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Old December 22nd, 2013, 09:20 AM   #1
Howard Brown
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Default January 2014

Thread for the reader to provide their review of a recently read book....
Preferably Ripper or Victorian related.....
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Old January 5th, 2014, 01:29 PM   #2
Lemonjelly
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A very brief review of Begg & Bennett's "The complete & essential..."

First off - a penguin. This suggests a worthy book.
This is backed up by the history/previous output of the 2 authors.

Part one gives an overview of the whitechapel murders. Brief, and to the point. No over egging or sensationalism here.

This is followed by aftermath, suspects etc. A good section of the book, as there are some very simple explanations exonerating certain alleged suspects.

Finally, an examination of the growth of the public perception of the myths surrounding JtR.

A very accessible book. Enjoyable, not too taxing, plenty of detail. In some ways, the stereotypical book for the 125 anniversary.

If I were to offer criticisms of the book, it would be that so much could have been expanded on. However it is very likely that had the authors done so, they could have left themselves open to accusations of repeating their previous work. Specifically, Mr Begg's "The Facts", & Mr Bennett's "The Making Of The Myth" - both of which are excellent books already in my collection.

In short, as an introduction to the case, an excellent taster for the uninitiated. It is still a good read for experienced students, mainly for how the authors deal with their discussion of the suspects. In particular their call for further research on "newer" suspects such as Le Grand & Lechmere.

What it does remind me however, is what an excellent book Making of The Myth really is. I have seen discussion regarding this section of the book. I recall posting after reading it what an excellent & enjoyable book "Myth..." is. This edited highlights version is good, however it also highlights what an excellent book loads of people are missing out on.
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Old January 5th, 2014, 01:42 PM   #3
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Well done, Lemon !
Thanks very much for providing the review.
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Old January 24th, 2014, 07:11 AM   #4
Lemonjelly
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I've just completed Don Rumbelow's updated book.

Spoiler alert for those who've not yet read!

Don's updating of his work is definitely a worthwhile task. There are some quite interesting amendments he has made to the book. He mentions 2 of these in his new preface - firstly, he acknowledges that his preferred suspect of Timothy Donovan appears to be no longer viable. 2nd, he puts forward the case that Stride is not a ripper victim.

Onto the book as a whole. The chapters/outline of the book are pretty similar. Coverage of the events of 1888 are pretty good - occasionally I was left wanting of a little more detail, but readers can be greedy. The sections up to & including Millers Court are very good indeed. Don puts forward a very reasonable rationale for the exclusion of Stride (his description of the Stride build up is amongst one of the best imo). The chapters Double Event & Millers Court are essential reading.

There are several sections in the book where Don (rightly imo) reminds the reader of his contributions to the case in saving valuable documentation/photographs - an acknowledgement he deserves.

I was struck by how Damning Don is of SCW regarding the erasure of the GSG. It has appeared to myself that in recent times there has been sympathy for SCW & his reasoning for erasing the GSG. Don is positively damning in the wrong-ness of this decision.

I was surprised by the very small bibliography, & the lack of notes in the text. This did lead to a few moments of frustration, namely:

There is reference to "War on Warren" by one of the papers, & II'd like to get more information on this. Don references this twice, but there are no reference notes.

In Millers court, Don states that Astrakhan man was identified & eliminated from investigations. Really? I cannot recall ever reading such a statement before? Can anyone verify?

On the downside, I think that the amount of detail in Beyond the Grave on other killers is too much - I'd have preferred these pages dealt more with 1888 than subsequent killers. These pages could have been condensed by 30+ to make the points I suspect Don was looking to make.

I'd have loved him to have included a section on Donovan in the suspects chapter, detailing why he was a favoured suspect, and also why he has fallen out of favour too.

There are a couple of elements of repetition in the book (he makes the same reference to Kurten twice for example). & he refers to only 1 website (but doesn't name it).
Up to the last 2 chapters however, the book is still a fine read. Still very worthwhile getting, but it has left me wanting a couple of answers still...
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Old January 24th, 2014, 07:54 AM   #5
Lynn Cates
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Hello Lemon. Thanks for this.

Interesting take on Liz.

Cheers.
LC
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Old January 24th, 2014, 01:18 PM   #6
Chris G.
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Hi Lemonjelly

Many thanks for your review of Don Rumbelow's updated book.

