Read They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper by Bruce Robinson Online

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The iconoclastic writer and director of the revered classic Withnail & I—"The funniest British film of all time" (Esquire)—returns to London in a decade-long examination of the most provocative murder investigation in British history, and finally solves the identity of the killer known as "Jack the Ripper."In a literary high-wire act reminiscent of both Hunter S. ThompThe iconoclastic writer and director of the revered classic Withnail & I—"The funniest British film of all time" (Esquire)—returns to London in a decade-long examination of the most provocative murder investigation in British history, and finally solves the identity of the killer known as "Jack the Ripper."In a literary high-wire act reminiscent of both Hunter S. Thompson and Errol Morris, Bruce Robinson offers a radical reinterpretation of Jack the Ripper, contending that he was not the madman of common legend, but the vile manifestation of the Victorian Age's moral bankruptcy.In exploring the case of Jack the Ripper, Robison goes beyond the who that has obsessed countless others and focuses on the why. He asserts that any "gentlemen" that walked above the fetid gutters of London, the nineteenth century's most depraved city, often harbored proclivities both violent and taboo—yearnings that went entirely unpunished, especially if he also bore royal connections. The story of Jack the Ripper hinges on accounts that were printed and distributed throughout history by the same murderous miscreants who frequented the East End of her Majesty's London, wiping the fetid muck from their boots when they once again reached the marble floors of society's finest homes.Supported by primary sources and illustrated with 75 to 100 black and white photographs, this breathtaking work of cultural history dismisses the theories of previous "Ripperologists." A Robinson persuasively makes clear with his unique brilliance, The Ripper was far from a poor resident of Whitechapel . . . he was a way of life....

Title : They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper
Author :
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ISBN : 9780062296375
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 752 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper Reviews

  • ``Laurie Henderson
    2019-05-05 11:05

    I probably wouldn't have read this book about Jack the Ripper if not for the fact that Bruce Robinson was the author. Have you ever heard of Bruce Robinson? In the 1968 Zefferelli, film version of Romeo and Juliet, Robinson played Romeo's best buddy Benvolio. Still don't remember? Here's a few photos to refresh your memory.Ok, I was 13 when I saw that film and I thought he was gorgeous as a young man. Sadly, his alcohol addiction ruined his good looks and probably his acting career so he started writing screenplays receiving rave reviews for his movie "Withnail and I" based on his experiences as a young actor in the Swinging London of the 60's. i didn't care for this movie too much as it showed 2 young actors drinking themselves to death.But anyway, back to Jack. This nearly 800 page tome is meticulously researched and brings a lot of hidden things to light. Robinson believes that Jack was a Freemason since the Ripper's murders all copied Freemasonic, ritual murder punishments, in store for any member betraying the Craft. After rigorous research of the Freemasons Robinson reveals that all the leading characters in government and the criminal justice system were all Freemasons as well. He thinks this is why the Ripper was never found or why they tried so hard not to find the Ripper. Jack was taunting them all with his high-jinks according to the author. Robinson becomes quite upset at times as he reveals the wretched lives of the poor Whitechapel victims and angry that more wasn't done to relieve the sufferings of the poor of that era. I completely understand his feelings but that is no reason to use the F word 500 times in anger. In fact, Robinson has quite a vulgar mouth which I found hard to believe since he looked so angelic as a youth.I don't think it's too much to ask of an author to write books in a civilized manner using good English instead of relying on cursing to make his point.If you can overlook the foul language you will probably find this book as fascinating as I did.

  • Edward Higgins
    2019-04-30 13:53

    This is Bruce Robinson at his best. It is a testament to his writing that this sprawling exposé of the Victorian corruption and the Jack the Ripper investigation entirely sweeps you away in an odd fusion of storytelling and furious invective. I recall Robinson, in Alistair Owen’s excellent 'Smoking in Bed', remark that he had just completed a ’Ripper script and was irked by the release of (the very middling) 'From Hell'. Evidently, that was the beginning of this journey, and here – 15 years later – this meticulously-researched and very funny book is the result. Personally, it had me from the first mention of ‘a satchel full of wombs’.

