Tonight, we interview Author T.J. English about his devastating article that details the horrendous drug-related violence that plagues the U.S. / Mexican border. The article is in the February 2011 issue of Playboy magazine.
“If there was doubt before, there is no longer: The killings represent a tipping point. What was viewed by some U.S. citizens and public officials as mostly a Mexican problem is now an American problem, with American victims. No one is immune. And no one is safe.”
About the guest:
Thomas Joseph “T.J.” English comes from a large Irish Catholic family of ten brothers and sisters. Early in his writing career, English worked as a freelance journalist in New York City during the day and drove a taxi at night. He often refers to cab driving as a metaphor for what he does as a writer – cruising the streets, interviewing strangers, exploring the unknown, reporting on what he sees and hears from his sojourns in and around the underworld.
In 1990, English published his first book, The Westies, an account of the last of the Irish Mob in the infamous Manhattan neighborhood known as “Hell’s Kitchen.” The book was the result of a series of reports English wrote for a weekly Irish American newspaper based in New York…
His second book, Born to Kill (1995), was an unprecedented inside account of a violent Vietnamese gang based in New York’s Chinatown, that operated up and down the East Coast. In 2005, English published Paddy Whacked, a sweeping history of the Irish American gangster in New York, Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, and other U.S. cities. Most recently, English published Havana Nocturne (2008), an investigative account of U.S. mobster infiltration of Havana, Cuba, in the years before the Revolution swept Fidel Castro into power.
As a journalist, English has written for many magazines and newspapers including: Esquire, Playboy, Irish America, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times…
In the mid-1990s, he wrote a three-part series for Playboy entitled “The New Mob” that explored the changing face of organized crime in America. His work as a writer has taken him to Cuba, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Mexico, Ireland, and all around the U.S… Most of his articles are on the subject of crime and criminal justice, though English writes on a wide variety of subjects including music, politics, and movies. He has published full-length interviews with Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, actor Bill Murray, director Martin Scorsese, and comedy legend George Carlin, to name a few.
In addition, English is a screenwriter and has penned episodes for the television crime dramas “NYPD Blue” and “Homicide,” for which he was awarded the prestigious Humanitas Prize.
His next book, THE SAVAGE CITY – Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge, is coming out this March.
He lives in New York City.
You can find out more about him at his website.