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The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  1,732 ratings  ·  104 reviews
Adding more new material for his Complete History of Jack the Ripper, crime writer and historian Philip Sugden already has painstakingly uncovered much new and hitherto neglected material, including a new Ripper sighting, a possible earlier assault, and a potential American connection. As noted Ripperologist Dan Farson observes, "This is indeed the ‘definitive account'," f ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published January 21st 2002 by Da Capo Press (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Meaghan
Feb 17, 2010 Meaghan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Riju Ganguly
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
...more
Jim
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
Maryse
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
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:
http://www.epinions.com/review/Philip...
Debra
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
Stephen Tuck
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
...more
Sarah Jane
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
...more
Holly
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
...more
Nicole
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
...more
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
Emily
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
...more
Ryan
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
...more
Caroline
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
Elena
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
Zoe
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
K
Sep 29, 2008 K rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lucynell
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
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.
Elin Nilsson
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
Dana
"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
Shauna Tyndall
I'll start by saying this is not light reading. It is packed with the tiniest of details, things that don't have anything to do with the Ripper case. I, however, like this as it makes that time come alive. It makes it easy to place yourself at the scene.

Author Philip Sugden has done a really good job compiling his information, but at times I got the impression that he maybe looks down a little on people who write fiction about the Ripper. He seems to have a problem with making the facts fit int
...more
John
I read Donald Rumbelow's excellent "Jack the Ripper: Complete Casebook" (and some other not so good ones) many years ago, and having seen the good deal on Sugden's book for Kindle, I thought I'd go back and revisit the east end of London, 1888.

This is a first-rate, no BS account of the Ripper. Most Ripper books are little more than money-making projects by hack writers who claim to have solved the riddle by plugging in some ridiculous candidate. Jack the Ripper was Lewis Carroll!

Don't even get m
...more
Shannon Marshall Lush
By far the most authoritative, sensible, and sobering recounting of the facts of the Jack The Ripper case. No stone is left unturned, no sensational pet theory is explored, just the facts, backed up by the author's meticulous research. Also the most well-written book I have ever read on the case; Sugden's writing style is formal yet plain, and he never tries to dazzle the reader with meaningless phrases. It is clear much time and effort was spent on this book and it is highly recommended.
Nemo Erehwon
I forget which wag said that, after reading each new book on Jack the Ripper he would put it down firmly believing in that person's guilt. Or at least until the next Ripper book came out.
Sugden does not do this. He comes to the field of Ripper-ology as a historian. I believe he even succeeded in finding some police documents which had been lost over the decades. He gives you an amazing sense of time and place, plus an excellent overview of the investigation and each person who was suspected of
...more
Alan
An excellent book for a couple of reasons. First, and foremost, it gives an excellent account of what is actually known about Jack the Ripper, and also discusses what people think they "know". We get a look into the world of 1880's London, into the limitations that the police suffered under, and the poverty that made so many people in the city hard to track down detail about.

Secondly, this book shows how historical revisionism is supposed to work. It goes back to original sources for its foundat
...more
Michael
Als ein erster Einstieg über die Whitchapel Morde ist Sugdens Buch fast ideal.
Er betrachtet die Quellen recht objektiv und wiederlegt den mittlerweile wildesten Verschwörungstheorien logisch und deutlich mit den vorhandenen Beweisen. Dazu schafft er mit den Biographien der Beteiligten (Opfer wie auch Verdächtige und Ermittler) ein gutes Bild des viktorianischen Londons.
Für die Beschreibungen der Morde sollte man sich auf harten Tobak gefasst machen, denn Sudgen geht mit den gerichtsmedizinisch
...more
Sarah
This is an excellent compilation of facts surrounding the Jack the Ripper murders. The author took pains to be impartial and stick to the known and substantiated stories (so much so that in some chapters my mind started to wander), but I do feel that I have a better grasp on knowing what was true and what wasn't. It will be interesting to re-read some of the more sensationalized stories and compare!
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Meticulous, balanced and very readable. No masonic conspiracies and celebrity suspects here - just one of the most reliable and comprehensive surveys of what remains to us as the factual evidence around the Whitechapel muders. Begg has at least one book that is comparable, but lacks the quiet poise of Sudgen's prose.
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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
  • 1888: London Murders in the Year of the Ripper
  • The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper
  • Victorian Murderesses: A True History of Thirteen Respectable French and English Women Accused of Unspeakable Crimes
  • The Family
  • The Victorian Underworld
  • The Italian Boy: A Tale of Murder and Body Snatching in 1830s London
  • The Diary of Jack the Ripper: The Discovery, the Investigation, the Authentication, the Debate
  • London 1849: A Victorian Murder Story
  • Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder
  • Death at the Priory: Love, Sex, and Murder in Victorian England
  • The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders
  • Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original "Psycho"
  • London in the Nineteenth Century: A Human Awful Wonder of God
  • Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders
The Life And Times Of Jack The Ripper Visions from the Fields of Merit: Drawing of Tibet and the Himalayas

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