  • Antonomasia
    2019-05-02 15:05

    It's difficult to overestimate how much I wanted to love this book. Eight hundred pages of Bruce Robinson...oh, wow. I even wrote a squee-ing pre-release review, and I [otherwise] never do that. Although I've taken months to finish the book, ever since publication I've been checking reviews and ratings, hoping that it's doing well with others. Like supporting a team that's not playing their best, you may still badly want them to win, even if those wins happen by a series of flukes or odd refereeing decisions that you don't think the performance as a whole truly deserved.Reading They All Love Jack was at times an exercise in learning to understand noisy, rabid internet fandoms - like Doctor Who and Sherlock - when they pour forth questions and criticisms that made a semi-outsider like me wonder "why watch the damn thing in the first place if you don't like it?" I think I got some idea about all the love and personal meaning, and a kind of possessiveness, that from the inside, at my age, feels wrong. Those same contemporary fan cultures are usually clear that possessiveness between characters is fucked-up: when person A wants person B to be the way A would like, rather than A being comfortable with B being themselves. But the fandom-fans are often possessive of the TV series in a similar way, wanting it to do and show the right things, whether it's politically or artistically - 'the right things' being what they'd script. Although the programme is an independent entity, this type of fan has made it part of their own identity, and online comments show that changes and new storylines affect whether someone is proud or disappointed to call themselves a fan.I'd never been that interested in Jack the Ripper. But as preparation for this book, I did watch a handful of episodes of Ripper Street, and read a fair bit on the casebook.org site. From that and a couple of other online sources, I decided back in summer 2014 that the most plausible known suspects were, in no particular order: Bury, Chapman and Tumblety, though the history and content of the Maybrick diaries, and associated items (the watch etc.) merited consideration. [Thing I hate most about Ripper material, and which was hard to get away from on that site: seeing the photographs of the dead women frequently. It's obvious their pictures were never taken while they were alive, a reflection of the times, technology, poverty and social attitudes. But it was still horrid to see repeatedly. I read They All Love Jack on a basic e-ink reader, which made it easy not to look closely at the very grimmest stuff, like pictures of the dead Mary Kelly.]Ripperology has long been a notorious crank subculture, and the online forums were fascinating to read, for a few hours, at least. By no means does everyone sound like a crank, rooting for their favourite suspect whilst ignoring holes and uncertainties in the case. Some do think the case will never be solved; some bring what looks like professional-style rigour to a micro-study (such as a recent book by a descendent of the suspect Chapman). Blatantly disregarding Updike's first rule of book reviewing, I'd love this to have been partly [a Jon Ronson style?] anthropology of ripperology alongside a portrait of the writer as reluctant ripperologist. It could start with the contrarian's instinctive dislike of ripperology (instead shown throughout this book); then look at its variety more closely, observing things to like and dislike, and the intellectual rabbit hole - or vast warren - it constitutes, the timesink Casaubon project it has been for so many who might have been more productive or interesting on something less hackneyed, all their new writing adding to the burden of secondary sources for those following behind; an emerging acceptance that one perhaps is a sort of ripperologist, examination of the addictive/compulsive nature of the pursuit, and why one is, why people in general, are drawn to it. Interviews give the impression that Robinson doesn't use the internet: it's obvious why someone who likes a quiet life, and who wants to control their own tendency to get caught up in obsessive research, might avoid it; nevertheless this is a pretty significant obstacle to examining and connecting with 21st century ripperology. (He mentions using a typewriter, and there was only one vague hint in the book towards anything online: the entirely sensible estimate that even these days – let alone 120 years ago – most people wouldn't be familiar with the name of a small foreign magazine.)I still expected some commentary on the attractions of Ripper research, especially, because, including Smoking in Bed, Robinson is conscious of a need to prove himself against impossible standards, from childhood on. Here he is working for 15 years on the most notorious unsolved mystery in British history. He also has form for lengthy investigation of conspiracies, e.g. in the research for his film script about Robert Oppenheimer, Fat Man and Little Boy, aka Shadowmakers. And years earlier, he seemingly sent himself up, playing on the way researching Victorian serial killers preyed on an anxiety-prone mind, in short story Paranoia In The Launderette, later adapted without official credits as part of the film A Fantastic Fear of Everything. So I assumed similar self-deprecation would be present here: a ruthless questioning of one's own methods and the tendency to apophenia, rather than giving in to it without meticulous examination. But I'm not sure he likes writing narrative about himself directly: he talks to interviewers, he writes scripts, he used third person to write unflattering dark comedy characters based on himself, in Laundrette and The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman. Maybe memoir just isn't his thing. Rather, after a few chapters of gloriously vigorous ranting about Victorian corruption, Robinson starts on the Ripper case with what I instinctively felt to be the most far-fetched theory in the book, one likely to alienate a few readers: the idea that the pattern of mutilations related to Masonic oaths. (I'd have had less trouble accepting the theory if the victims had been male - and masons, or other men who could have been perceived as having made and broken a promise to their murderer, or resembled a man who had. I think