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Your thoughts on The Five by Hallie Rubenhold???

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  • Your thoughts on The Five by Hallie Rubenhold???

    I'm sure this has been discussed before, so please refer me to the correct thread if you'd like (I'm new to the Forum). I'm reading The Five, and -- frankly -- find Rubenhold's "sleeping beauty" theory, as I call it, to be absolutely ridiculous. It not only flies in the face of the evidence but also the psychopathology of serial killers. I also find it almost offensive that she's trying so hard to prove that these women weren't prostitutes. So what if they were? Does that make them unworthy human beings? Don't murdered prostitutes deserve our sympathy? And finally, her belief that male writers smugly dismiss the five canonical victims as "just" prostitutes is hogwash. Many male writers have written about the victims with great sympathy. What do you experts think?

  • #2
    Hi and welcome.
    "Experts"? You'll start a whole new debate there...
    Thems the Vagaries.....

    Comment


    • #3
      I believe jollybonnet that it is quite important to determine whether they were actively soliciting when they met their killer, because that gives us at least a passing glimpse of the killers traits. Does this killer seek out strangers, Unfortunate women while they worked at night or full time street walkers? In the cases of the Canonical list, only the first 2 were known to have been actively soliciting at the time they met their killer.

      Im not likely to read the book, very little new evidence is available, and in this study you have to sift through the publications to find something worth digging into.
      Michael Richards

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jollybonnet View Post
        I'm sure this has been discussed before, so please refer me to the correct thread if you'd like (I'm new to the Forum). I'm reading The Five, and -- frankly -- find Rubenhold's "sleeping beauty" theory, as I call it, to be absolutely ridiculous. It not only flies in the face of the evidence but also the psychopathology of serial killers. I also find it almost offensive that she's trying so hard to prove that these women weren't prostitutes. So what if they were? Does that make them unworthy human beings? Don't murdered prostitutes deserve our sympathy? And finally, her belief that male writers smugly dismiss the five canonical victims as "just" prostitutes is hogwash. Many male writers have written about the victims with great sympathy. What do you experts think?

        Hi jollybonnet,

        Welcome to Casebook.

        The main issue with The Five is that it’s a book with a very determined agenda. To try and show that the author is the first author to actually show an interest in the women as human beings (obviously false.) To show that male Ripperologists have some kind of unhealthy interest in the domination and murder of women (obviously false.) To propose a new angle as a selling point - the women weren't prostitutes (obviously false.) That try and show that the women were sleeping and not soliciting (obviously false.) And to show that the author has been objective and rigorous in her research unlike Ripper researchers (obviously false.)

        Just take the ‘sleeping’ suggestion. Could anything be more ludicrous than to suggest that the killer of Annie Chapman went around checking backyards on the off chance of finding a sleeping woman to murder?

        This could have been an excellent addition to the books on the case. There’s some good info in there but it’s marred by the obvious agenda and the lengths that the author will go to to make the evidence ‘fit’ her theory. Selective quoting can’t be put down to error I’m afraid. Rubenhold has done the subject, the public and those interested in the case a serious disservice.
        Regards

        Herlock




        “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
        As night descends upon this fabled street:
        A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
        The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
        Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
        And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Jollybonnet

          I agree, the book’s a disappointment. Well written but nothing new and some completely wrong interpretations and theories.
          Her agenda clearly led her astray.

          It’s too bad, it could have been good but she chose money over integrity.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
            That try and show that the women were sleeping and not soliciting (obviously false.)
            Even if they were not soliciting, there's no earthly way they were sleeping. Who the hell sleeps outside a gate in the middle of a public pavement, behind a back door leading to a communal privy, or on the open cobbles of a public square during a night of heavy rainfall?

            Rubenhold has done the subject, the public and those interested in the case a serious disservice.
            And her fans continue to do the subject no favours by uncritically accepting her theories and hailing her book as a beacon of truth.
            Kind regards, Sam Flynn

            "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

            Comment


            • #7
              Copy and paste from my post in the previous thread about the book...


              May just be me, but it's best to start at the event, then work backwards to find the origins of its circumstance and then build the narrative from there. Here, Rubenhold appears to have had an idea of each woman, researched them and then taken it up towards the murders without actually considering them as an actual event. The reason her theory of them all sleeping falls down is because she has concentrated on the circumstances of these women's lives but not the circumstances of their murders.

              Comment


              • #8
                I guess it depends on what your definition of a prostitute is. Should there be a distinction between women who made their living exclusively from prostitution and women who did it occasionally when they needed money? What about a woman who was not actively soliciting but agreed to do so when approached and offered money?

