Bringing The Women To Life
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold is a comprehensive look at the five victims of Jack the Ripper during the ‘autumn of terror’ in 1888.
Hallie Rubenhold has brought the women to life as she has examined their lives from birth onwards and presented her findings. The women were so much more than just the Ripper’s victims. They were wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.
We hear so much speculation about Jack the Ripper but we largely forget about his victims, lumping them together as women of the night, drunkards, living in poverty. And yes, while some of these labels may apply, we must remember that these victims were women first. Yes they did live in poverty but so did millions of others. Yes, drink was a problem in the nineteenth century and yes they may have turned to prostitution as a means to survive but that is no reason to kill them. These women were victims of circumstance, living in poverty, doing what they had to, to survive. They did not deserve to have their lives snuffed out.
I found the book fascinating. It was good to get to know the women, so they are more than just a collection of names. I can thoroughly recommend The Five.
As an aside: I was amazed to see my ancestor on my Dad’s side mentioned on p.245- 246 – William Perry, the Tipton Slasher and bare knuckle champion of all England – and my great great grandfather’s brother.