Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Complete History of Jack the Ripper” as Want to Read:
The Complete History of Jack the Ripper
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  2,106 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
A comprehensive account of London's celebrated East End killer, revised and updated. The murders in London between 1888-91 attributed to Jack the Ripper constitute one of the most mysterious unsolved criminal cases. This story is the result of many years meticulous research. The author reassesses all the evidence and challenges everything we thought we knew about the Victo ...more
Paperback, 532 pages
Published 2006 by Robinson (first published 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Complete History of Jack the Ripper, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleTrue Hollywood Noir by Dina Di Mambro
Best True Crime
72nd out of 671 books — 1,065 voters
In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonTrue Hollywood Noir by Dina Di Mambro
True Crime
43rd out of 431 books — 543 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
Is there anything new to say about Jack the Ripper and the infamous 1888 Whitechapel Murders? Well, yes, there is, and Philip Sugden has said it. Most Ripper books suffer from two principle weaknesses: first, they set out to make a case for a favoured and predetermined suspect, and second, they exist in a close, almost incestuous relationship one with the other. That is to say that they are secondary works based on secondary works, which means that when errors appear they are rarely questioned, ...more
Feb 17, 2010 Meaghan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ripperologists and history buffs
If you are interested in Jack the Ripper but don't have the time to wade through all the material on him, just read this book. It's a comprehensive study of the Ripper murders and the best book written on the subject, in my opinion. Sugden is one of the few Ripperologists who is also a trained historian, and he puts his skills to good work here, dissecting the available evidence. Also, unlike many other Ripper writers, he's not trying to propogate one "solution" theory or another -- he simply pr ...more
Rebecca Huston
A very complete, through look at what is actually known about Jack the Ripper and his victims. While the text does get rather dry in spots, it is very well written and escapes the sensationalism so prevalent in Ripperology. If you want to know the facts, this is a great book to find them in.

For the longer review, please go here:
Riju Ganguly
Sep 01, 2011 Riju Ganguly rated it it was amazing
First let me state the categories of people who should (please note the emphasis) study (not 'read') this book: -
1. Anybody who is interested in the any or all of the following: the Whitechapel killings, the subsequent frenzy, investigation into the murders, armchair investigations by "Mycroft" wannabes, and the literally literary witch-hunt being carried out over the past century & more to "unmask" the killer;
2. Anybody who is interested in understanding the socio-economic dynamics of the w
Jan 12, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing
I have seen this book hailed far and wide since it first appeared in 1995, and having just read the latest edition (Carroll & Graf/Robinson Publishing, 2002), I must side with those who call this the best book on the subject. Sugden has examined all of the available primary materials himself, uncovering some material that had hitherto been overlooked. As a result, his analysis of possible suspects, the number of murders that can be reasonably claimed for "Jack", and the reliability of severa ...more
Jun 13, 2013 Debra rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books on the History the Whitechapel Murders that I have ever read. If you are interested in Jack the Ripper. This is the book for you. The author is a historian and you can tell how much research and knowledge went into this book. I also like that this book did not take a stance on who was the killer. So many Jack the Ripper books make a case for who the author "thinks" was the killer. I like that this book, instead, focuses on the Whitechapel Murders. It gives lots of d ...more
May 04, 2008 Maryse rated it really liked it
This book nearly exhausts everything history can give about Jack the Ripper and it pays off. There aren't any strange, over the top theories about who Ripper was, instead he presents historic archives as evidence, gives you a possible suspect list and lets you decide which to believe. There are no straight answers, but he does debate on some of the popular theories. It gets rather confusing though when you read other Ripper books or watch Ripper movies or documentaries because they all start con ...more
Stephen Tuck
Mar 04, 2013 Stephen Tuck rated it it was amazing
So many pot-boiler books have been written on the Ripper murders, it seems best to point out one that is actually worth reading.

Sugden's book is unusual, inasmuch as he has no solution to offer and no murderer to finger. He does give convincing reasons why the three lead suspects for one reason or another don't fit the bill as the offender, and concedes that "there is every possibility that the man the Victorians called 'the master murderer of the age' was in reality a complete nobody whose name
Sarah Jane
Mar 08, 2012 Sarah Jane rated it liked it
Not the best written, or indeed the best researched of all the Jack the Ripper books out there, but by no means the worst either. The text is a bit out of date now, and despite my having the 'new revised' edition, I didn't encounter any new theories.

What it is, is a reasonably good summary of the case, with a fairly interesting look at four key suspects.The author appears to have done little primary research of his own, but does do a credible job of collating the research of others, and is excel
I've always wanted to read a book which gave all the true informations about the Whitechapel murders just for the sake of it, and not for using them to sustain a highly unrealistic theory. This book is completely objective, it only tells the truth. It has everything one wants to know about Jack the Ripper, and I mean literally everything: it is absolutely objective and accurate and yet easy to follow and not boring at all. I liked how in the last part the author considered the most likely suspec ...more
Holly the Infinite Book Dragon
The Victorian murderer who slew a handful of women in London's East End has become a worldwide symbol of terror, his fame celebrated in story and song, on the stage and on film, in art and in opera, his tale told in languages as diverse as English and Russian, Spanish and Swedish, German and Japanese. Robert Bloch, the American author of Psycho, has said that Jack the Ripper belongs to the world as surely as Shakespeare. It is not an undue exaggeration.