A couple of points re aspects touched upon in your review --

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonjelly View Post
In Millers court, Don states that Astrakhan man was identified & eliminated from investigations. Really? I cannot recall ever reading such a statement before? Can anyone verify?
Not as far as I know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonjelly View Post
On the downside, I think that the amount of detail in Beyond the Grave on other killers is too much - I'd have preferred these pages dealt more with 1888 than subsequent killers. These pages could have been condensed by 30+ to make the points I suspect Don was looking to make.

I'd have loved him to have included a section on Donovan in the suspects chapter, detailing why he was a favoured suspect, and also why he has fallen out of favour too.

There are a couple of elements of repetition in the book (he makes the same reference to Kurten twice for example). & he refers to only 1 website (but doesn't name it).
Up to the last 2 chapters however, the book is still a fine read. Still very worthwhile getting, but it has left me wanting a couple of answers still...
I thought in Don's original book there was far too much discussion of latterday killers such as Peter Kurten (the Dusseldorf Ripper), and it sounds as if the updated book follows the same pattern.

Lastly, I also agree that Don's condemnation of Warren for ordering the graffito to be removed might be overboard, but can probably be understood from the viewpoint that Don was a former City of London bobby considering an iffy decision made by a superior and the head of the Metropolitan Police no less!

Best regards

Chris
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Old January 24th, 2014, 03:14 PM   #7
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Lem:
Thanks for the review...you have a full time job reviewing if you wish.

Your effort is appreciated...
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Old January 24th, 2014, 05:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonjelly
Don puts forward a very reasonable rationale for the exclusion of Stride (his description of the Stride build up is amongst one of the best imo).
If any of his facts were accurate, it would be quite reasonable. But he chose myths and lies over facts, so I gotta call B.S. on this. If anything else in the book strikes you as 'new' info, it's probably actually another error.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott
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Old January 25th, 2014, 05:40 PM   #9
Lemonjelly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Cates View Post
Hello Lemon. Thanks for this.

Interesting take on Liz.

Cheers.
LC
you're welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris G. View Post

Not as far as I know.
Hence my surprise at reading it. I wonder where this came from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris G. View Post
I thought in Don's original book there was far too much discussion of latterday killers such as Peter Kurten (the Dusseldorf Ripper), and it sounds as if the updated book follows the same pattern.

Lastly, I also agree that Don's condemnation of Warren for ordering the graffito to be removed might be overboard, but can probably be understood from the viewpoint that Don was a former City of London bobby considering an iffy decision made by a superior and the head of the Metropolitan Police no less!

Best regards

Chris
I didn't think Don had gone overboard. More it was interesting to contrast this view with one that appears to have grown in recent times that is more aympathetic to Warren. Actually, I'm closer to Mr Rumbelow.

I can see reasons for his discussion on post Ripper serial killers, but felt it was too large a portion of the book. With his knowledge, I feel sure that he could have included more on the events of 1888, rather than discuss the Thames nudes, Yorkshire Ripper & Kurten in the level of detail that he did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Brown View Post
Lem:
Thanks for the review...you have a full time job reviewing if you wish.

Your effort is appreciated...
There may be a few big gaps sir. I'm contemplating CSI... next, however I do like to try to blend a fair few non-ripper related books into my reading pattern! (debating whether to read a Michael schermer book, or a book by a UK artist - Patrick Hughes first).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Wescott View Post
If any of his facts were accurate, it would be quite reasonable. But he chose myths and lies over facts, so I gotta call B.S. on this. If anything else in the book strikes you as 'new' info, it's probably actually another error.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott
I still feel to many newcomers it is a very good introduction to the case. It's an accessible read, & covering the case itself, pretty good to be fair. In the Stride discussion, he does give a reasonable overview for the case why Stride can be argued not to be a victim of the Ripper, & I did feel the perspective is worthy of further consideration/investigation/debate.

I shall look forward to your book(s) this year Tom! I'll be getting my pre-order in when amazon has it listed & then bet whether the postman arrives with yours, or Mr Begg's The Forgotten Victims first. (Then I'll fall out with myself trying to pick which to read first!)
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Old January 25th, 2014, 05:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonjelly View Post
he makes the same reference to Kurten twice for example
...well, in fairness, Kurtens usually come in pairs
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