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5 Q With : Tom Wescott ( April 8, 2017 )

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  • 5 Q With : Tom Wescott ( April 8, 2017 )

    Many thanks to Tom for responding to the queries !
    _______________________________________

    1. Your first book published in 2014, The Bank Holiday Murders, has been well received in the Ripperological community.
    Following its successful addition to the upper tier of Ripper works published in this century, did it present a challenge to you to
    equal the same sort of success with Ripper Confidential ?



    Thanks for that. It probably should have, but it didn't. Ripper Confidential is such a different book that it would be difficult to compare the two. And at the same time, I tackled it with pretty much the same objective - to put it all out there. I looked to find as much stuff as I could that had not been published or at least had not been exposed to the many thousands of Ripper readers out there who may not be part of our smaller 'community'. So, it was a different book written in the same style. Also, it's 150 pages longer, so at least in that respect it is a better book. Both are unlike any other Ripper book ever published and that's intentional.

    2. In the past, primarily, but also in the present, researchers tend to be more skeptical than encouraged by newspaper
    reports covering the Whitechapel Murders. You seem to be squarely in the camp which sees the positive contributions
    the newspapers made. Have you always held that position ?



    I'm skeptical of all sources, though to different degrees. For instance, when we consider the inquests, we have the luxury of consulting many different newspapers for their coverage, and we can compare what they say. If all or most say the same thing, then we should feel encouraged that the reportage was accurate. In my essay 'What Fanny Didn't See' I challenge the accepted version of events surrounding witness James Brown. I do this by pointing out that the earlier Ripper books of the 80s, which became bibles to us, primarily used the Times as their source, whereas now we access to a wide array of contemporary material. I used all these sources to compare and conclude that our understanding of Brown and what he said is wrong and must be reconsidered. That's just good history.

    3. I am particularly impressed with your chapter which discusses Swanson's October 19th report and Anderson's October
    23rd submittal to the HO in how you point out that the police officials were partaking in a bit of c.y.a. and that they were
    affected by the failure to capture the killer. This is in contrast to some modern beliefs that the Whitechapel Murders were
    not extraordinary in terms of importance to those involved. Having said that, do you feel that Warren's resignation was
    entirely due to the flak over the Murray's Magazine article criticized by Home Secretary Mathews ?



    I'm not as big a believer in coincidences as some. The police force was a business like any other. If you do something at your job that the vast majority of people completely disagree with (in this case, the erasure of a potentially vital clue) and it's such a big deal that reports from all parties involved are requested by your superiors, and then three days later your resignation is asked for, I don't see how anyone could conclude anything other than that Warren's erasure of the writing was the primary reason for his resignation. It's just obvious. As for the police reports, there's so few surviving that we tend to put too much weight on what they have to offer and why. For instance, most of us rebel against the notion of a 'canonical five'. But why does this canon exist? Because of Macnaghten and Bond. And because during the information starved 20th century, these were considered groundbreaking new finds and the community at that time vested them with more relevance than perhaps they deserved. Same with the discovery of Israel Schwartz in the 1970s. There are many examples of this throughout the years and they all continue to obscure our view of what's real and what's not.
    In considering the Swanson report of Oct. 19th, it occurred to me that we're so busy considering 'what' it had to say that we didn't stop to ask 'why' it said what it said. Why did it focus on certain individuals and not others? What I concluded is that it was essentially a 'quarterly report' to superiors and so was naturally composed to leave a positive impression. This being the case, it's not an entirely objective document. This does not detract from the value of the information it contains, but we should at least understand that all the material available to us - whether written by journalists or professionals - was composed by men who were anxious to keep their jobs.

    4. It might be unfair to bring this up, but do you think the City Of London police would have captured the killer or, failing
    that, at least arresting someone with more than what any of the arrested Met Police suspects had on them ?



    Since they didn't, I'd say no.

    5. For now, last question.....do you have plans for another Ripper related work ?


    Oh, yes. In a year or two I'll start writing The Infernal Machine, my book about Charles Le Grand. It will be dramatically different from my other books.
    To Join JTR Forums :
    Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

  • #2
    A year or two before you do Le Grand! That's not fair. Not fair at all.

