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The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Philip Sugden

British historian-researcher Sugden here presents an exhaustive study of the Whitechapel murders of 1888 (some would say 1888-91) and examines the books by other "Ripperologists" to show that many have been derivative or have succumbed to the mythology … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Philip Sugden
Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers
1 review about The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

Complete history worth buying in any format

  • Sep 13, 2000
This is an unusual Ripper book, one that does not have an axe (or knife in this case) to grind, nor does it have a favorite theory to advance. Following in the steps of Donald Rumbelow's "The Complete Jack the Ripper," Philip Sugden decided to go back to the original source material, plus the packet of material taken from the London police that was mailed back to them in 1987, and recount the history of the case. This he does well, going over the material, the press reports and other writers' theories with a skeptical eye and a fearless passion for the truth. He finds, not surprisingly, that the press reports are extremely inaccurate, that most of the memoirs written by police officials decades after the fact were not to be believed, and that many Ripperologists were either criminally negligent or, at best, unable to see deeply into the evidence and render accurate judgments.

There is some new material here, however, particularly Sugden's researches into the three suspects Sir Melville Macnaghten thought were prime Ripper candidates. At the time of the killings, Macnaghten was assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in charge of CID, but that rank did not spare him from Sugden's dissection of his claims that the Ripper was M.J. Druitt, Kosminski, or Michael Ostrog. By checking out Macnaghten's other claims in his statements, it becomes plain that the old boy had no evidence to back up his charges.

Sugden traces other claims and counterclaims like this, and while he was unable to unmask the Ripper, he does offer a candidate more suitable that Macnaghten's three, and with the help of criminal profiling, suggests a line of investigation that may throw more light on this century-old mystery. If you're unable to plow through the 800-page Ripper book coming up in December, this is the one book to get!

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