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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book on the Subject To Date
I've always been fascinated by Jack the Ripper and of the crimes he committed without really knowing anything of the victims or how many he actually killed ...which to this day is still debatable. Having been brought up on seeing various movies claiming to be the definitive version and all varying widely off the mark as I now know, I wanted a factual account of the events...
Published on 24 Sep 2010 by P. Bessant

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3.0 out of 5 stars Complete History of Jack the Ripper
Very detailed history and research- possibly too detailed for the interested reader but a good insight into life in Victorian London.
Published 18 months ago by heather chatten


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book on the Subject To Date, 24 Sep 2010
By 
P. Bessant (Portsmouth UK) - See all my reviews
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I've always been fascinated by Jack the Ripper and of the crimes he committed without really knowing anything of the victims or how many he actually killed ...which to this day is still debatable. Having been brought up on seeing various movies claiming to be the definitive version and all varying widely off the mark as I now know, I wanted a factual account of the events and made this the first book on the subject that I bought (over a year ago now...this is a belated review but allows me to compare it to other books) and it's unquestionably one of the best. The writing is superb and takes you on a mentally stimulating picture of victorian London and of the hardship the residents of the East End had to endure on a daily basis. The facts given about each murder are presented in such a way you will not be able to put the book down - I read the whole thing in two days. Philip Sugden waits until the end to go into who he thinks is the most likely suspect (in his opinion) therefore leaving the rest of the book to present the facts as they should be read allowing the reader to make up his or her own mind. After reading this I think Martha Tabram should be included along with the canonical five and have my own reasons for including her. That's the best thing about this book - everyone will come away with an unbiased opinion of their own based on the facts that this brilliant book places before them. Highly recommended and having bought further books on the subject it remains the most impressive one I've read. It's also one of only a few books that shows a map of the area which you can refer back to; extremely helpful especially when reading about the night of Sept 30th. Why other books fail to include this simple (and obvious) visual reference escapes me - many books say this happened there then he went here via this way before turning up that way and then going back this way and he probably turned into this street without giving the reader any idea of where things were happening. After reading the stories of each victim and feeling that I've got to know a lot about them through the narrative of the book - they were innocent women after all, forced by desperation to walk the streets through no choice of their own just to get a bed for the night, this book shows to the reader the full horror of what Jack the Ripper did (showing photos of the victims taken at the mortuary and in the case of Mary Jane Kelly graphically showing the full savagery of the person the police were dealing with). The fact that nobody to this day knows his identity is just one reason for the continued fascination of something that happened over 120 years ago. If only Albert Cadosch had looked over the fence when he heard that thump history may have been re written.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 7 Feb 2005
By 
S. Lee "sl010c0016" (UK.) - See all my reviews
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If you only ever read one book about the Jack the ripper murders of 1888, make it this one. Even readers that have studied the ripper for years will find new nuggets of information here. Superbly written, it sweeps you along on a tide of facts and theorys, you wont be able to put it down. I can't recommend this book enough, superb.
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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sacred Tome of Ripperology, 30 Nov 2002
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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Having read several books on Jack the Ripper, I can enthusiastically declare Sugden's volume the best of the lot, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, this book is not about "Jack the Ripper" per se, but rather it is about the series of murders in Whitechapel and the ensuing investigation. It is the author's stated goal to present the facts as clearly as can be gleaned from extant police files and press reports of the time (albeit, in the latter case, cautiously and only when information is not available in official form). As other reviewers point out, Sugden is not trying to convince us that his own pet suspect is the Ripper. Whereas most Ripper books begin with a conclusion and are written with the arbitary purpose of convincing us that the author has identified the Ripper, this book actually saves the conclusion to the end. Even that conclusion, however, is not definitive. The author does, in the end, tell us why a certain suspect seems to fit the facts better than other named suspects, but he clearly states that there is no definitive proof as to whether or not that suspect was Jack, and he by no means accuses the man of the crimes. In the same vein, Sugden does not attack other writers in the field. That being said, he does point out flaws and outright mistakes in others' thinking. Even this, it must be said, is done in a noble fashion. Sugden is very determined to dispel a number of myths that have wrongly influenced Ripperology for many years, and his contribution toward this end is the most important contribution he makes. He goes to great lengths to not only point out false "facts" (such as the supposed pregnancy of Mary Kelly, for example, an idea that even Donald Rumbelow accepted when he wrote his Casebook) but to explain where these myths came from and why they were accepted by other writers.
Another wonderful thing about this book is Sugden's treatment of the victims. I must admit that I have always viewed the victims with some detachment--this is surely a personal shortcoming on my part, but it is one that many people may share, especially given that the victims were prostitutes in Victorian London over a century ago. In the pages of this book, though, these poor women actually become real and "human." I feel as if I knew them now, to at least a small degree, and, besides feeling pity and compassion for them, I have discovered that I actually liked a couple of them (especially Annie Camp). These women were not just poor "prostitutes." Other writers have done a good job of explaining the wretched conditions in Whitechapel, but no one else has made that world and its occupants really come alive and real to me before. Sugden deserves much praise for putting so much effort into researching, learning, and telling the true story of these women as comprehensively as possible.
In this book, you will find the most complete, objective story that can be told of the Whitechapel murders. "Facts" you have assumed were true will be brought to light and revealed to be myths. New information, particularly in regard to the victims, will be presented. You will not be shown Jack the Ripper, however. What do the facts tell us about Jack the Ripper? That is the question Sugden poses. He has some ideas, which he shares, but any "answers" to this mystery are ultimately left with the reader.
This book should be required reading for any person even remotely interested in Jack the Ripper. Sugden has written the sacred tome of Ripperology, in my opinion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dear Boss, 1 April 2011
Oh Murder! This is one of the finest and well researched books I have ever read. I had a very basic knowledge of the man they call Jack the Ripper, and being 100 pages from the end of the book I can easily say I need not read another. From the introduction I had complete faith that the author had gone the farthest point that you can, even to find out the most smallest of detail. It must of taken up years of his life and to read it I found an absolute joy. I normally get bored with books quite easily but with this I am glad to say was not the case. Don't go for a Ripper book that the author has his own theory to prove, go for one that just tells you the facts that we have. This book will be read again.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars meticulous balanced account, 10 July 2007
Having read a book on Jack the Ripper by a less competent investigator, of which I have provided a less than complimentary review (see my other Amazon reviews), I was given this book as being the best account of the Ripper facts.

