“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.
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.