Philadelphia

In the vein of Erin Brockovich, The Departed, and T. J. English's Savage City comes Busted, the shocking true story of the biggest police corruption scandal in Philadelphia history, a tale of drugs, power, and abuse involving a rogue narcotics squad, a confidential informant, and two veteran journalists whose reporting drove a full-scale FBI probe, rocked the City of Brotherly Love, and earned a Pulitzer Prize .

In 2003, Benny Martinez became a Confidential Informant for a member of the Philadelphia Police Department's narcotics squad, helping arrest nearly 200 drug and gun dealers over seven years. But that success masked a dark and dangerous reality: the cops were as corrupt as the criminals they targeted.

In addition to fabricating busts, the squad systematically looted mom-and-pop stores, terrorizing hardworking immigrant owners. One squad member also sexually assaulted three women during raids. Frightened for his life, Martinez turned to Philadelphia Daily News reporters Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker.

Busted chronicles how these two journalists—both middle-class working mothers—formed an unlikely bond with a convicted street dealer to uncover the secrets of ruthless kingpins and dirty cops. Professionals in an industry shrinking from severe financial cutbacks, Ruderman and Laker had few resources—besides their own grit and tenacity—to break a dangerous, complex story that would expose the rotten underbelly of a modern American city and earn them a Pulitzer Prize. A page-turning thriller based on superb reportage, illustrated with eight pages of photos, Busted is modern true crime at its finest. 

What happens when people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds come together to live and work in the same neighborhood? Unlike other examinations of this question that focus on one group, this book looks at the interaction of both old and new immigrant populations in three Philadelphia neighborhoods.

In this ethnographic study, which is a result of the Ford Foundation-funded Changing Relations: Newcomers and Established Residents in Philadelphia Project, the authors consider five primary groups—whites, African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Koreans, and Eastern Europeans—in Olney, Kensington, and Port Richmond. Focusing on the interaction of racial, ethnic, and immigrant communities in schools, organized community celebrations and social events, the workplace, shopping areas, and neighborhood politics, the authors show that the contradictions of individual beliefs, actions, and strategies of power are not easily resolved.

By examining the local, citywide, and national economy and government, previous human relations efforts, changing immigration patterns, community-level power structures, real estate turnover, and gentrification, the authors evaluate current strategies to create harmony in communities with an ever-changing mix of established residents and newly arrived immigrants. Through their findings, Judith Goode and Jo Anne Schneider develop better alternatives that will encourage understanding and cooperation among different racial and ethnic groups sharing their lives and neighborhoods.

'Twas Honest old Noah first planted the Vine
And mended his morals by drinking its Wine.
—from a drinking song by Benjamin Franklin

There were, Peter Thompson notes, some one hundred and fifty synonyms for inebriation in common use in colonial Philadelphia and, on the eve of the Revolution, just as many licensed drinking establishments. Clearly, eighteenth-century Philadelphians were drawn to the tavern. In addition to the obvious lure of the liquor, taverns offered overnight accommodations, meals, and stabling for visitors. They also served as places to gossip, gamble, find work, make trades, and gather news.

In Rum Punch and Revolution, Thompson shows how the public houses provided a setting in which Philadelphians from all walks of life revealed their characters and ideas as nowhere else. He takes the reader into the cramped confines of the colonial bar room, describing the friendships, misunderstandings and conflicts which were generated among the city's drinkers and investigates the profitability of running a tavern in a city which, until independence, set maximum prices on the cost of drinks and services in its public houses.

Taverngoing, Thompson writes, fostered a sense of citizenship that influenced political debate in colonial Philadelphia and became an issue in the city's revolution. Opinionated and profoundly undeferential, taverngoers did more than drink; they forced their political leaders to consider whether and how public opinion could be represented in the counsels of a newly independent nation.
New York Times bestselling author, superstar comedian, and Hollywood box office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word in this “hilarious but also heartfelt” (Elle) memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself.

The question you’re probably asking yourself right now is: What does Kevin Hart have that a book also has?

According to the three people who have seen Kevin Hart and a book in the same room, the answer is clear:

A book is compact. Kevin Hart is compact.

A book has a spine that holds it together. Kevin Hart has a spine that holds him together.

A book has a beginning. Kevin Hart’s life uniquely qualifies him to write this book by also having a beginning.

It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys.

