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Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son: The Story of the Yorkshire Ripper
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Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son: The Story of the Yorkshire Ripper

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  232 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
It seemed the case of the notorious Yorkshire Ripper was finally closed when Peter Sutcliffe was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1981. But in the early 1980s Gordon Burn spent three years living in Sutcliffe's home town of Bingley, researching his life. A modern classic, Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son offers one of the most penetrating and provocative insights into t ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 4th 2004 by Faber & Faber (first published 1984)
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Jul 04, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
This must be one of the most fascinating and unsettling books I have read. Rather than a 'true crime' book, this is a biography of Peter Sutcliffe, looking at his family, childhood and youth, through his adulthood, crimes and imprisonment. The book in no way dehumanizes Sutcliffe's victims, but what it does do is show us the bizarre way that the Yorkshire Ripper was both a savage killer and the man who visited elderly relatives at Christmas; a man who helped his father and brother rearrange ...more
Apr 25, 2007 Kirsten rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People interested in serial killers

This kind of book isn't to everyone's liking. But if you are interested in the psychology of - or rather the clues allowing you to guess at the psychology of - serial killers / psychopaths etc., then this one is for you!

I find this area fascinating anyway, but Gordon Burn is a very intelligent, sophisticated and careful writer to boot. He manages to convey a sense of pervading menace and darkness in his tone. He also, fundamentally, writes of the people involved in a way that emphasises that th
Apr 20, 2014 Xanthi rated it really liked it
I found this book engrossing. The author gives you a solid feel for the place he wrote about and the era. This book focuses upon who Sutcliffe was, where he lived, what his family and upbringing were like, his social life etc. It gives an account of his life between the murders. The murders themselves and the trial are touched upon, but it is the Yorkshire Ripper's private life that the author focuses upon. I read this book with some morbid curiosity, I guess, though have to point out in no way ...more
Tania M
Mar 06, 2016 Tania M rated it really liked it
Strange writing style but no getting away from the horror of this maniacs behaviour
Apr 19, 2012 Neena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, factual
This book was extremely well-written and informative and without bias either for or against Peter Sutcliffe.
We learn about his childhood, his previous jobs, his deep love for his mother and the women in his family, his love for Sonia (and also how dominant and condescending she was towards him and how she was mentally ill with a real dislike for children despite being a teacher), his love for children and how considerate he would be towards his neighbours .......... but you also learn about his
May 04, 2014 ian rated it it was amazing
The first 50 of so pages, you never really hear about Peter Sutcliffe, it's more to do with his Parents growing up and their upbringing. It's very easy to lose patience. But stick with it, as by learning about life before he was born, it actually sets up the rest of the book perfectly. We don't just get to follow where Sutcliffe went, we see where he came from.

The title is perfect. It really is about a very simple man, it reads just like a biography of your average Joe, but knowing - as I read i
Sep 04, 2016 Jess rated it it was amazing
One of the many books I read during my research into the world of Peter Sutcliffe aka 'The Yorkshire Ripper' for my Masters dissertation. Fascinating, harrowing and deeply unsettling but one of the few books I've read on Sutcliffe where you could really get a feel for who he was. Excellent.
Chris Wright
Mar 19, 2014 Chris Wright rated it really liked it
As much a book about a community at a specific period of time as about the Yorkshire Ripper. One of the few books to give voice to real people and their opinions are laid out in amazing detail. I would think the book would be an eye-opener for those who never come into contact with the sort of people as the Sutcliffes and their friends.

Doesnt really come to any conclusions about Sutcliffe himself. Was he mad,or bad, or is it irrelevant anyway.
Jan 23, 2016 Fishface rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
A well-written, almost novelistic treatment of the Yorkshire Ripper case. Compresses many years of investigation and courtroom procedure into a fairly small, space. This one never drags, but if you've already read WICKED BEYOND BELIEF you already know much more than this version of the story can offer.
Apr 06, 2013 Tracy rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I felt there was too much irrelevant information included. Yes, his childhood is important, but did the author need to include pages and pages of his parents', brothers' and friends' histories?
Oct 14, 2013 Janet rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
A look into the mind of a psychopath. It is very easy reading and thought provoking. It did make me wonder about other prostitute murders such as Mary Judge murdered in 1968 at the time that Peter was having problems with Sonia. But that we will never know! Good book worth a read.
Oct 06, 2008 Melanie rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who like reading about serial killers
If you like this sort of glimpse into the motivation of a serial killer then you might enjoy this one. I read it because I had really enjoyed Happy Like Murderers (not sure enjoyed is the right word) but I felt like I had strayed into that 'true crime' genre. A bit creepy.
Paul E.
Apr 19, 2015 Paul E. rated it really liked it
As with 'Happy Like Murderers', Mr Burn takes a very difficult and real subject and gets the tone just right.
He also understands how to describe an English dialect in a much more appropriate fashion than that written in 'Beyond Belief' about the moors murders.
A great writer.
Angie Rhodes
Aug 06, 2016 Angie Rhodes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Interesting insight into the life and mind of one of the most evil men on Earth. As child he was pathetic and as a man he was a pathetic coward. Not an easy read because of the content but a real page turner, reads like a novel.
Aug 09, 2012 Jacqueline rated it really liked it
This is a spooky read. I grew up afraid of this man in my area and this book paints him as a 'normal' if not eccentric young man. Great book well written as its about HIM.
Feb 12, 2016 A.r. rated it really liked it
Fills in a lot of gaps about Peter's Sutcliffe's childhood and early life which are missing from other books about him. Well worth the read, even for those who have read up on the Yorkshire Ripper.
May 31, 2013 Tallburt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly excellent. The life story of Peter Sutcliffe who happens to be the Yorkshire Ripper and not the other way about.
Camilla Whitehill
Camilla Whitehill rated it it was amazing
Feb 10, 2013
Stuart rated it it was amazing
Jul 25, 2016
Papli rated it it was amazing
Feb 06, 2013
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Mar 05, 2016
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Ross rated it it was ok
Jul 01, 2015
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Riona rated it really liked it
Aug 15, 2008
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Sep 13, 2013
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Stuart rated it it was amazing
Mar 21, 2014
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Gordon Burn was an English writer born in Newcastle upon Tyne and the author of four novels and several works of non-fiction.

Burn's novels deal with issues of modern fame and faded celebrity, as well as life through a media lens. His novel Alma Cogan (1991), which imagined the future life of the British singer Alma Cogan had she not died in the 1960s, won the Whitbread Award for Best First Novel.
More about Gordon Burn...

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