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The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper Paperback – Illustrated, March 3, 2020

4.5 out of 5 stars 7,030 ratings

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A New York Times Book Review ‘Summer Reading Best True Crime’   A Washington Post ‘20 Books to Read This Summer’   An Oprah.com ‘20 Best True Crime Books That’ll Make You Want to Sleep With the Lights On’   “Rubenhold has produced a significant study of how poor and working-class women subsisted in an unforgiving age.”—The New York Times Book Review    “Hallie Rubenhold’s hard-edged, heartbreaking biographies of the five women killed by Jack the Ripper over two months in 1888 offer a blistering counter-narrative to the ‘male, authoritarian, and middle class’ legend of a demonic superman preying on prostitutes… Her riveting work, both compassionate group portrait and stinging social history, finally gives them their due.”—The Washington Post   “The five London women murdered by Jack the Ripper, in 1888, were long assumed to be prostitutes. This history shows otherwise, presenting deeply researched portraits of the victims as they lived: they were all poor, some to the point of homelessness; they were all apparently killed while asleep; and, with one exception, they were known by family and acquaintances not to be prostitutes. Each had a distinct story that has never been fully or truthfully told. Why Victorians preferred to embrace the myth is one question that guides the book; why we continue to do so is another.”—The New Yorker     “All too often, murder victims’ stories are relegated to the footnotes of history, overshadowed by not only their violent ends, but the looming specter of their killers. In The Five, historian Hallie Rubenhold sets out to correct this imbalance, placing the focus on [the victims] rather than the still-unidentified serial killer who ended their lives in 1888.”—Smithsonian   “An effort to remedy the Ripper imbalance.”—Time   “A must for Ripperologists.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review   “Essential to students of Ripperiana.”—Kirkus Reviews   “Focusing on [the victims] backstories rather than the forensic details of their deaths, Rubenhold puts them back into their larger social context.”—Jezebel    “Jack the Ripper continues to be a mystery, but these women are now less so.”—Bust    “Rubenhold does a commendable job in bringing these women on stage and through their stories illuminating the appalling reality behind the veneer of Victorian complacency. For these women, and millions like them, life in Victorian England was not an episode of Masterpiece Theater.”—New York Journal of Books   “The Five is a long-overdue investigation that shines the spotlight on [the victims], giving context to who they were and what circumstances molded their lives.”—Hypable    “At last, the Ripper's victims get a voice...An eloquent, stirring challenge to reject the prevailing Ripper myth."  —The Mail on Sunday     “[A]n angry and important work of historical detection…The Five is not simply about the women who were murdered in Whitechapel in the autumn of 1888: it is for them. This is a powerful and a shaming book, but most shameful of all is that it took 130 years to write.” The Guardian   "A remarkable feat of d —

About the Author

HALLIE RUBENHOLD is a social historian whose expertise lies in rediscovering the stories of previously unknown women and episodes in history. The Five is the first full-length biography of the victims of Jack the Ripper to be published since 1888. By drawing upon a wealth of previously unseen archival material and adding a much-needed historical context to the victims’ lives, The Five promises to change the narrative of these murders forever.
 
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Mariner Books; Reprint edition (March 3, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0358299616
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0358299615
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.31 x 0.94 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,030 ratings

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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AnnG
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly well researched book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 3, 2019
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3.0 out of 5 stars At its best when she stops pontificating
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5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Five
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5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful book, that blends true crime and one that’s rich in historical detail
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 18, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful book, that blends true crime and one that’s rich in historical detail
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 18, 2019
I have read many true crime books over the years, and they have always focused on infamous killers with little thought given to the victims. I’m sure you can all think of a list of infamous killers, but can you remember any of the victims’ names or their life stories? Probably not I know I can’t, which is desperately sad. This book provides the reader with an incredible insight into the five victims of Jack The Ripper, Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane. Yes, they were victims of the most atrocious crimes, but Helen Rubenhold’s The Five finally gives these women a voice. Beautifully written the author brings 1888 London to life, but more importantly she brings to life the five women, giving them back their dignity, which for almost 150 years they have been cruelly denied.

As a reader of true crime I have read many books on Jack The Ripper and many of them describe the five victims as prostitutes, a fact that obscured the truth about the women’s real life’s, (only one of the five women sold her body for money). Even back in 1888 the victims of Jack The Ripper were blighted by ‘here say’ and speculation, they were shaped and embellished to make the crimes more newsworthy (sound familiar?). As most of the victims had no permanent roof over their heads or a husband to protect them, they were seen to be outcasts and so considered to be corrupt and impure, they faced violence, abuse, lived day to day, hungry, cold and unloved, was it any wonder every single one of the woman had struggled with alcohol addiction.

Towards the end of their short life’s circumstances for each woman changed, either through bad choices or misfortune. Perceived to be either “broken women” or “fallen women” It’s at this point they were treated with contempt, and even in death the rumour mill spewed false accusations and showed little sympathy for the Ripper’s victims. None of the women were treated as individual victims in death, but were banded together as victims of “an unfortunate class”, which made me angry and incredibly sad. For the first time ever someone has taken the time to share their stories, they are desperately sad and harrowing but at the same time we see them as wife’s, daughters, and mothers, who faced adversary, and poverty, where every day was a struggle for survival, sometimes wrong choices were made, but then the choices these women had were very limited by circumstances.

Helen Rubenhold’s descriptions of a London in 1888 are vividly described, the sounds, the smells, the doss houses, overcrowded slums, the pubs, transport you back to an age where poverty, malnutrition and disease were rife. It’s obvious the author has extensively researched her subject. Although some parts are speculative, she has incorporated as much factual detail where ever possible. I should mention, if you’re expecting gruesome details of the murders of these five women, or another theory to the ripper’s identity then this book won’t be for you. If you are looking for a powerful book, that blends true crime and one that’s rich in historical detail, that gives a voice to #FiveWoman, Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane, then The Five is definitely a book I would recommend.
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