The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero. But Kevin Hart, like Ernest Hemingway, J.K. Rowling, and Chocolate Droppa before him, was able to defy the odds and turn it around. In his literary debut, he takes us on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he’s overcome each challenge to become the man he is today.

And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion.

He achieved this not just through hard work, determination, and talent. “Hart is an incredibly magnetic storyteller, on the page as he is onstage, and that’s what shines through [in this] genial, entertaining guide to a life in comedy” (Kirkus Reviews).
This account of the infamous asylum is “an excellent record of greed and corruption, but it is also a powerful testimonial to compassion and kindness” (Hidden City).

The Quaker City and its hospitals were pioneers in the field of mental health. Yet by the end of the nineteenth century, its institutions were crowded and patients lived in shocking conditions. The mentally ill were quartered with the dangerously criminal. By 1906, the city had purchased a vast acreage of farmland incorporated into the city, and the Philadelphia Hospital dubbed its new venture Byberry City Farms. From the start, its history was riddled with corruption and committees, investigations and inquests, appropriations and abuse. Yet it is also a story of reform and redemption, of heroes and human dignity—many dedicated staff members did their best to help patients whose mental illnesses were little understood and were stigmatized by society.

“The closed hospital’s almost forgotten story intrigued him immediately and then became his passion . . . Webster tells the hospital’s 100-year story in a brisk, easy-to-read style, and the book is illustrated with 75 photographs from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Temple University Urban Archives, the Pennsylvania State Archives, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, PhillyHistory.org and friends.” —Northeast Times



“Webster . . . wrote his book because of his fascination with an abandoned building he discovered in 2002. He wanted to tell the story of Byberry, one he believes many people do not fully understand.” —Philadelphia Neighborhoods
Offering a new view into the lives and experiences of plebeian men and women, and a provocative exploration of the history of the body itself, Embodied History approaches the bodies of the poor in early national Philadelphia as texts to be read and interpreted. Through a close examination of accounts of the bodies that appeared in runaway advertisements and in seafaring, almshouse, prison, hospital, and burial records, Simon P. Newman uses physical details to paint an entirely different portrait of the material circumstances of the poor, examining the ways they became categorized in the emerging social hierarchy, and how they sought to resist such categorization.

The Philadelphians examined in Embodied History were members of the lower sort, a social category that emerged in the early modern period from the belief in a society composed of natural orders and ranks. The population of the urban poor grew rapidly after the American Revolution, and middling and elite citizens were frightened by these poor bodies, from the tattooed professional sailor, to the African American runaway with a highly personalized hairstyle and distinctive mannerisms and gestures, to the vigorous and lively Irish prostitute who refused to be cowed by the condemnation of others, to the hardworking laboring family whose weakened and diseased children played and sang in the alleys. In a new republic premised on liberty and equality, the rapidly increasing ranks of unruly bodies threatened to overwhelm traditional notions of deference, hierarchy, and order.

Affluent Philadelphians responded by employing runaway advertisements, the almshouse, the prison, and to a lesser degree the hospital to incarcerate, control, and correct poor bodies and transform them into well-dressed, hardworking, deferential members of society. Embodied History is a compelling and accessible exploration of how poverty was etched and how power and discipline were enacted upon the bodies of the poor, as well as how the poor attempted to transcend such discipline through assertions of bodily agency and liberty.

PHILADELPHIA, the 1840s: a corrupt banker disowns his dissolute son, who then reappears as a hardened smuggler in the contraband slave trade. Another son, hidden from his father since birth and condemned as a former felon, falls in with a ferocious street gang led by his elder brother and his revenge-hungry comrade from Cuba. His adopted sister, a beautiful actress, is kidnapped, and her remorseful black captor becomes her savior as his tavern is engulfed in flames. Vendetta, gang violence, racial tensions, and international intrigue collide in an explosive novella based on the events leading up to an infamous 1849 Philadelphia race riot. The Killers takes the reader on a fast-paced journey from the hallowed halls of academia at Yale College to the dismal solitary cells of Eastern State Penitentiary and through southwest Philadelphia's community of free African Americans. Though the book's violence was ignited by the particulars of Philadelphia life and politics, the flames were fanned by nationwide anxieties about race, labor, immigration, and sexuality that emerged in the young republic.

