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Old January 2nd, 2015, 04:58 PM   #1
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Default January 2015

Have just finshed Peter Stubley's 1888, London murders in the year of the ripper.

I enjoyed this a fair bit. I'm sure I've read ( a few times! ) that there were no other murders in London in 1888. Peter Stubley puts that myth firmly to bed.

A well structured and well presented book, this details numerous different types of murders/manslaughters in the year. The differing crimes are split into chapters covering mainly infanticide, domestic/spousal killings, drunken brawls/fights and so on.

An excellent overview of aspects of life circa 1888, and also offers insights into how such crimes were reported (by the public to police, and also by the press) as well as how such crimes were commonly perceived, and also basic workings of the criminal system.

Was a little surprised to see a chapter on "the unfortunates" which gave a fairly (to the initiated) limited overview of the canonicals, plus a mention of Smith, Tabram & Mylett. As is being discussed elsewhere, this is a strange chapter, as it is a little too basic, plus is a repetition of summaries available & read repeatedly.

Overall though, this is an engaging read, and a very useful book for embellishing social aspects of LVP life, and covering how many would have experienced the year living in London.

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Old January 2nd, 2015, 05:20 PM   #2
Cris Malone
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Just finished this book myself. I agree with you about "the Unfortunates" chapter. Kind of unwittingly - I presumed - proved the point about how unique the Whitechapel murders were in relation to the other unnatural deaths that occurred in 1888.
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Cris Malone
"Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 08:50 PM   #3
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I've had this book a year or so, and it's pretty damned good...history presented in a particularly readable form without too much "dumbing-down"...In my humble opinion it (purely incidentally) demonstrates that knife-crime wasn't as rare in the late 1880s as is sometimes claimed


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Old January 17th, 2015, 01:31 PM   #4
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January 2015 #2

Have just finished William Beadle's Jack the Ripper Anatomy of a Myth

Obviously a pre-cursor to "unmasked", Beadle here introduces William Bury as his JtR.

Anatomy is a pretty well written book. Beadle initially gives an introduction to the murders. There are a few interesting aspects to this. I appreciate how his writing style is favourable to the victims. I appreciated several points which Beadle makes that highlight how the victims have been historically blamed, or spoken lowly of. In example, he points out how many victims are labelled as problem drinkers or worse, being the cause of the breakdown of their relationships/marriages, yet contrasts this with how Chapmans husband dies of liver cirrhosis in the early 1880's.

I was interested to read also of his fairly favourable/liberal treatment of Matthew Packer & his associated testimoy(ies) of 30 Sept. Beadle is a lot more favourable of Packer than many other researchers, and my own personal perspective.

Bury is a suspect of interest to me, and I also enjoyed the aforementioned unmasked, as well as Euan Macphearsons book on Bury. I definitely feel Bury warrants further investigation. Indeed, this appears to have merit, given following this book the 2 further publications came forward. On this book alone, I felt a lot more needed to be said regarding Bury and his potential candidacy. Interested readers can gather much more by reading the additional 2 books, both of which contain a lot more detail on Bury and his potential links to Whitechapel and the murders.

The one criticism I'd offer, is how Beadle makes numerous very valid critiques of previous studies, yet appears to lay out his theory in a very similar style, carefully selecting and promoting very suitable supporting evidence, whilst significantly downplaying other contradictory (for example) eye witness reports. There are times in the book where Beadle rests contentions based on eye witnesses, but other occasions he notes how mistaken eye witness reports can frequently be, & cannot be relied on. In fairness however, Beadle does put forward (albeit very briefly here) other circumstantial potential evidence.

Not an essential read, as the other 2 books are more comprehensive. However had I read the books chronologically, Anatomy would certainly have made me want to read more about Bury, find further details. Beadle has a good writing style which encourages the reader to continue, and would have definitely made me purchase Unmasked subsequently.

I'd definitely encourage interested readers to invest in MacPhearsons book as well as Unmasked. I do feel Bury has something to him.
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