We've all heard of Jack the Ripper. I becam
Jul 30, 2016 Nicole rated it it was amazing
This was my, well frankly I don't know it anymore, I guess my fith or sixth book about the subject. And it took me very long ( ok I have to admit,I had a long break till I re-start reading).
And the book was in English with almost 600pages ;)
It is a full comprehended , well written book about all the facts regarding the Ripper.
For me till now the most accurate look at the facts and mythology surrounding the case.
For me it seems extraordinarily well researched ( but ok I'm no expert here at all, I
Amy Sturgis
Philip Sugden's The Complete History of Jack the Ripper is widely considered to be the best single-volume history of the Whitechapel murders, and with good reason. Sugden is not only intimately familiar with the details of the case thanks to his own painstaking personal research (some of which is presented here for the first time), but he's also conversant with the many works that preceded his study. As he recounts those facts we know and those bits of contemporary evidence that contradict each ...more
Oct 02, 2011 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be very informative! Everything, literally everything, that you would ever care to know (and in some cases, not know) about the Whitechapel murders and their subsequent investigations. Sugden has put a lot of time and effort into researching this dark period of Victorian England history and it shows.

I loved that Sugden included the biographies of each of the five canonical murders, as well as the biographies of three more women who may or may not have been victims of Jack th
Sep 26, 2013 Ryan rated it it was ok
Academic in detail and intent yet sadly, also in style. This is a "complete history" that barely recreates the milieu of Victorian London. The author instead immerses hapless readers in competing theories of Jack the Ripper's identity, which means that you will read a lot about other strange men who write about the Jack the Ripper but little about the Jack the Ripper himself.

This occurs because Sugden does a poor job of balancing narrative with raw data and interpretation. Too often, minor deta
Oct 28, 2014 Caroline rated it really liked it
I have read and reviewed this book before, but's one of the best general-purpose introductions to the Ripper murders out there and worth a re-read. It's a little dated by now, originally published in 1994, but I'd definitely recommend it still. It doesn't try to push a particular angle or suspect; the author doesn't have a pet theory involving disgraced royalty, Freemason conspiracies, deranged physicians or the like - he just summarises the material available on the case, relies on written reco ...more
Feb 12, 2012 Zoe rated it it was amazing
I have read dozens of books on Jack the Ripper over the years, and this is by far the best. Philip Sugden refutes many of the myths surrounding the Whitechapel murders and uses primary sources to find out the facts. His research goes further than any other ripperologist and I found out many new things about the case, which I didn't think possible considering how many JTR books I have read. In terms of the suspects, he covers the original three that the police suspected of the murders, but few ot ...more
Sep 29, 2008 K rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in crime.
I had always been interested in Jack the Ripper, but never quite knew everything (or almost everything) there was to know about the cases. Such a gruesome true-story in which the killer was never identified. It's creepy to think that this man roamed the streets as a "free being," then passed, never receiving his punishment.

I believe that Jack the Ripper is one of the top most infamous and well-known murderers ever known. The book is an excellent read, and had me a little scared at times reading
David Fulmer
Aug 01, 2016 David Fulmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a murder by murder and suspect by suspect history of the Jack the Ripper killings in the London East End of Victorian England. Philip Sugden has squeezed every bit of information possible out of newspaper accounts, existing police files, memoirs, magazine articles and even letters of Queen Victoria to present an account of these famous killings which is as factual and free of speculation as is now possible. He is Sherlock Holmes-like in his efforts and does not ignore the crazy or sober ...more
Lucy Troke
Jun 28, 2016 Lucy Troke rated it it was amazing
I cant give this book a high enough rating..! every topic or book genre has the best.. Elvis has Peter Guralnick and J.F.Kenndy has Thomas C. Reeves and now ripper has this amazing book by a brill author. I love how anyone can pick it up and learn about ripper and i also love how he references other books and sources, some authors don't do that. they sometimes like to stand alone... i very really fall in love with a book, i find it hard to concentrate and read it through and i was intimidated by ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Lucynell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-highlights
Don't let the unimaginative title put you off. The title and the whole book is a full-on attack on the long-established on-going sensationalization of Jack the Ripper. The author is amusingly insulted by the barrage of inconsistencies, mistakes and downright lies that overflow the market and uses facts drawn from original contemporary documents and primary sources instead to show that the most infamous serial killer case yet hardly needs any added myths to baffle and amaze. This is widely consid ...more
Annette Hart
Sep 23, 2009 Annette Hart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Really enjoyed this book as a fairly objective view of the evidence. He puts forward what was known and looks at theories without espousing one himself. Interesting to read something about the victims' life, not just their deaths.
Rolls Eyes
Apr 27, 2016 Rolls Eyes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without doubt the most comprehensive and unbiased study on the Whitechapel murders that has been printed so far, probably.

