By Bernard B. Kerik
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Hardcover, 361 pages
Everyone knows the name Bernie Kerik, Police Commissioner under former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. You may have seen his name mentioned in newspaper articles, seen him on the evening news, heard about how he ran his Department, the things he did to stop crime. But to get to know Bernie Kerik almost as an intimate friend, you have to read this book.
This book is a complete autobiographical account of the boy who would grow up to become New York City Police Commissioner during New York City's most terrifying time: September 11th, 2002 and the days, weeks and months that followed.
Bernie Kerik had completed the final chapter of this book at 1:30 on the morning of September 11, 2001. He was relieved that the emotional journey he traveled into his childhood to write the book was over and he looked forward to finishing the last three months of his tenure in peace and quiet. He got up that day at 6:00, as usual, headed into work, and by 9:00 a.m., all hell broke loose on his life, the lives of the people in the city and the world.
Bernie Kerik details his entire life in this book, beginning with his birth, his description of his “lost” childhood, when at the age of four, he was abandoned by his mother. He talks about his “bad boy” teen years, spent at times a heartbeat away from being arrested. He tells us of his days in the service in Korea, and his time in Saudi Arabia. He tells us how he came to be a police officer and how he worked his way up in the ranks to become Police Commissioner.
The final chapter in the book is an afterword entitled “Ground Zero: September 11, 2001”. In this chapter, he describes the events of the day and his feelings. He has a dedication to the top people he worked with who perished in the line of duty that day.
Throughout the book, he shows us the “lost son” who is searching for his mother, years after he died, and how this unresolved issue in his life affects his life on a day-to-day basis. This book makes Bernie Kerik a real person, not just a name in the newspaper headlines.
This book is marvelous. It reads like a novel, yet is factual, chillingly factual. You will be on the last page before you realize you've finished the book, and you'll be looking for more.
I recommend this book highly.