The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge
It was a time of hope and desperation, a time of reckoning…
In the early 1960s, the Mad Men era, a mood of menace gripped New York City. The crime rate was growing and violence was becoming a daily reality for citizens in every neighbourhood. At the centre of the unrest was a poisonous divide between two camps: the deeply corrupt and racist police of the era and the African American community. Then, on 28 August 1963—the day on which Martin Luther King Jr stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and declared, ‘I have a dream’—two young white women were murdered in their Manhattan apartment. The killings struck fear through the city and ignited a ten-year saga of racial violence and unrest.
An epic true-life story of murder, injustice and defiance, The Savage City draws on interviews with participants and extensive research to tell the stories of three very different New Yorkers—an innocent man wrongly accused of murder, a corrupt cop and a militant Black Panther—and to explore this traumatic decade in the city’s history.
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