the typical [sexist] Victorian man, let alone a serial killer, regarded women as a different class altogether and it would not have occurred to him to treat a female prostitute as a brother mason who had failed. If, that is, we assume the killer was not in the middle of a complete psychological disintegration that would have precluded repeated organised, effective getaways. I think any mutilations' correlation with Masonic lore is just that, a chance correlation, and they were carried out for whatever more typical reasons serial killers do these things. Likewise, I cannot be persuaded to attach any importance to the spelling of 'Juwes' written on the wall. The Ripper letters as discussed later in the book show ample examples of fake misspellings of simple words by someone who got more advanced vocab correct, and I see no reason not to read it the same way, as mischief re. potential public order problems and probably antiSemitism. In a long interview for this book, I was delighted to read that Robinson had found out who his real father was after all these years - and he was Jewish. Obviously Robinson was aware anyway of anti-Jewish feeling in the Victorian East End, but I couldn't help wonder if knowing about his father earlier might have altered his approach a little.Another early disappointment was the treatment of the Cleveland Street Scandal. Any other writer would get a full-on, bad-Robinson-impression rant from me for handling the topic this way, but Bruce is forgiven to a significant degree because he never quite recovered from being harrassed and assaulted by predatory gay men during his [extremely pretty] youth. Most people - including several gay & bi men of my acquaintance - don't have any problem with the character of Uncle Monty in Withnail; there will have been men who behaved like that, and undoubtedly there were more of them when gay life was less mainstream. But the way this text equates the corruption of the Cleveland Street affair (it sounds as if all the young men involved had consented, it doesn't seem to have been child abuse) with alleged Jack the Ripper coverups isn't right. It's fair to discuss how people with aristocratic connections blatantly got away with actions that were illegal at the time. That's corruption. But there's also the matter that consensual gay sex, whether or not payment or favours were involved, shouldn't have been illegal. (And if it had been legal, would all those men even have visited rent boys?) In drawing any parallel about corruption, it should be clear that the men involved in Cleveland Street are not being equated with a murderer. I reckon Robinson wanted to cite the framing of Charles Parnell here as well, but it ended up relegated to the appendices, probably at the behest of an editor; I'd have wanted the Cleveland Street story whittled down and rephrased, and mostly replaced in the main text with the Parnell/Piggott events, which read as even more appalling now than when they were discovered, deepening the picture of a rotten society.Robinson's is a love-it-or-hate-it style among online reviewers. (Before the advent of such beings I had no clue about the 'hate it' side, rants and hatchet-jobs having been a great institution of twentieth-century British arts journalism… and surely one knew not to publish a book or release an album if unable to take it.) It's curious how many find it unacademic, or unprofessional – yet some of the most inspiring university academics I've heard spoke rather like this in person, albeit with marginally less in the way of swearing and sweeping statements; the standard register for books and journals is very different. And that's what, stylistically, makes They Love Jack so interesting once we're away from the most outlandish bits. It's the sort of discourse, the sort that would make Hitchens seem a tad dull and reserved, that's too rarely found in books, so much of it lost to the ether in conversation, or at best, online posts if one stumbles on them. I shan't deny that Robinson's looks (esp. 15-20 years ago... though at nearly 70 he still looks better than many 50-yr-olds) slightly influence just how much I enjoy his writing, finding its wit, boldness and verve positively sexy - without, as with other writers, any tempering via unattractive pictures; but I would like it, ooh, at least 95% as much anyway. The pungency of the language feels necessary as a way of standing up to horror; the possibility of swearing as armour, as defence, is one of those things some us who swear quite a lot would perhaps rather others didn't realise, the "muscularity" of the language overlaying soft vulnerability somewhere inside. The choice of words to reflect how Victorian society regarded prostitutes, in the manner of free indirect style, seems to have offended a few readers unfamiliar with the narrative form, but from time to time raw compassion appears, all the more emotive for the shift in tone: We can look at the photograph below as if it’s a monstrosity from some long-forgotten sideshow, a waxwork or a work of fantasy. But it isn’t, and it’s horrifying. This was a young woman, poor as dirt, but she had a life, it belonged to her, and the infinite sadism of this most horrendous of murderers has left her like this forever.In a non-fiction book this length, there are inevitably sometimes several pages between outstanding sentences but - apart from when I stopped for weeks after watching 4 episodes of Hannibal… for me that plus this was serial killer overkill, regardless of what anyone looked like - the style and the promise of more brio, plus actual laughs, kept me going through the rest of the info. (And even distracted from the frankly irritating habit of prefixing masons' names with 'Bro'. Yeah, I get the pun already, they're destructive overgrown Bullingdon frat boys. It's repeated in the manner of a bore who ceaselessly uses a politician's satirical nickname, never varying it with the real one. And Robinson is very, very rarely a bore. Except perhaps about the grapes...) There's no-one else, barring a small number of friends whose writing I really like, for whom I'd have even considered reading a Ripper doorstopper.The centrepiece of Robinson's case is a stunning analysis of letters. My faith in him returned after all the chuntering about Masonic iconography; In all the interviews and books I've read and films I'd watched, don't think I'd found him intellectually formidable before, aside from humour, but here…- Best of all is the relation of content in various letters to one another, and playing with words and phrases and oblique allusions. The textual analysis and psychology is rather awesome. Although I think we could have done with systematic mentions of which bits riffed on letters that had been published in newspapers. Drawings in two different letters are quite obviously by the same hand.