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Kaethe

Kaethe

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

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

I'm not finished yet, but this is pretty amazing. Rubenhold has gone to primary and secondary period sources to discover a great deal about the women who have existed merely as "murdered prostitute" all these years. The scholarship is impressive, as is the imagination to start over, virtually from scratch. Given how very much has been written about their murders since 1888 it's kind of amazing how little we ever knew about the victims, when there was so much available.There is a bit much speculation on the mundane presented as fact: there is a great deal that can be inferred with high probability, but the construction "she would have" grates on me. There is also a rather constant refrain of how the women were assumed by the police of the time to be prostitutes in the absence of any positive evidence that they were. But that is a welcome reminder not to accept stereotype as proven fact. Everybody lies, including the police.

Dec 20, 2019

 

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Now that I am finished my opinion certainly hasn't gone down at all. Although I knew generally how constrained the lives of Victorian women were, and how tenuous their survival, I didn't have a lot of specifics. It's kind of staggering how little progress we've made in the past 130 years. Forensics have improved but little else has.

Dec 23, 2019