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BOOKS ON JACK THE RIPPER

RECOMMENDED READING LIST

When it comes to Jack the Ripper there are, literally, thousands of books out there. Some are excellent and make genuine contributions to the field. Others are reasonable and worth a cursory read through. Many are downright awful and offer little or no value to furthering our understanding of the case.

The question is, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff?

Well, below you will find a list of books that, in my opinion, are must-have books for any student of the case.

They can be purchased on Amazon.

In the interests of full disclosure I'd like to state that the jack-the-ripper.org website does receive a commission on all book sales.

This goes towards the running costs of the site and enables me to update it and to acquire new archive material whilst, at the same time, keeping it free to use.

The Complete Jack The Ripper A-Z
The Ultimate Guide to The Ripper Mystery
By Paul Begg, Martin Fido and Keith Skinner

No serious student of the Jack the Ripper murders should pass this book by. Indeed, it such a valuable, and detailed, resource on all aspects of the case, that it has, quite legitimately as it happens, been hailed as nothing short of the "bible" of Ripper studies.

Written by three of the World's leading, and most respected, authorities on the case, this new edition has been totally updated and includes an entry for almost every witness, victim, police offices, journalist, publican and lodging house keeper who was involved in the case, as well as numerous men and women who found themselves, sometimes reluctantly, caught up on the drama that the Whitechapel Murder generated.

The Complete Jack the Ripper A-Z has an entry for almost every person involved in the case - from suspects and witnesses, to policemen and journalists - plus the many ordinary people who became caught up in the unfolding drama, no matter how briefly. It also features short biographies of writers and researches who have, over the years,have made their own contributions to our knowledge and understanding of the Jack the Ripper case.

The A to Z format means that, if you come across a name or a fact which you need to look up quickly, you can easily turn to the relevant page and are almost guaranteed that you will find something about that fact, place or person.

So, if you are looking for a book that will prove an invaluable research tool, then look no further than this one.

The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook
An Illustrated Encyclopedia
By Keith Skinner and Stewart Evans

I would rate this as the second most important book that a student of the case should acquire in order to further their knowledge and to aid their researches.

Messrs. Evans and Skinner are hugely respected Ripperologists who have both contributed a vast amount to the field of ripper studies. However, this is not so much a book on Jack the Riper, but rather it is a collection of primary sources, such as official documents that include the entire contents of the Scotland Yard files covering the full series of Whitechapel murders; extensive press reports; witness statements and extracts from police notebooks; documents missing from the official files; and many rare photographs.

In other words, you don't have to travel to the archives to go through the source material on the case, with this book you have all the known archive material at your fingertips and can leaf through it at your leisure.

As such, it provides students of the case with the opportunity to, effectively go back to the Victorian era and piece together their own view of the evidence and the case using original documentation that has been painstakingly collated.

It enables a serious study in the course of which you can draw your own conclusions and assess for yourself the veracity of witnesses and the provenance of various snippets of information using nothing but the actual facts.

The Complete History of Jack the Ripper
By Philip Sugden

Philip Sugden's book is an in depth study of the Whitechapel Murders, and he succeeds admirably in bringing together many of the facts that emerged from the press and police reports at the time of the murders, as well as from the testimony of the various witnesses who appeared at the inquests into the deaths of the victims.

Meticulously researched, the books tells the story very well, and gives a lot of information on periphery characters, who often get relegated to the sidelines in books on the case.

My only real criticism of the book is that he does, occasionally, resort to trashing writers and researchers that went before him, albeit this doesn't happen that often.

There is a detailed section on suspects in which it becomes apparent that Mr. Sugden does have a favourite, but then that hasn't stopped writers before or since and, on the whole, he does present a nicely balanced view on the various suspects.

I would say that, if you are looking for a book that provides a good overview of the case, then this is certainly up there with the top three to go with and I've found it an invaluable resource in my own researches on the Whitechapel Murders.