The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apr 9, 2019 - Biography & Autobiography - 333 pages
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 coffee houses, 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 werein the wrong place at the wrong time--but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.

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The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Social historian Rubenhold (The Covent Garden Ladies) more than justifies another book about the 1888 Jack the Ripper murders by focusing on the killer’s five victims: Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman ... Read full review

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

User Review  - Book Verdict

Debates have long raged about Jack the Ripper's identity, but what about the identity of his victims? A social historian and historical fiction writer, Rubenhold reveals that they were not prostitutes ... Read full review


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About the author (2019)

HALLIE RUBENHOLD, a social historian and frequent consultant for period dramas, is the author of The Covent Garden Ladies, the inspiration for the Hulu series Harlots, and The Scandalous Lady W. She is also the author of the historical novels Mistress of My Fate and The French Lesson.

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