    Comment


    • #3
      One of the things Tom has researched extensively over the years is the Berner Street Murder....and recreating the sequence of events.

      I've been reading and re-reading...and re-reading a couple of the chapters at night and at work when I get a chance......and I don't think his work putting together the events on the night of the Double Event can be surpassed.

      To Join JTR Forums :
      Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
        One of the things Tom has researched extensively over the years is the Berner Street Murder....and recreating the sequence of events.

        I've been reading and re-reading...and re-reading a couple of the chapters at night and at work when I get a chance......and I don't think his work putting together the events on the night of the Double Event can be surpassed.

        Thanks, How. Even if you're the only one who ever says that, it's enough for me that you have.

        Yours truly,

        Tom Wescott

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, its the truth.

          I'm curious as to what 'errors' Ed was referring to...in relation to the Bucks Row material.
          To Join JTR Forums :
          Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
            Well, its the truth.

            I'm curious as to what 'errors' Ed was referring to...in relation to the Bucks Row material.
            Errors are inevitable. I'm certain that before long Ed will make his thoughts crystal clear.

            Yours truly,

            Tom Wescott

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
              Well, its the truth.

              I'm curious as to what 'errors' Ed was referring to...in relation to the Bucks Row material.
              Has Ed posted since Tom's book was published?

              Comment


              • #8
                Gary:

                Not to my knowledge.
                To Join JTR Forums :
                Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                  Has Ed posted since Tom's book was published?
                  He just received his copy and posted a pic on his FB page, where Ricky assured everyone no one actually likes my book. I'm just so damn popular and loved that they all feel they have to tell me they like it. So, I'm pleased whatever the case. Oh, and Phil says Bank Holiday Murders was a Le Grand suspect book. Good to know that crew has their finger on the pulse of Ripperology.

                  Yours truly,

                  Tom Wescott

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tom_Wescott View Post
                    He just received his copy and posted a pic on his FB page, where Ricky assured everyone no one actually likes my book. I'm just so damn popular and loved that they all feel they have to tell me they like it. So, I'm pleased whatever the case. Oh, and Phil says Bank Holiday Murders was a Le Grand suspect book. Good to know that crew has their finger on the pulse of Ripperology.

                    Yours truly,

                    Tom Wescott
                    The front cover of the book says it all.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      He just received his copy and posted a pic on his FB page, where Ricky assured everyone no one actually likes my book. I'm just so damn popular and loved that they all feel they have to tell me they like it. So, I'm pleased whatever the case. Oh, and Phil says Bank Holiday Murders was a Le Grand suspect book. Good to know that crew has their finger on the pulse of Ripperology.

                      I struggled through the exchange, Tom.
                      I'm still amazed that a couple of them who WON'T read the book cast aspersions on it ( Best book I've read on the subject for quite some time and one of the best ever)...
                      To Join JTR Forums :
                      Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Tom,

                        Did you screw up royally with your Upper/Lower Berner Street distinction?


                        Gary.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tom_Wescott View Post
                          He just received his copy and posted a pic on his FB page, where Ricky assured everyone no one actually likes my book. I'm just so damn popular and loved that they all feel they have to tell me they like it. So, I'm pleased whatever the case. Oh, and Phil says Bank Holiday Murders was a Le Grand suspect book. Good to know that crew has their finger on the pulse of Ripperology.

                          Yours truly,

                          Tom Wescott
                          One of the undeniably great things about Ripperology is that there are so many really good people willing to sacrifice their time and energy to explain the flaws in one's work and character. It brings a tear to the eye.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            One thing which is very clear to any who spend time studing this subject is that some people will defend their own theories no matter what and in doing so may not even be prepared to acknowledge that others have a point.
                            We see it all the time with people attacking work they have not read. Paul I am sure would happily agree on this considering the reception Cornell's new book on some sites by some who admitted they would not read the book.

                            To me Tom's book offered much, the format I particularly liked with different essays, thus allowing a wide discussion.


                            Steve

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                              Tom,

                              Did you screw up royally with your Upper/Lower Berner Street distinction?


                              Gary.
                              Hi Gary. No.

                              Yours truly,

                              Tom Wescott

                              Comment

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