This book is indeed a comprehensive account of the surviving documentary evidence on the Whitechapel murders, starting out with an open, balanced and factual view rather than with a conclusion to be proven.

Sugden chronicles each of the murders in detail, talking a little also of the relevant social factors within the community, as well as the contemporary politics working within and around the investigation. He concludes by providing an interesting analysis of the case against each of the favourite Ripper candidates.

My only criticism of his approach, is that for Ripper amateurs such as myself, who are less familiar with the incidents, it is easy to become lost amongst the facts of different murders. There is little overview of the case and sometimes it becomes difficult to see how the facts are associated to one another, in order to build a case within one's own mind.

Nevertheless, this is an excellent compilation of the facts of the Ripper case. Sugden is balanced and does not resort to grandiose claims of having solved the mystery, instead meticulously tackling the facts on their own merit. Although its strength is in the comprehensive detail, those new to the subject might be wary that this in itself might be a disadvantage to them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Review, 26 Jun 2012
By 
Emile Zola "Leza" (East Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Complete History of Jack the Ripper (Kindle Edition)
I am currently reviewing Jack the Ripper books for my own interest and comparing the differing theories. This one is head and shoulders above the rest. Excellent research work, has hunted things out, not just used popular views. Using the available facts and paperwork which others have missed, has worked out possibilities which, although theory, are very thought provoking. A very honest piece of work, makes you realise the flaws in others. I think personally that the bottom line is that the identity of Jack the Ripper will never be confirmed but this writer's opinion is far more valid than any others I've read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass in detective work., 24 Jun 2012
By 
N. R. Punchard (Gateshead, UK) - See all my reviews
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It would be difficult to imagine a better account of the gruesome murders that horrified London in 1888. The author has performed a superlative feat of fact discovery and myth debunking. So much drivel has been written and spoken about what happened and who might have done it. Read this impeccably researched and extensively noted book and form your own opinion!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't be better, 12 Mar 2003
This is my first Ripper book, and I am not sure I'm going to read any others - this book simply seems to have included all the facts about the murders, the victims, witnesses, etc. and it completely lacks the unfounded speculation which is rumoured to be caracteristic of most other works about the Ripper. The book has been massively researched, and no claims are made without reference(s) to the source(s) used.
If you're seriously interested in studying the Ripper murders this book is a must!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic historical account of the Ripper murders, 8 Feb 2006
I actually bought this book because of the reviews of fellow customers and those reviews were indeed proved right. A fantastic read that I couldn't put down, even on a sunny holiday in Florida. It tells of the murders attributed to the Ripper as well as those disputed of.
The great thing about the book is that it never presumes to name a suspect as the Ripper, instead weighing up the evidence of all the suspects and doing its best to pronounce them unlikely or likely candidates. It never veers from the facts either and fully investigates other authors' theories of the murders.
The book's greatest asset is the actual series of crimes itself - this stuff could never be made up, especially the stories of the possible sightings of the Ripper. And in conclusion the book left me very frustrated. Not because of its content - it is excellently written - but because the simple fact is, there has never been any definitive evidence that one person was actually the Ripper and we are unlikely to ever be able to pronounce somebody as that man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!!, 10 Oct 2012
As someone new to Ripperology, i was advised to read this book as it is widely regarded as one of the best out there.
I was not disappointed!
It really is an enthralling read and i spent most of my spare time reading it.It is so well written and will keep you interested till the end.The author doesn't give an opinion on who he thinks is Jack The Ripper but he gives you all the information and history and the reader can make his/her own opinions based on the facts.
I highly recommended this book to anyone interested in the Whitechapel murders.
You wont be disappointed!
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