Career Girls Slains- Daily News

August 28, 1963: A brutal double murder and its subsequent investigation that rocked New York City and changed it forever.

"Better than Havana Nocturne… I do believe that this book could be titled Things Actually Do Get Better Sometimes … It’s an absolute great piece of work."

—Jon Stewart
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

"T.J. English, who chronicled Irish gangsters in The Westies, Vietnamese gangs in Chinatown in Born to Kill, and the Mafia’s pre-Castro Cuba, returns with a swashbuckling, racially charged nightmare about New York City in the 1960s. This is one nightmare worth reliving because Mr. English so vividly recreates an era…"

— The New York Times

"It’s dripping with the kind of detail that’s too good to make up."

— Mother Jones

"Breathtaking history… The Savage City reads like a Ross McDonald crime thriller about how the sins of the past always come back to bite you."

— Denis Hamill
The New Daily News

"Epic new history… The sprawling structure of the book is reminiscent of J. Anthony Lukas’s classic Common Ground, which told the story of the integration of public schools through the eyes of three Boston area families… English has found iconic characters for a particular time and place – New York in the 1960s and 1970s."

— The Village Voice

"T.J. English’s majesterial history of New York City in the 1960s and 70s deals with race and corruption within the New York Police Department and the so-called justice system."

— Leonard Levitt,
author of NYPD Confidential

"The Savage City is spellbinding and suspenseful… The author masterfully recreates [an] urban underworld… [His] sympathy for his subjects and his decision to let them speak for themselves gives the narrative immediacy and power."

— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“An epic look at the racial animus, fear, and hatred that characterized [a] troubled decade. Drawing on interviews with former police and prosecutors, activists, hustlers, and journalists, English recounts a time of growing and visceral hostility between a police department steeped in corruption and a besieged black community that exploded in violence. . . . Through the lives of three ostensibly unrelated men, English peels back the underlying turmoil that led to the violent period and the unaddressed social ills that remain to this day.”

—Booklist (starred review)

The Savage City is a necessary examination of the people, passions, and maligned principles by which New York City once lived and died. English has a magnificent sense of the manner in which people, landscape, and history are bound together. Every world is a corner and every corner is a world.”

—Colum McCann,
author of Let the Great World Spin

“T.J. English has 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. Highly recommended.”

—Douglas Brinkley,
author of The Wilderness Warrior and The Great Deluge.

“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. . . 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. . . . A gripping, noirish retrospective of an era when brutal misrule sparked desperate rage.”

—Publishers Weekly

The Savage City cover
The Books sectionhead


Race, Murder, And A Generation On The Edge

HARDCOVER: 496 pages
PUBLISHER: William Morrow & Co.
ORIGINAL PUBLISHER: William Morrow & Co. (2011)
ISBN-10: 0061782386
ISBN-13: 978-0061782381
ONLINE PURCHASE: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders | Indiebound


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Martin Luther King, Jr., with letter opener protruding<br/> from his chest, after he was stabbed at a bookstore<br/> in Harlem. George Whitmore is paraded before photographers after<br/> he was coerced into signing a 61-page confession to crimes<br/> he did not commit. Headquarters for the Harlem Branch of the Black Panther Party. Dhoruba Bin Wahad is taken into custody outside a Bronx<br/> police precinct station house. Police Officer Bill Phillips is taken into custody for the murder<br/> of a pimp and a prostitute, and the attempted muder of the<br/> prostitute's client.


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 living 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.