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The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,483 ratings  ·  156 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, New Edition, 532 pages
Published 2006 by Robinson (first published 1994)
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(A) 87% | Extraordinary
Notes: A readable, in-depth, nightmarish account, it’s no less than required reading for the knowledgeable and novice alike.
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
Sep 28, 2007 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
Oct 30, 2012 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
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 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
Aug 10, 2016 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
Jan 12, 2013 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
Stephen Tuck
Mar 04, 2013 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
May 22, 2007 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
Layla Ashby
Very good book full of information a very good read.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this is probably the best book i have ever read about jack the ripper

(i have read a lot of books about jack the ripper)
Sep 25, 2013 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 Jack the Ripper but little about Jack the Ripper himself.

Philip Sugden does a poor job of balancing narrative with raw data and interpretation. Too often, minor details build into larger
Sarah Jane
Jan 29, 2012 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
Dec 20, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, boring
When it comes to Jack the Ripper, it's hard to bore me, but this book was astounding at it.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Los datos, los testimonios, la investigación... en resumen: la realidad. Reconozco que antes de haber leído From Hell hace un par de años mis conocimientos sobre Jack el Destripador eran casi nulos pero hay algo que Sugden en este libro, Moore en el apéndice de su novela gráfica y yo mismo ante el caudal de autores asegurando haber resuelto el misterio afirmamos o podemos afirmar: que la inmensa mayoría de esos autores empiezan sus libros con una teoría ya estructurada y la obra tiende a ser una ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
When I was in London in October, Jack the Ripper's name came up a few times. I realized I didn't know much about him, and so I did what I always do - went looking for a book. After some research, it seemed this was the best place to start, as the author only uses historical sources (rather than other Ripper enthusiasts) and doesn't try to sell the reader his pet theory. And what can I say - that's definitely true.
The book does go fairly into detail, so if you just want a quick and dirty summary
Syeda Sumayya Tariq
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The experts continue to disagree and the jury is still out there."

This truly is the definitive account of jack the ripper, if you think you know it all, you are wrong.
What I especially liked about this book is the dedication of the author to bring out the facts from a layer of fiction that has accumulated over this topic over the years. Detailed witness accounts, precise timings of the incidents, special attention to the victim backgrounds, accompanying controversies and their sources, calling
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Comprehensive and thorough.
Sandeep Ellawala
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
If I do not write in length, anything I write about this book would do unjust to how good and detailed it is. Therefore I would simply say that if you are fascinated as I am of the atrocities that took place in the East London in the Autumn of 1888, and the whole mystery behind Jack the Ripper, this book is a must have. It covers a lot of information based on facts than fantasies woven into this mystery over time.
Holly (The Grimdragon)
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
I visited London recently and did a Jack the Ripper tour. The guide gave the basic historical facts but didn't provide a lot of explanation or analysis, so I wanted to find a comprehensive nonfiction work. Enter Goodreads! Out of the bewildering array of Jack the Ripper fiction and non-fiction listed on here, I settled on this book as it didn't seem to focus so much on all the myths and conspiracy theories that have arisen.

After finishing it, I can say that it is indeed a straightforward, fact-
Mar 22, 2011 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
Aug 29, 2010 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
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
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
Jan 30, 2012 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 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I did a lot of research on Jack the Ripper books before buying one. This one had the best reviews, so I went with it. GREAT decision. This book is amazing. Well written, well researched.... a great account of the horrific acts of the first famous serial killer. I never realized how horrid his slayings were. After reading this book, it is not hard to understand why his infamy has carried on for so long. If you have even the slightest interest in Jack the Ripper or even true crime. Do yourself a f ...more
Sep 29, 2008 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
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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
  • 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 Shocking True Story of America's Most Fiendish Killer
  • 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
Philip Sugden was an English historian, best known for his comprehensive study of the Whitechapel murders, including the books The Complete History of Jack the Ripper, first published in 1994, and The Life and Times of Jack the Ripper (1996). He was the first academic historian to work on the case.

The younger of twin boys, Philip Sugden was born on January 27, 1947 at Hull, where his father was a
“The memories of men are too frail a thread to hang history from.” 2 likes
“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.” 1 likes
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