Sugden is meticulous in his research and referencing. And because of this, he's managed to produce a body of work that comes across as unbiased, fair, accurate and, above all, objective. The Ripper's legend has been smudged over the years, and Sugden certainly manages to clean the lens and refocus on the facts. Which manages to draw genuine accounts from what is known and do
Suzana Thompson
Jan 05, 2016 Suzana Thompson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is astonishingly thorough. The author did exhaustive research on the unsolved cases attributed to Jack the Ripper. Because this infamous killer has reached mythic status in the media, there are many misconceptions about him. Philip Sugden set out to separate fact from fiction, and he did an admirable job. He presents each case in detail and gives background information on all the victims. He also researched all the known suspects objectively. The book is everything that an investigation sho ...more
Apr 17, 2016 mdmcreative rated it it was amazing
Great Book!
Sugden's book does not go forward with the intention to prove who Jack The Ripper was, but rather he goes back to all the primary evidence and re-examines all that we think we know about the case.
Many of the theories through the years have made outrageous claims and based evidence on other inaccurate books or hearsay.
Sudgen's goes to Scotland Yard Archives and Newspapers and actual crime scene accounts amongst other things to form his opinions. He makes no claims to the identity but
Aug 10, 2016 Cody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most comprehensive and best documented account of the Ripper murders ever written. Such is written on the back of this book and I am inclined to agree fully with it's statement. Philip Sugden has done a tremendous justice to presenting the account of the infamous 1888 Whitechapel murders, not only setting the standard tome for the historical account but wading through the vast conspiracies, theories, and misconceptions many have put forth in regards to it. It contains no personal bias toward ...more
4.25 stars

Philip Sugden takes a very in-depth look at the Jack the Ripper case, when at least four, and possibly up to nine, women were brutally murdered by him in the East Side of London in 1888. What sets this book apart is that he is attempting (as much as he possibly can) to use only primary sources. There have been a lot of books written with errors, and those errors tend to be repeated in later books, and Sugden was trying to avoid that.

I was impressed that he stuck with the primary sourc
Katherine Addison
This is the best book on Jack the Ripper I have read. Sugden can lay out a clear, coherent narrative of what we know about each crime, he is adamant about relying on primary sources, and when he doesn't know something, he says so flat out. He treats everything we "know" about the identity of Jack the Ripper with rigorous skepticism (including, thank goodness, the claims of Sir Robert Anderson that seem to have hypnotized so many Ripper historians), and the only time I caught him yearning, like a ...more
Elin Nilsson
Nov 11, 2014 Elin Nilsson rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2014
I've always had a thing for Jack the Ripper. Like a fascination with his story. I'm not fascinated by the murders (I'm not that guy), but by everything surrounding it, and the legend that grew from the fact that they never caught him. I had my own theory about why - they were all so focused on the fact that it was a man that they never looked for the possibility that it might be a woman and thus she walked free. A woman, maybe a prostitue herself, could've been around the victims without arousin ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Dana rated it really liked it
"The Complete History Of Jack The Ripper" was a fascinating look at everything related to the horrific murders attributable to Jack the Ripper. Over one hundred years later, the legend of Jack the Ripper is still as perplexing as it was in the days when mutilated bodies kept turning up in the London area, Whitehall. I've always been intrigued by the facts surrounding what many claim is the first serial killer. What was so fascinating about this book was how the author looked at each murder from ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Page Numbers missing 4 44 Jan 30, 2012 03:47PM  
  • The Complete Jack the Ripper
  • The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion
  • Jack the Ripper: The Casebook
  • Jack the Ripper: The Facts
  • The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper
  • The Jack the Ripper A to Z
  • 1888: London Murders in the Year of the Ripper
  • Jack the Ripper: A Journal of the Whitechapel Murders 1888-1889
  • Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution
  • Death at the Priory: Love, Sex, and Murder in Victorian England
  • London 1849: A Victorian Murder Story
  • Jack the Ripper and Black Magic: Victorian Conspiracy Theories, Secret Societies and the Supernatural Mystique of the Whitechapel Murders
  • The Diary of Jack the Ripper: The Discovery, the Investigation, the Authentication, the Debate
  • The Family
  • Deranged
  • The Victorian Underworld
  • Victorian Murderesses: A True History of Thirteen Respectable French and English Women Accused of Unspeakable Crimes
  • London in the Nineteenth Century: A Human Awful Wonder of God

Share This Book

“The sergeant knocked up Mrs Green, who lived at New Cottage, the house immediately to the east of the gateway, but she too had heard no disturbance.” 0 likes
“The memories of men are too frail a thread to hang history from.” 0 likes
More quotes…