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Hallie Rubenhold

The Five
  • The Five

  • Hallie Rubenhold

    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, 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.


    HALLIE RUBENHOLD is a social historian whose expertise lies in revealing the stories of previously unknown women and episodes in history. By drawing upon a wealth of formerly unseen archival material and adding a full historical context to the victims’ lives, The Five promises to change the narrative of these murders forever.

Hallie Rubenhold is a social historian and an authority on women's lives of the past. She has worked as a curator for the National Portrait Gallery and as a university lecturer. Her books include Lady Worsley's Whim, dramatized by the BBC as The Scandalous Lady W, and Covent Garden Ladies: The Extraordinary Story of Harris's List, which inspired the ITV series Harlots. She lives in London with her husband.