- As someone who has different handwritings for various levels of required legibility or contexts, and who also notices their writing change with mood and energy level, I don't need persuading that one person can write differently, whilst small similarities in letter shapes may show up. (I think pressure may be significant but a) you can't see it on photos, and b) little idea how that worked pre-biros. I wondered if there were different 'families' of writing among the letters. He didn't even mention the possible influence of habitually writing musical notation on the little wings on some letters, which would have added to his case.)- If a diagram were to be made of the book's argument, the very centre would be the forensic analysis of the part kidney sent to local vigilante George Lusk, extremely likely to have been Eddowes' given disease, and the accompanying 'From Hell' letter. Then it would be a matter of seeing which of the more questionable, letters related in a web. The address to send Lusk's letter may have been obtained by a tall man who would fit the description of Robinson's favoured suspect Michael Maybrick. However, the other witness descriptions Robinson considers reliable are not always consistent, particularly on suspect height. I think a 6 footer would have really stood out in a slum full of undernourished people.- The explanation of how letters could be posted on mail trains at stations and ships in port, thus making them seem to have come from somewhere else, even the USA, was fascinating and ingenious. Unfortunately lists of Maybrick's tour dates for autumn 1888 are not given (not extant?).- The relationship to M.Maybrick of words & phrases in letters made me exclaim out loud more than once: Conduit Street 'diggings', his former residence, where police chief Warren had also worked on archaeological research, and a signature 'May_bee', interpreted as an audacious play on [email protected] Hall. I began to understand why some intelligent people were prepared to accept (as here) or seriously consider Robinson's theory, and how it got onto the Samuel Johnson Prize longlist - this is an analysis that will appeal to literary types, and one I think others would do well to use signficant elements of - and I now felt it wasn't terribly unreasonable after all for the author to think he might have 'got him'.- A couple of the letters feel unconvincingly overinterpreted; for instance the commentary on the one signed 'Andy Handy', when compared with the text, sounds like too much has been read into it.- I'm conscious of what I don't know, and Victorian history is not my area. How common were some of the trademark wordplays and references? Where might people have got them, maybe newspapers or music hall songs? (No crosswords yet.) How often did late Victorian people in general fail to use stamps on letters (a habit of both the Ripper and M.Maybrick)? How often did they hand write 'On Her Majesty's Service'? And were these trademarks made public? There is no mention of the individuals who were arrested as hoax letter writers or of whether any of the letters mentioned here were ever ascribed to them. It is not clear how many letters Robinson considers genuine. I've seen it asked why Maybrick didn't write lyrics professionally, only tunes, if he was adept with wordplay – but that isn't the same as an easy talent for writing lines that scan, so it's neither here nor there.There are a couple of other significant and persuasive features of Robinson's case that one can't be quite sure of without extensive knowledge of specialist historical context. There was something apparently very strange going on with the persistent suppression of witnesses such as Lawende and Packer, and sloppiness with (or wilful misuse of) evidence, and poor policing. Some of this I find easy to put down to sheer laziness, poor decision-making, and a systemic disrespect for the safety and opinions of working class people. The consistency with which useful evidence is disregarded appears to be odd, more than merely slapdash, but how does it look in the context of a large number of inquests and police investigations from, say, a decade either side? How out of the ordinary was it? It's clear that the Florence Maybrick case (on which more commentators are inclined to accept M.Maybrick's culpability) was singular and there are numerous quotes from the time indicating that. Whereas the trial of William Barrit for the murder of Johnnie Gill looks like the sort of thing everyone is used to from crime fiction, far less like a real conspiracy: chief super said we've got to charge someone, poor bloke was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It also appears very odd the extent to which James and Michael Maybrick had been expunged from records: both from some Masonic records, Michael not mentioned in autobiographies and musical encyclopaedias that far less successful contemporaries were: his London associates, in writing at least, went silent about him in the early 1890s. But what other reasons might there have been for this apart from being known by gossip to be the Ripper (or his brother)? Might it just have been because of Florence Maybrick? And/or because Michael was thought to be gay, as it's hinted several times? (Have there even been any recorded serial killers whose primary sexual attraction was towards men but who killed [mostly] women?) Impending sexual scandal alone might explain why M. Maybrick suddenly married his older housekeeper and left London for the Isle of Wight, from where it would also be easy to flee abroad if necessary. Bloody difficult to research absence, but did comparable others also disappear from records? Can we work out why they did?Last paragraphs of this post are in Comment #2. Quotes from the first half of the book are in the status updates.

