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Suggested annotations for Hallie Rubenhold's book "The Five" (2019)

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

    See also p. 78 in the review of Rubenhold's book in Ripperologist 164:
    http://www.ripperologist.co.uk/pdf/ripperologist164.pdf
    It was also discussed at length here, Chris. It seems a long time ago.

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    • #47
      I would annotate the cover with the words "Caveat Emptor."

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
        I would annotate the cover with the words "Caveat Emptor."
        Obviously there's a strong case for correcting the second word of the subtitle - "The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper".

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        • #49


          I’d suggest removing the quote marks from Just Prostitutes and placing them around Untold.

          In her Waterstones blog, Hallie claimed that apart from one small booklet there was nothing on the subject before she wrote The Five.

          #ReadtheBibliographyHallie

          The bibliography in The Five contains numerous books and articles about the victims and it’s by no means comprehensive. One glaring omission is Chris Scott’s ‘Will The Real Mary Kelly…?’ (2005). That’s 140 pages of serious research into the mystery of MJK, compared to Hallie’s 35 pages of wishful thinking about upmarket West End/French prostitution with a bit of poorly researched East End stuff thrown in for good measure.







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          • #50
            Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post

            I’d suggest removing the quote marks from Just Prostitutes and placing them around Untold.

            In her Waterstones blog, Hallie claimed that apart from one small booklet there was nothing on the subject before she wrote The Five.

            #ReadtheBiblographyHallie.

            The bibliography in The Five contains numerous books and articles about the victims and it’s by no means comprehensive. One glaring omission is Chris Scott’s ‘Will The Real Mary Kelly…?’ (2005). That’s 140 pages of serious research into the mystery of MJK, compared to Hallie’s 35 pages of wishful thinking about upmarket West End/French prostitution with a bit of poorly researched East End stuff thrown in for good measure.







            I hadn't realised she didn't refer at all to Chris Scott's book. That's remarkable.

            To make a comparison between the number of pages in her book and the number in Neal Shelden's books would be completely meaningless. Shelden's books consist almost entirely of biographical data. In Rubenhold's book much of the content is background information. Of course that can have its place, but it's quite wrong to minimise the significance of previous work on the basis of a spurious comparison in that way.

            Comment


            • #51
              Yes, if you were to exclude all the purely conjectural stuff in The Five, you’d be left with a small booklet, almost all of which was the research of others.

              Between pages 74 and 77 Hallie tells us the largely imaginary story of Polly Nichols’ brief spell as a servant in the household of Samuel and Sarah Cowdry in Wandsworth. Again, she seems to know where Polly slept and how she felt living with the aged couple and their spinster niece (whose name she spells incorrectly). She tells us that it was Sarah Cowdry who brought Polly paper and a pen and (probably) encouraged her to write to her family. She even knows which door Polly sneaked out of when she did a runner shortly afterwards.

              If instead of dreaming up all this detail, she had checked the facts, she would have discovered a rather more interesting story.

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              • #52
                The extract below is from page 377. It’s garbage.


                Working-class boys from across the country did enlist in Guards regiments.

                The 2nd Bn Scots Guards were stationed at the Tower of London, a few minutes walk from Pennington Street, between September, 1886 and December, 1887. I should imagine that officers from the regiment would have been wary of trawling the Ratcliff Highway for female company, enlisted men less so.

                There are numerous threads, containing hundreds of posts, many dating back years before The Five appeared, on this one small aspect of the MJK story. As a member of both JTRForums and Casebook, Hallie had access to all this information and to those who have been researching it.

                https://www.jtrforums.com/forum/the-...s-guards/page2


                https://www.jtrforums.com/forum/brit...-guards-1885-8

                Is this poor research or deliberate twisting of the facts?
                Attached Files

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                • #53
                  For me, the most plausible scenario is, as Hallie suggests, that the story of Kelly having a brother in the 2BnSG was a fiction designed to conceal a relationship of some kind with a man in that outfit. Not an officer, though, a private or an NCO who might look for his pleasures in the rough-and-ready Highway.

                  Otherwise, the battalion turning up on her doorstep is one hell of a coincidence.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                    The extract below is from page 377. It’s garbage.


                    Working-class boys from across the country did enlist in Guards regiments.

                    The 2nd Bn Scots Guards were stationed at the Tower of London, a few minutes walk from Pennington Street, between September, 1886 and December, 1887. I should imagine that officers from the regiment would have been wary of trawling the Ratcliff Highway for female company, enlisted men less so.

