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The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edgeby T J English
Synopses & Reviews
In the early 1960s, uncertainty and menace gripped New York, crystallizing in a poisonous divide between a deeply corrupt, cynical, and racist police force, and an African American community buffeted by economicdistress, brutality, and narcotics. On August 28, 1963—the day Martin Luther King Jr. declared "I have a dream" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial—two young white women were murdered in their Manhattan apartment. Dubbed the Career Girls Murders case, the crime sent ripples of fear throughout the city, as police scrambled fruitlessly for months to find the killer. But it also marked the start of a ten-year saga of fear, racial violence, and turmoil in the city—an era that took in events from the Harlem Riots of the mid-1960s to the Panther Twenty-One trials and Knapp Commission police corruption hearings of the early 1970s.
The Savage City explores this pivotal and traumatic decade through the stories of three very different men:
Animated by the voices of the three participants—all three of whom spent years in prison, and are still alive today—The Savage City emerges as an epic narrative of injustice and defiance, revealing for the first time the gripping story of how a great city, marred by fear and hatred, struggled for its soul in a time of sweeping social, political, and economic change.
"Forget Vietnam — New York City in the 1960s and 1970s hosted its own civil war between a racist police force and a newly militant black underclass, according to this bare-knuckled true-crime saga. A journalist and ex-screenwriter for NYPD Blue and Homicide, English (Havana Nocturne) distills a decade of conflict into three iconic figures: George Whitmore, a black teen wrongly charged with the grisly 'Career Girl Murders' on the basis of a coerced confession; Bill Phillips, a dirty cop whose testimony exposed ubiquitous police corruption; and Dhoruba Bin Wahad, a Black Panther targeted by both law enforcement and rival comrades. English paints a vivid, gritty panorama of a city wracked by racial insurgency, showing us precinct house backrooms where black suspects are beaten and white perps let off with a bribe; seething ghettos ready to riot at the next police shooting; and mean streets where the cops themselves face machine-gun fire. The author's pulpy prose — 'The Career Girls Murder story was like a good-looking whore' — and episodic subplots don't quite support his vision of urban apocalypse. Still, English gives us a gripping, noirish retrospective of an era when brutal misrule sparked desperate rage. Photos. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
“T.J. English has the mastered the hybrid narrative art form of social history and underworld thriller. The Savage City is a truly gripping read filled with unexpected twists and turns.”
—Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge
In The Savage City, T.J. English, author of the New York Times bestselling blockbuster Havana Nocturne, takes readers back to a frightening place in a dark time of violence and urban chaos: New York City in the 1960s and early 70s. As he did in his acclaimed true crime masterwork, The Westies, English focuses on the rot on the Big Apple in this stunning tale of race, murder, and a generation on the edge—as he interweaves the real-life sagas of a corrupt cop, a militant Black Panther, and an innocent young African American man framed by the NYPD for a series of crimes, including a brutal and sensational double murder.
About the Author
T.J. English is the New York Times bestselling author of Havana Nocturne, Paddy Whacked, The Westies, and Born to Kill, which was nominated for an Edgar Award. His screenwriting credits include TV episodes of NYPD Blue and Homicide, for which he was awarded the Humanitas Prize. He lives in New York City.
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