Book Review: The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper

The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper- Maxim Jakubowski and Nathan Braund
The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper review
I cannot even tell you how long I've had this book sitting on my bookshelves. I think my brother may have bought it for me as a Christmas present when I was with in my first year of uni- 7 years ago. All this time it's shuffled around, from house to house, and sat on the bookshelves unread until finally, this month, its time came! Rich and I had been watching a truly fascinating documentary about a new Jack the Ripper suspect, which inspired me to read up more on the case.

Jack the Ripper was the first serial killer I was ever interested in (There's a conversation starter for your next dinner party. You're welcome!) but I can't even remember when that was. As an 8 year old, I was obsessed with Terry Deary's Vile Victorians in the Horrible Histories series, which mentioned my murderous mate Jack, but I already knew about the Ripper by that point. I was clearly just a very morbid child! As I grew up, I acquired a general understanding of the murders and, in fact, one of the first dates Rich took me on was to the Jack the Ripper exhibition at the Docklands Museum. However, I didn't really have the depth of knowledge that I wanted, so this heffa of a book was just what I needed!
Extract of the Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper
The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper is edited by Maxim Jakubowski and Nathan Braund, who open with a very detailed chronology of the murders. They discuss other victims outside the canonical five- Martha Tabram is generally accepted as an early Ripper victim these days- and create a very clear picture of Whitechapel at the time of the crimes. After this in depth study, which draws on several sources of original information, the majority of the book is taken up with various essays from Ripperologists, novelists and journalists who feel they have uncovered the identitiy of the killer. By including so many contradictory and varied arguments, I felt as though I was left with a very broad, balanced understanding of the case and possible suspects.

One area where I felt the book lacked, however, was the complete omission of any images or reproduction of sources. It would have been a huge benefit to have compared, say, the infamous Dear Boss letters with the will of James Maybrick, who is one, now widely discredited, suspect since so much is made of the inconsistencies in handwriting. This would have provided an extra understanding of the case that is difficult to convey through words alone.
Review of Jakubowski and Braund Jack the Ripper book
Despite this, I found this book to be a fantastic starting point as I move towards developing my understanding further. If nothing else, the extensive bibliography has given me a great reading list to tackle! 



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7 comments:

  1. Sounds really good! Have you done a Jack the Ripper tour in London? I did one last year and they were really enjoyable, definitely made me want to read up on the subject and learn more x

    Jasmin Charlotte | UK Lifestyle Blog

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  2. I love a good serial killer book too! I've read tonnes and tonnes of them, my mum is the same. Anything murder and we'll watch it/read it. Christmas Eve was spent watching Criminal Minds, much to my sisters disgust :') xx

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  3. I am also obsessed with Jack The Ripper! As a kid I wanted to know all about the cases. I need to watch more docs and read more books to brush up too! x

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  4. Might have to pick this up, love reading about serial killers but my knowledge of Jack The Ripper is quite poor and lacking! x

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  5. I'm off to add this to my Kindle - I'm fascinated by true crime and read endless case books like this!

    Penny xx

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  6. I loved studying Jack the Ripper in school. A little morbid, but it was fascinating!

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  7. This book looks fascinating! I've always had a weird/obsession with serial killers (Jack The Ripper) in-particular. Thanks for the review! I will definitely be looking this one out. I absolutely love your blog, you're an inspiration :) xx

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