The book treats of the activities developed by a troop of elite of the Military police of Rio de Janeiro. This troop calls itself BOPE (Battalion of Special Operations) and it uses as symbol a skull.
Formed by incorruptible policemen, that despise - besides - their own pairs of other sections that let to corrupt, the book portrays the stressful day by day of the incursions in the carioca slums. BOPE is considered the best combat troop to guerrilla urban of the world; its operations are made, usually, at night and the balance of lunges is - always - dead criminals. Due to the operational conditions and to the characteristics of the corporation this elite troop has a permanent combat against the drug dealers.
In spite of rigid moral patterns, in what it concerns to the corruption, the violence maybe is the largest problem of BOPE. To locate criminals there are no doubts in the use of the torture. They are procedures that ignore the dependences policemen and they are characterized by the immediate applicability, own of the dirty world, of the inhospitable conditions and without-law of a slum at night dominated by traffickers... In this point, BOPE approaches, in a certain way, of the series American 24 HOURS. After all, how to discuss with people that will only give their leaders if they feel pain... prison Threat? For them, prison is amusement park, because besides they already have past good part of the life there, they know others that there inhabit. How to talk with a kidnapper whose accomplice maintains a hostage that can die at any moment? BOPE is a war troop and for the war it is prepared. Dialogue doesn''t fit, "soft conversation" doesn''t fit... Only action.
Does the carioca society need a troop like this? And the Brazilian society? Sooner or later such subjects will be answered. Maybe have to discuss some appropriate limits for a medicine... But, that patient needs of the medicine, there is no doubt.
(HERBERT GONÇALVES ESPUNY).