The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
by Hallie Rubenhold

   This book is the history of the five women killed by Jack the Ripper. It blows away the myth that they were all prostitutes. That was what the London Police wanted the newspapers to report. Reads like fake news in Victorian times. What a surprise!
   The only thing these five women had in common was they were all poor and in the Whitechapel area at the wrong time.  The bodies of four were found in the streets and one was found in her bed. The book does not try to solve the crimes but rather to humanize the five victims, and is a meticulous researched retelling of the women and the brutality to the poor in those times.
   In her own words, author Rubenhold states, “I wish instead to retrace the footsteps of five women. They are worth more to us then the empty human shells we have taken them for.”
   Working-class daughters were considered less important than their brothers. They could never earn the income of a man, therefore their education was less important. Poor women were considered expendable because they could never be considered a family breadwinner. Also, women were to be “sexually pure.” So, the enforced belief that the Ripper only killed prostitutes helped reinforce this moral code.
   By humanizing these five women, this book shows the dirty underbelly of Victorian England.  The dedication of this book is to the memory of these five women.

Click here to contact the review author, Carlton McCaslin.