Deconstructing Jack: The True History of the Whitechapel Murders

Simon Daryl Wood. Marywood, $19.95 trade paper (580p) ISBN 978-0692582-43-5
Wood’s thought-provoking reexamination of the prototypical unsolved murder mystery lives up to its billing as the Jack the Ripper Conference’s 2015 book of the year. With painstaking attention to detail and warranted skepticism toward previous accounts, Wood goes a long way toward debunking dozens of theories of the case and expands on the work of others who have questioned whether a single person was responsible for the 1888 murders. Wood plausibly casts doubt on even some of the most basic “facts,” asking, for example, whether the five women widely regarded as Jack’s victims were actually prostitutes. Unfortunately, he never provides conclusive proof of his provocative thesis “that, rather than a linear mystery, the Whitechapel murders were a series of discrete events, with a quasi-supernatural Jack the Ripper employed as an umbrella device to explain things away whilst whipping up a diversionary scare” as part of “a high-level cover-up.” Here, Wood offers intriguing speculation, rather than evidence—for example, he hints at a political agenda behind the Whitechapel murders, possibly connected with a judicial inquiry into criminal allegations by the Times against Charles Stewart Parnell and the Irish Home Rule Party. Serious students of the crimes can only hope that Wood further develops his own theories in a future volume. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 07/11/2016
Release date: 12/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 680 pages - 978-1-5472-4761-5
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