and fascinating crimes ever committed in New York City, but it does provide colorful commentary on them. It traces the history of the NYPD, along with the city itself, and shows how crimes from the past 200 years can shed light on the city's cultural, political and social identity. Written from the perspective of the police (two of the book's three authors are former cops), Undisclosed Files
explains early detective work, the rise of notorious gangs in the early 20th century, and the beginning of data collection on criminals in the 1990s. The book is broken up into particular cases, using their specifics to highlight how police work and the city itself were continually changing. Complete with incredible photographs, the book is a perfect gift for anyone with a love of true crime or New York history. --Noah Cruickshank
, adult engagement manager, the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Ill.