Penned by fiery novelist, labor activist, and reformer George Lippard (1822-1854) and first serialized in 1849, The Killers was the work of a wildly popular writer who outsold Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne in his lifetime. Long out of print, the novella now appears in an edition supplemented with a brief biography of the author, an untangling of the book's complex textual history, and excerpts from related contemporaneous publications. Editors Matt Cohen and Edlie L. Wong set the scene of an antebellum Philadelphia rife with racial and class divisions, implicated in the international slave trade, and immersed in Cuban annexation schemes to frame this compact and compelling tale.

Serving up in a short form the same heady mix of sensational narrative, local color, and impassioned politics found in Lippard's sprawling The Quaker City, or The Monks of Monks Hall, The Killers is here brought back to lurid life.

In Philadelphia Stories, Samuel Otter finds literary value, historical significance, and political urgency in a sequence of texts written in and about Philadelphia between the Constitution and the Civil War. Historians such as Gary B. Nash and Julie Winch have chronicled the distinctive social and political space of early national Philadelphia. Yet while individual writers such as Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, and George Lippard have been linked to Philadelphia, no sustained attempt has been made to understand these figures, and many others, as writing in a tradition tied to the city's history. The site of William Penn's "Holy Experiment" in religious toleration and representative government and of national Declaration and Constitution, near the border between slavery and freedom, Philadelphia was home to one of the largest and most influential "free" African American communities in the United States. The city was seen by residents and observers as the laboratory for a social experiment with international consequences. Philadelphia would be the stage on which racial character would be tested and a possible future for the United States after slavery would be played out. It would be the arena in which various residents would or would not demonstrate their capacities to participate in the nation's civic and political life. Otter argues that the Philadelphia "experiment" (the term used in the nineteenth-century) produced a largely unacknowledged literary tradition of peculiar forms and intensities, in which verbal performance and social behavior assumed the weight of race and nation.
The “unexpectedly moving” story of dumb luck and the American Dream set in South Philly from the # 1 New York Times–bestselling author (Entertainment Weekly).
 
What would you do if you found a million dollars? When Joey Coyle did, he was a twenty-eight-year-old drug-dependent, unemployed longshoreman living with his ailing mother in a tight-knit Philadelphia neighborhood. While cruising the streets just blocks from his home, fate took a turn worthy of a Hollywood caper when he found $1.2 million in unmarked bills—casino money that had fallen off an armored truck. It was virtually untraceable. Coyle? Not so much.
 
Over the next seven days, fueled by euphoria, methamphetamine, and paranoia, Coyle shared his windfall with everyone from his eight-year-old niece to total strangers to a local mob boss who offered to “clean” it. All the while, Det. Pat Laurenzi and members of the FBI were working around the clock to find it. No one was prepared for how Coyle’s dream-come-true would come tumbling down, or what would happen when it did.
 
From “a master of narrative journalism” comes the incredible true-life thriller of an ordinary man with an extraordinary dilemma, and the complicity, concern, and betrayal of friends, family, and neighbors that would prove his undoing (The New York Times Book Review).
 
“A miniature serio-comedy about life in the city.” —The Washington Post
 
“Masterfully reported and artfully paced.” —Entertainment Weekly
 
“A taut, fast-paced tale.” —The Baltimore Sun
The Sellers brothers, Samuel and George, came to North America in 1682 as part of the Quaker migration to William Penn’s new province on the shores of the Delaware River. Across more than two centuries, the Sellers family—especially Samuel’s descendants Nathan, Escol, Coleman, and William—rose to prominence as manufacturers, engineers, social reformers, and urban and suburban developers, transforming Philadelphia into a center of industry and culture. They led a host of civic institutions including the Franklin Institute, Abolition Society, and University of Pennsylvania. At the same time, their vast network of relatives and associates became a leading force in the rise of American industry in Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee, New York, and elsewhere.Engineering Philadelphia is a sweeping account of enterprise and ingenuity, economic development and urban planning, and the rise and fall of Philadelphia as an industrial metropolis. Domenic Vitiello tells the story of the influential Sellers family, placing their experiences in the broader context of industrialization and urbanization in the United States from the colonial era through World War II. The story of the Sellers family illustrates how family and business networks shaped the social, financial, and technological processes of industrial capitalism. As Vitiello documents, the Sellers family and their network profoundly influenced corporate and federal technology policy, manufacturing practice, infrastructure and building construction, and metropolitan development. Vitiello also links the family’s declining fortunes to the deindustrialization of Philadelphia—and the nation—over the course of the twentieth century.
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