The Savage City

Tonight, we’re rejoined by our friend T.J. English to talk about his startling narrative about the turmoil of New York City in the 1960’s – The Savage City.

From Amazon’s best books of the month: “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

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 new book, THE SAVAGE CITY – Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge, is out Now.

He lives in New York City.

Closing music: