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The Five

The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
Narrated by: Louise Brealey
Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
5 out of 5 stars (119 ratings)
Regular price: £34.99
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Summary

Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London - the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper.  

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffeehouses and lived on country estates; they breathed ink dust from printing presses and escaped people traffickers.  

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.  

For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that ‘the Ripper’ preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria but of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time - but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.

©2019 Hallie Rubenhold (P)2019 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

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Brilliant

Absolutely loved this. The lives of the women are so incredibly interesting, and significantly more so than anything I have read about their killer. Would highly recommend!!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic Book

This is such a fantastic book, the story being told is one that everyone needs to know.
It is written in such a way that you can imagine living and breathing in Victorian London on every page.
I will be highly recommending

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Superb

Can’t recommend this highly enough. The factual telling of the stories of these women’s lives and their humanity with such respect, treating them with the dignity they always deserved but, until now, had been denied. A really moving, layered, powerful book. ‬

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Well researched<br />

Much better angle for the common story of violence against women. Very well researched and interesting throughout.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An Insight in to the lives of the poorest women

I downloaded this book with a low expectation, having seen the reviews of some who had been very critical. However from the first moment, I was mesmerised in to a world I knew little about. A world of utter desperation, and hopelessness. A world familiar to the poorest in Victorian society.

The research here is simply astonishing, and the way in which lives have been revived and the tragedy of their tales is breath-taking. Yes there is speculation, and hypotheticals, but these are based on evidence and comparators.

In the course of the book I stopped seeing these canonical five as victims, and began seeing them as women. Women who had been abused, degraded and disposed, both by the Victorians and by contemporary writers ever since. I do doubt these women were prostitutes, but why should that matter - no one should have there life cut short regardless of where one works.

But we continue to abuse these women to this day, in how we think of them, how our language describes them, and who is remembered.

The narration is beautiful, the writing is strong, the story is compelling, but most of all my perspective was changed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Heartbreaking.

A necessary story, beautifully written and performed. For anyone with even a shred of empathy, "The Five" drops us into a world of gut-twisting poverty and shuddering injustice, where women are both heroines and victims. It's a moving story of fragile lives, always a couple of misfortunes away from catastrophe. Well worth the read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Long overdue

An incredible and long overdue telling of these women we only know as victims. At times I wanted to walk away from this book, so tragic are the stories. I’m so glad I didn’t.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The real women behind the tragedy

This is the remarkable story of the women behind the Victorian murders. We’ve seen their faces and the death masks but now we get to glimpse the lives and characters of this appalling tragedy and the lives ruined by a system who cared little for those on the margins of society.

The parallels with the murders of Peter Sutcliffe and the similar language used to segregate the women between “respectable” and “morally loose” the latter (who, presumably, deserved their fate) is obvious. Thank you Hallie Rubenhold for showing us the real women behind the headlines.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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One of the best Ripper related books I’ve listened to

I purchased this book on Audible after returning a book that I didn’t like. And I’m so glad I did. This is a unique Ripper book in as much as it doesn’t go into the gory details of the murders but looks heavily into the lives of the victims and provides some wonderful insights into what life was like for women in that era. It was gripping and had I not had to go to work the next day would of listened in one sitting. It’s really brilliant and thoroughly engrossing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing new angle

Instantly compelling, modern and thought provoking take on the Ripper murders. Meticulously researched: the author presents a wealth of background upon the victims, who are brought back to life and given some dignity. They were dehumanized by a misogynist society, and we've just accepted that version. The case for Annie Chapman's being killed as she slept rather than as a result of soliciting is particularly persuasive. A triumph! (and beautifully and compassionately read as well!)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Debrakluit
  • 24-04-19

Excellent and Emotional

Excellent research work of these five women and an emotional review of a woman's life in the 19th century