The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge

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9780061824555: The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge

Product Description
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 economic distress, 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:

· George Whitmore Jr., the near-blind, destitute nineteen-year-old black man who was coerced into confessing to the Career Girls Murders and several other crimes. Whitmore, an innocent man, would spend the decade in and out of the justice system, becoming a scapegoat for the NYPD—and a symbol of the inequities of the system.

· Bill Phillips, a brazenly crooked NYPD officer who spent years plundering the system before being caught in a corruption sting—and turning jaybird to create the largest scandal in the department's history.

· Dhoruba bin Wahad, a son of the Bronx and founding member of New York's Black Panther Party, whose militant activism would make him a target of local and federal law enforcement as conflicts between the Panthers and the police gradually devolved into open warfare.

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.

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Review:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2011: One part police procedural, one part historical narrative, T.J. English's The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge follows three different men caught in the fallout of New York City's most turbulent decade as race relations, corruption, and crime reached a stormy head. English traces the events that shook the city to its core during the '60s and early '70s, from the assassination of Malcolm X and the rise and fall of the Black Panthers, to the trial that exposed the multiple layers of corruption plaguing the city's police department. Woven throughout this narrative is the troubling story of George Whitmore, a young black man who was bullied into confessing to several of the city's gristliest murders--and who spent the next ten years attempting to prove his innocence and earn back his freedom. The Savage City is an expansive, remarkably detailed account of one of the most tumultuous moments in America's history, and of the lingering effects of the decade's injustices. --Lynette Mong

A Look Inside The Savage City
Click on the images below to open larger versions.

Janice Wylie and Emily Hoffert were both brutally killed in their Manhattan apartment on the same day as the March on Washington. The murder scene was bloody, but it revealed few clues. The sensational nature of the crime put pressure on detectives to come up with a suspect. (© New York Daily News) Prize catch: George Whitmore is paraded before photographers after he was coerced into signing a sixty-one page confession, the longest in NYPD history. (© New York Daily News) Dhoruba Bin Wahad was charged with the attempted murder of Curry and Binetti. Here he is being transferred while in custody from the 48th precinct police station to the Bronx House of detention. (© Bettman/Corbis) Bill Phillips being taken into custody on two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. (© New York Daily News).

About the Author:

T. J. English is a noted journalist, a screenwriter, and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Havana Nocturne, Paddy Whacked, and The Savage City, as well as of The Westies, a national bestseller, and Born to Kill, which was nominated for an Edgar Award. He has written for Vanity Fair, Playboy, and Esquire, among other publications. His screenwriting credits include episodes of the television crime dramas NYPD Blue and Homicide, for which he was awarded the Humanitas Prize. He lives in New York City.

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