Most helpful critical review
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So so book about Spitalfields
on 19 July 2009
This book is about Spitalfields with a focus on Dorset Street rather than being about Dorset Street per se. If you have never read anything about Spitalfields this is quite a good introduction but if you are looking for a specialist study of Dorset Street this is not the book for you.
At times the book feels padded. That an inhabitant of Dorset Street might be involved in criminality leads to a lengthy description of 18th century justice, Newgate, the Hulks and Transportation to Australia.
Its best when describing actualities, real Dorset Street residents, actual lodging houses and the murderous crimes associated with the area.
Its generally well written, quite interesting and reasonably well researched but adds little if you have read other books on the area or Jack the Ripper.
I was amused that another reviewer described it as an academic work. It is not (nor does it claim to be) but instead its a fairly good introduction to the area and a reasonably entertaining read. That it has an introduction by Peter Ackroyd might mislead some in to thinking its on similar level to his own work. However compared to his high standard this falls somewhat short.
Recommended provided you don't set your expectations too high.