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Jack the Ripper: Letters from Hell Hardcover – September 25, 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The Whitechapel murders of 1888 captured the public's attention not only for their ferocity but for an almost theatrical aspect in the form of letters from the purported killer. Evans and Skinner here expand upon the information presented in their The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion (LJ 12/00) by analyzing the more than 700 communications. Most of the letters are regarded as tasteless pranks, including the famous "Dear Boss" missive that introduced the name "Jack the Ripper" (investigators credit this moniker to a tabloid journalist). However, a few are believed to be genuine, namely, the "From Hell" note accompanying half a kidney possibly removed from victim Catherine Eddowes. Though perhaps frauds, the letters make interesting reading and bespeak the depravity of a society that would use gruesome murders as a means of entertainment. In addition to an analysis of their texts, this volume includes complete transcripts of all the letters held in the police files buttressed with numerous outstanding pictures of the original notes. While seasoned Ripperologists will love this book, the specificity limits its usefulness. Therefore, this is recommended only for collections already sporting a general overview volume, e.g., John J. Eddleston's noteworthy Jack the Ripper: An Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2001). Michael Rogers, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Stewart Evans and Keith Skinner are two of the world's leading experts on Jack the Ripper. They acted as historical advisers for the forthcoming film 'From Hell' starring Johnny Depp and Robbie Coltrane.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (September 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750925493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750925495
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,531,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Ricky Hunter on March 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jack the Ripper (Letters From Hell), by co-authors Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner, is exactly what it purports to be in the subtitle. It is a discussion of all the letters sent by people purporting to be Jack the Ripper to the newspapers, police and assorted individuals followed by a section printing all of the letters in the police files (there is little variety in the letters themselves showing the lack of imagination shown by most of the copy cat letter writers and this could prove a little dry for some). In addition, this volume is generously filled with photos of the letters themselves. This book is not for the beginner in the Ripper mythology as it focuses strictly on the letters and will be of most interest to those who have a basic understanding of the case already. This volume is a worthy addition to the Ripper books and will keep the legend alive for the next generation.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful sourcebook on the Ripper letters. After all these years and so many books on the Whitechapel Murders there still is no clear culprit or culprits in the murders. The scores of letters supposedly sent by the killer(s) are an astounding body of fakery. Are any of them real? Who knows? But they do show the lengths to which the public went to keep the story boiling in the newspapers. Thank you Mr. Evans for pulling together the variety of letters and providing color images of many. A definite read for murder mystery enthusiasts!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Most Ripper books are instantly forgettable, or worse. Some are downright frauds. However, any book bearing the name Stewart P. Evans should be considered a 'must read'...and, in fact, they are. If you don't already have it, buy it...now.
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Format: Paperback
Evans and Skinner present an 8x11 sized 'coffee-table book' containing letters purportedly from Jack the Ripper. The letters included are designated ones that were signed some form of JtR. The authors don't tell you they are faked or real but present them to you so you can analyze them for your own determination. There's no real way of telling if any of them were actually written by the Whitechapel murderer. The biggest bonus of this book is the fantastic photos of the letters; they are simply marvellous (5 stars). The book is worth the price for the photos alone. I found the 'discussion' of the letters dry and lacking of an actual analysis by the authors (3 stars). Also included are sample handwritings from a few Ripper suspects. Looking and comparing these were fascinating and there is quite a resemblence between the first 'Dear Boss' letter signed Jack the Ripper and a sample letter from William Bury; based on these, I'd be pretty suspicious of Bury (although that's not who I believe was the Ripper). Evans does a very good couple of chapters regarding the McCormick book about the Ripper and Dr. Dutton.

Overall, the text is okay for the first 2/3 of the book but then gets better on the McCormick/Dutton, suspects chapters. However, the photos are the real seller of this Jack the Ripper text.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a fascinating and invaluable tool for looking into the mindset of the London public while the JTR murders were taking place. While I personally believe none of the letters came from the killer (save the possible exception of the Lusk letter), the letters themselves remain fascinating some grotesque and some being very eloquent. At a time when I'm tired of the latest suspect theory being thrown about, this book is a welcome change.
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