George Lippard (1822-1854) clawed his way out of poverty to become one of the best-selling authors in antebellum America. His novel The Bank Director’s Son offers a sensationalized critique of class privilege, slavery, and the prison system. Originally published as The Killers in 1849, the story explores the connections between wealthy capitalists, Cuban slave traders, and violent street gangs in urban Philadelphia. The 1851 edition, which is extremely rare, is now available here.
Source: American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, MA)