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4.1 out of 5 stars
Jack the Ripper:  The Simple Truth
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2011
After developing a morbid fascination with the infamous Victorian serial killer, I searched Amazon for a detailed and authoritative account of Jack the Ripper's dispicable crimes during that Autumn of 1888. I came upon this book, noticed the positive reviews and unadorned title and decided to give it a go.

Overall, I was content with the purchase. Paley has, it seems, pinned the crime on a single man (who I won't name, although he is revealed almost straight away) rather than offering up a checklist of likely suspects, and his book lays out the facts as he sees them, convinced that only one man fits the bill of a killer.

And the argument he gives us is, it must be said, convincing. In fact, after finishing the book I'm baffled as to how the man in question was overlooked by the police, overly keen as they were to collar the Ripper. Also, the descriptions Paley gives us of the dirt-filled, disease-ridden East End of London are vividly effected.

So, why just three stars? Two reasons, really. The first is the endless, unforgiveable stream of mistakes and misprints. These aren't, of course, attributable to Paley's lack of skill with words, but more just what seems to be a lack of effective proofreading. I read the kindle edition, and on occasions there were five or six faults on a single page, from words bunched together to form one beffudling whole to misspelt words to symbols added in sentences for no apparent reason other than sloppy editing.

The second reason is the tunnel-visioned approach to the subject matter. I, mistakenly, took this book to be an all-encompassing tome on Jack the Ripper, every aspect of the case explored. In many ways it was, but its insistance that only one man could be the killer detracts from other aspects of the case, so much so that once I'd finished I felt a trifle short-changed. For instance, a further look into other possible suspects would have been welcomed. If you're looking for a complete history of the killer, you may need to try elswhere.

Overall, Paley has created a readable, even page-turning, account of Jack the Ripper and his victims, replete with colourful depictions of the grime-strewn existence that was life in the Victorian East End. At the heart of the book is Paley's unshakeable belief in the true identity of the killer, a belief you, as I, may well come round to sharing with him.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2001
As an amateur "ripperologist" I've read just about every other book out there.Most of them have been entertaining.Many have been ingenious.With hindsight not many have ended the readers search for the identity of Jack the Ripper.After reading Paleys version of events all the other theories have, for me ,been made redundant.Paley lays out his evidence in a clear methodical style.He employs techniques used by renowned criminal profilers such as Robert Ressler and John Douglas, both former members of the FBI's behavioural science unit.After building the atmosphere of Londons squalid east end during the Victorian era,Paley directs you toward the welter of evidence against his suspect.No fairy stories here.No comfort for any closet "conspiracy theorists" just hard evidence,common sense and good detective work.If you buy this book you've bought the best.Other than for light entertainment you can forget the rest !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2012
As others have already mentioned - and the official blurb explains - this book is a tour de force of information and insight. It is written with an easy style which does indeed draw the reader in to that fateful autumn of 1888.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the locations and characters involved - but then something has to balance the sheer horror of the crimes perpetrated. It's all too easy to forget that this is real-life. Just because the events were over one hundred and twenty years ago doesn't mean it wasn't an absolutely abominable series of murders. There aren't many photos in this particular book but if you've seen any from other sources, they break your heart.

As to the author's prime suspect. I (dare I say this?) wasn't totally convinced. However, what do I know? I've only read a couple of books - and this is the second. With a project like this, probing so far back in time, finding convincing clues is like grabbing the soap at the bottom of the bath. I have to be sensible and admit that someone committed these crimes, someone who had to know the area well, but for reasons I'm sure can easily be shouted down I didn't read anything which made me go with the theory completely. Psychological profiling is one thing but we've only developed this skill in recent years with recent morals and mores. Human nature may not actually change much but environments and reactions to them do.

What I've noticed in my short association with Ripper books is that quite a few start with a premise and go flat out to prove it. Others range over the whole field and try to come to a conclusion. This book is in the former category.

My comments though, aren't intended to denigrate. This book really is a marvellous evocation of the area and era. If paints a picture of life in the East End of London that appalls and saddens. It is excellently researched with full bibliography and footnotes and as Colin Wilson says in his foreword is to be a recommended read without hesitation.

The Kindle version, which I have, was a sad specimen of conversion from paper to eBook. Thankfully it was a lot cheaper than the printed version - which I hope fared a lot better! The scanning and OCR of the original started-off well with few errors but at about the fifty-percent stage was sometimes very hard to make sense of. Clearly the process was automated and no-one checked the results.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2013
There is a jump to conclusions with little proof - however the central idea that Jack the Ripper lived and worked locally, and was known in the area and therefore "invivible" as a suspect, seems to be ignored in all other candidates. The fact that he was ignored despite his relationship with Mary Kelly also is strange - a porter from Billingsgate with presumably rudimentary knife skills. The psychopathic tendency due to his troubled upbringing would not have been known about. But circumstantially he should have been a suspect - but we did not know then what we know now.

So a strong suspect in at least one murder - the most savage which would indicate rage. Yes its a good theory and probably one of the best ones - the lack of evidence is due to time.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2007
I have no less than 15 books on this subject and Bruce Paley's book is the best.
His theories are sound and backed up with terrific evidence, including the first FBI profiling of the murderer.
I would recommend anyone to buy this book, don't even bother with anything else, this is the book to own!

PS. Colin Wilson's foreword is nothing more than an advert for his own book, which is rubbish, so dont even bother reading it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2015
This is a good book with a very plausible solution as to the identity of Jack The Ripper. However I could not believe the number of typo errors! Hardly a page without errors - words strung together without gaps between, random symbols and punctuation marks throughout, etc. I assume the software used to convert the book is at fault - a shame as it spoilt this for me.
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on 28 December 2012
An absolutely fascinating book. Well written and fast-paced, I couldn't put it down. The author's suspect is revealed from the first page and the case he makes against him is very convincing and well-argued. The book is also packed with interesting historical insights into life in the East End at the time of the ripper murders.

It's a five star book but I've reduced this to four stars because I got the Kindle version which is literally riddled with errors on every single page. If you want to enjoy this excellent read, please DO NOT BUY the Kindle version! The pictures are so poorly rendered that they are pointless and you will find the spelling and grammatical errors incredibly frustrating as they continually break the flow of reading.

I'd highly recommend this title but only in the print version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2011
My favorite book about Jack The Ripper in which a suspect is put forward. Very convincing and very well researched. Reading this book made Joseph Barnett my prime suspect of being Jack The Ripper.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2014
Interesting read - but I would've thought someone could have at least proof read it, The numerous spelling, punctuality and layout errors is tedious in the extreme.
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on 17 May 2013
I've read lots of books about jack the ripper, and this one is great read. It's good to put your feet up, and read a good book, especially one about the most infamous serial killer of all time. London in 1888 sounded creepy, the gas lit streets and smog, and to make matters worse a madman was stalking the streets of London in search of his victims. Any book about the ripper fascinates and this one is very intriguing too. There's some good authors out there, and lots of us are fascinated in the Jack the ripper books, so keep them coming!!!!
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