The Five

The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
Narrated by: Louise Brealey
Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
Categories: History, European
4.5 out of 5 stars (171 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London - the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper.

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden, and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates; they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.

For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that "the Ripper" preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, but it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria, but of poverty, homelessness, and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time - but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.

©2019 Hallie Rubenhold (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    102
  • 4 Stars
    49
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    108
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    100
  • 4 Stars
    44
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Finally...A Voice for the Voiceless

This book is a well-written and well-narrated story revealing the realities of the lives of the victims of Jack the Ripper. We all know the names of and, sometimes, sensationalize murderers like Jack the Ripper. We, in general, don't know the names of the people who were slaughtered. Finally, someone has brought to light and life, if you will, the everyday lives of the women who were cruelly ripped from the world by monsters. After listening to this book, I will make sure to, at least, learn the names of people who are victims of "celebrity" killers. Many thanks to the author of this book for placing these women in the forefront instead of glorifying a vicious killer. My way of thinking has been changed by this book. Please, if you are a true crime aficionado, give this book a listen and, maybe, your way of thinking about crime will be challenged and changed too.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Everyone needs to read/listen to this book

This is outstanding, and if it doesn't make you angry AF I don't know what to say. I had to break this up over time because I would get so livid that I stopped following the story.

These women have been erased in favor of their killer, we practically celebrate him, but I have never heard more than the names of these women before now. The sheer horror of life as a woman in Victorian times, and even more enraging, how many of those attitudes are still negatively affecting women today cannot be minimized. The unending pregnancies women were forced to endure is unbearable, but then you layer that with the fact that women were blamed for literally everything, and given almost no credit for what they did do it becomes overwhelming.

These women have been dismissed as prostitutes throughout the narrative surrounding the Ripper obsession, but this shows that they were not with one temporary exception. But worse than that is the attitude that they deserved what happened to them. Regardless of how these women were forced to live their lives, and the completely understandable alcoholism that resulted from what they lived through, they deserve to be recognized, not as The Ripper's victims, but as the women they were.

I highly recommend this book. Everyone should read or listen to this, it will open your eyes.

Audio: Fantastic, I would love to listen to more from this narrator.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent example of the historian's craft.

Too often ripperology becomes an exercise in requoting earlier claims and takes. This book takes a fresh, and well researched take on the subject.
Add in a top notch narration and this is well worth listening to.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

tale of the oppression of women in 1880

loved it .. tells the real life struggles of women in the 1880s .. men less and penniless ... parallels with homeless women of today.. crazy similar .. love the performance voice .. so relaxed and genuine

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Five

Although I felt I was reading a college thesis paper,, I still felt the information was interesting.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Smash the Patriarchy!

Author breathes life into each woman by telling her personal story in relation to the social constructs of the era in which she lived. Author concludes by linking the past to the present, illustrating the pervasive lenses of misogyny with which many people view both the past and the present. Smash the patriarchy, dammit.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting, but definitely not for everyone.

I found this look at JTR's victims and the lives of working class families, especially females, in Victorian Britain to be fascinating. But it's not a 'true crime' book because it doesn't revolve around details of the murders or, obviously, the perpetrator(s), so anyone looking for that type of book will likely be disappointed.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting New Angle on Old Story

Narrator did the best she could with what reads almost like a textbook. While it's an interesting angle it gets to be a bit long and there are lots of names and date that are hard to keep straight. This may have been easier to follow if there was a visual timeline / visual family trees included.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Boring

Really appreciate the research and the focus on victims as innocents, not villains. A good reminder of the respect and compassion we should have on those who are harmed. However I found this to be a boring book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting insight into lives of Victorian women

The author paints a very interesting picture of the lives of women in Victorian London. Even more exactly and sorrowfully, a vivid picture of the lives of poor, often alcoholic, women of the time. That part was quite enlightening, and would have made for an excellent story in its own right. However, when it comes to the story of The Five, it becomes considerably more speculative than the author lets on. The book is full of "would have been", "could have been", and "it's likely that". So, I'll give the author credit for honesty, that there isn't really enough information to make a definitive call on their vocation (except when the traditional claims are confirmed).

It's only in the final chapter when a surprising geyser of anger comes forth, when the book soured for me a bit. I'm sure it's justified, battling the misogyny which permeates society, then and now. It just seems like the author had a powerful message to make in one hand, and a lot of historical information about the lives of poor women (in general) in the Victorian era in the other. But they never quite click, and it makes for an uneasy marriage.