Five miles from Philadelphia across the Delaware River in Southern New Jersey lies the city of Camden. During the second World War Dominican immigrants came to Camden by the thousands to work as replacement workers at Campbell Soup. By the 1970’s Camden saw a dramatic decline in population and industry. The one time industrial center slowly turned into a drug infested war zone. the city’s political structure was tainted with corruption in every aspect from the board of education to the police. This lead to the city being named the poorest in America, the most dangerous in America, and the per capita murder capital. The Organization was the city’s most powerful drug ring with connections that reached as high as the mayor. The main character Simon Gonzalez Jr. “Gato” is the grandson of a Dominican immigrant and a career hustler who has to manage a family and a drug ring at a young age, all while trying to stay alive in America’s grimmest city. Simon finds out that sometimes loyalty comes at a high price, that price is your life. More than just a book about drugs and guns, The Organization is a tale of how greed, power and corruption turned a working class city into a near third world country.

Find more street lit by Thomas Freeman, Jr.

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