                The Whitechapel Murderer wanted opportunities where he could be alone with his victims. Prostitutes who were willing to go to an isolated area with someone they just met offered that opportunity. Does that mean that he was only interested in killing prostitutes or was that it that they simply met that criterion? We simply don't know.

                c.d.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Again keep in mind that not actively soliciting doesn't necessarily mean that they couldn't have ended up engaging in sex for money. Circumstances change.

                  Think of it like somebody who goes out on Saturday night with the intention of not drinking alcohol that night. They run into an old friend who say hey let my buy you a beer.

                  c.d.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    True c.d. Rubenhold just wouldn't accept this though and it’s impossible to put this down to an error on her part. She was willing to manipulate statements in an effort to make her point. And as Sam pointed out it’s galling that she’s being acclaimed as the saviour of the subject. A position that she can maintain because she won’t debate the topic with anyone who knows anything. All those that have reviewed the book know nothing about the case (apart from Paul Begg of course) and have accepted her work without question. Sadly Rubenhold appears to have an army of uncritical, politically correct acolytes and we’re the bad guys.
                    Regards

                    Herlock




                    “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
                    As night descends upon this fabled street:
                    A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
                    The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
                    Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
                    And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Curious Cat View Post
                      May just be me, but it's best to start at the event, then work backwards to find the origins of its circumstance and then build the narrative from there. Here, Rubenhold appears to have had an idea of each woman, researched them and then taken it up towards the murders without actually considering them as an actual event. The reason her theory of them all sleeping falls down is because she has concentrated on the circumstances of these women's lives but not the circumstances of their murders.
                      I have yet to read 'The Five' so won't pass comment on the book itself. However this view above intrigues me as in, surely this is precisely the point. Rubenhold attempts to reconstruct the women's lives as they lived over reconstruct how they died. Isn't the book more interested in the women's lives than their deaths? - and I don't think that's a bad thing, at all.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There’s certainly nothing wrong with looking at the women’s lives but why, even before the book appeared, did she have to start by maligning everyone that had researched the case by implying a callous attitude toward the victims? Now she appears to have acolytes who all believe that ripperologists are a bunch of closed-minded misogynists. Added to this it’s not good when an Historian uses selective quoting to try and prove her point.
                        Regards

                        Herlock




                        “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
                        As night descends upon this fabled street:
                        A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
                        The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
                        Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
                        And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by seanr View Post

                          I have yet to read 'The Five' so won't pass comment on the book itself. However this view above intrigues me as in, surely this is precisely the point. Rubenhold attempts to reconstruct the women's lives as they lived over reconstruct how they died. Isn't the book more interested in the women's lives than their deaths? - and I don't think that's a bad thing, at all.
                          I perhaps should've copied the whole post rather than just the last bit. Earlier I say I have no issue with her researching and presenting the victims' lives up until the point of their deaths in more detail than they usually get BUT she gives them all the same circumstances in the immediate lead up to their murders. It's just unrealistic and rather than telling each of their full stories it's giving them an ending the author's choosing.

                          It's also a bit much for her to dismiss any criticism of the book as purely misogynistic or an attempt to suppress her research. While some comments may fall into those categories, there are perfectly valid criticisms that are unfairly thrown into the same pot.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I believe (1 of 2?) of the victims were specifically targeted, in which case their means of livelihood was more or less incidental to Jack.

                            I don't know to believe in the canon of 5 or not. Maybe some victims were added in as camouflage, and they just happen to be prostitutes
                            because they were easy, vulnerable victims.

                            Martyn
                            Write something...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi, all. Thanks for your thoughts!

                              Well, I finished the book, and -- as I suspected -- its basic premise was flawed and seriously "agenda laden." But more annoying than that was all the padding throughout the book. I assumed this would be the case as none of these women left a trail long or wide enough to provide the biographer with a sufficient amount of material. A typical example is this passage from section on Kate Eddowes, in which Rubenhold discloses the fascinating information that Kate's uncle was a boxer. Gosh -- that fact is sure to get us closer to the identity of the Ripper! Here's the passage: "A crowd of men in top hats and flat caps would gather, eagerly checking the time, fiddling with their watch chains, tucking their hands into their waistcoat pockets." It's well written but pointless scene setting.

                              Elsewhere in the Kate Eddowes section -- on one two-page spread! -- Rubenhold uses three qualifying phrases (a sure sign of shallow research): "It is unknown," "It is difficult to know," and "It is unknown" [still? again?]. On a nearby page she mixes it up a little by telling us, "It is likely." And finally, a footnote that begins with these words doesn't exactly inspire confidence: "It is also believed [by whom????] that when Kate returned to Wolverhampton. . . . "

                              Rubenhold should have just written a novel inspired by the events of 1888 and been done with it.

                              Comment

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