                    There are numerous threads, containing hundreds of posts, many dating back years before The Five appeared, on this one small aspect of the MJK story. As a member of both JTRForums and Casebook, Hallie had access to all this information and to those who have been researching it.

                    https://www.jtrforums.com/forum/the-...s-guards/page2


                    https://www.jtrforums.com/forum/brit...-guards-1885-8

                    Is this poor research or deliberate twisting of the facts?
                    As - so often with this book, it's difficult to make sense of the material:
                    (1) I suppose what she means to say is that if Mary's account of her family is true, then it's difficult to believe her brother would have been a Scots Guard. (Rather than that our idea of the recruitment criteria of the Scots Guards should depend on whether we believe what she says. Maybe I'm being pedantic, but surely it's possible to express things more clearly than she does here?)
                    (2) She says "women in the sex trade" commonly referred to former lovers as brothers or cousins. At that point some kind of evidence would have been nice. Without evidence I'm sceptical.Are we really meant to believe that "women in the sex trade" commonly pretended that their clients were blood relations? The idea is baffling to me, and makes me wonder what planet the person suggesting it is on.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

                      As - so often with this book, it's difficult to make sense of the material:
                      (1) I suppose what she means to say is that if Mary's account of her family is true, then it's difficult to believe her brother would have been a Scots Guard. (Rather than that our idea of the recruitment criteria of the Scots Guards should depend on whether we believe what she says. Maybe I'm being pedantic, but surely it's possible to express things more clearly than she does here?)
                      (2) She says "women in the sex trade" commonly referred to former lovers as brothers or cousins. At that point some kind of evidence would have been nice. Without evidence I'm sceptical.Are we really meant to believe that "women in the sex trade" commonly pretended that their clients were blood relations? The idea is baffling to me, and makes me wonder what planet the person suggesting it is on.
                      (1) Yes, that sentence is confusing. I think what she was trying to tell her readers is that poor Welsh boys didn’t join Guards regiments, so ‘Johnto’ was probably her upper class lover in disguise. The idea that he might have been a squaddie who picked her up in the Highway clearly didn’t appeal to her.

                      (2) #Readthefootnotes has been one of her refrains. Quite often they don’t exist, though. So we have to trust she’s being straight with us.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                        (2) #Readthefootnotes has been one of her refrains. Quite often they don’t exist, though. So we have to trust she’s being straight with us.
                        And actually that's a footnote you quoted, isn't it?

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

                          And actually that's a footnote you quoted, isn't it?
                          Yes, it was.

                          Sometimes they are missing and sometimes they exist but are misleading.




                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

                            I hadn't realised she didn't refer at all to Chris Scott's book. That's remarkable.

                            To make a comparison between the number of pages in her book and the number in Neal Shelden's books would be completely meaningless. Shelden's books consist almost entirely of biographical data. In Rubenhold's book much of the content is background information. Of course that can have its place, but it's quite wrong to minimise the significance of previous work on the basis of a spurious comparison in that way.
                            Actually David Barrat said it better than I did:

                            How did Hallie's end up at 415 pages then? Well it's actually quite interesting to track her book against Shelden's. With the exception of the chapter on Stride, for which Hallie has much more detail about her life in Sweden, both have essentially the same facts about the victims' lives but Rubenhold's book is filled with what one could describe either as 'context' or 'padding'. Hence, from both Shelden and Rubenhold we learn the same basic facts about the life of the first victim, Polly Nichols, but, in Rubenhold, we learn the weather on the day Polly was born, we discover the history of the Peabody Buildings in which Polly once lived with her husband (including a biography of George Peabody) and we are told about the workings of the workhouse system. For Annie Chapman there's a section about the coronation of Queen Victoria which segues into Annie's birth about six years later. When it comes to Elizabeth Stride we are told about the (imaginary) candles which spread a warm yellow light through the wood-pannelled rooms of the farmhouse on the day that she was born. That's basically how she does it.
                            https://www.orsam.co.uk/deconstructinghallie.htm

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

                              Actually David Barrat said it better than I did:


                              https://www.orsam.co.uk/deconstructinghallie.htm
                              Yes, the greater page count has almost nothing to do with additional material about the victims. ‘Context’ I don’t object to, if it’s relevant or accurate.

                              The flickering candlelight stuff I find really irritating, though, the worst example being Kate Eddowes feeling the final shudders of her dying infant as she held it in her arms. She is just as likely to have been passed out on the bed while her child gasped his last breath.

                              To be honest, Shelden’s book is little more than a series of research notes. Padding those notes out to make a more readable narrative is not a bad thing in itself. But the way HR went about it was extremely disappointing.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Just a relatively small point. Rubenhold several times says that Mary Kelly went to Paris. Has anyone seen Paris mentioned anywhere in contemporary sources? I can see only France. The most definite statement I can see about where in France is this, from the Morning Advertiser's report of Barnett's evidence at the inquest:

                                [A] As far as she described it to me, a few weeks. Then some gentleman asked her to go to France, and she went, but, as she described it to me, she didn't like it, and came back in about a week or two's time.
                                [Q] Did she tell you the name of the place in France? -
                                [A] She told me, but she did not remain long, as she did not like it.

                                [Q] Did she live in France long? -
                                [A] No, about a fortnight.
                                [Q] When she returned from France where did she tell you she lived? -
                                [A] In the Ratcliff-highway.

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