  • Bill Lynas
    2019-05-09 09:05

    I'm not sure how many books I've read on the subject of Jack The Ripper over the years (perhaps too many ?), but this is one of the best. At over 800 pages it's not a short read, so I have been reading it in stages over the last four months. Most people will remember Bruce Robinson as the writer & director of the classic film Withnail & I, so what is his take on the Ripper ? Well, his research is incredible. The amount of detail is occasionally overwhelming, but always fascinating. In page after page he tears apart the myth of Jack The Ripper & puts together a very convincing arguement as to the killer's identity. While I may not be totally convinced with his solution it is a very credible one. Robinson doesn't pull any punches with his language either, but his use of swearing & slang do not detract in any way from his authoritative voice. Along with the excellent The Complete Jack The Ripper by Donald Rumbelow this is one of the definitive books on the subject......unless, of course, someone else comes up with another one in the future.

  • Chris
    2019-05-19 10:53

    I wanted to like this, but I hate, HATE, Robinson's style. I really don't understand the need for the cursing or name calling. I truly don't. But I really want to know who romanticizes the Victorian era, outside of romance novelists. Because I don't know any reputable historian that does, as Robinson seems to claim. Robinson seems to hate English people, in particular of the Victorian era, because they are violent. How did this get a hardcover run is beyond me.

  • Randy
    2019-05-15 09:02

    I am conflicted about this book.First, the author presents an excellent theory and candidate for Jack The Ripper. And more than that, I think he helps to resolve many of the "mysteries" that are actually coverups and obfuscations from the elite and Masonic insiders of the day.However . . .The author, justifiably, despises the Victorians. He is completely undone by their corruption and hypocrisy. Undone. He takes an initially funny, pissed off voice to attach them. What makes the book initially fresh and interesting quickly becomes unbearable, unreadably frustrating through this long, long book. Moreover, the author simply cannot lay out a clean, orderly narrative. He jumps about and it is exhausting. I hope that someone takes up the challenge, uses the author's research and theories, and writes a better book. Pro: I accept Robinson's nominee as the actual JTR. It all makes so much more sense from this perspective. Con: I would not inflict this writing on anyone. Wait for the movie (and it would make a good one).

  • Nigeyb
    2019-05-14 14:02

    'They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper' is the second book I have read in 2017 that exposes breathtaking levels of corruption within the British establishment. The other is the excellent 'A Very English Scandal' (about “the Thorpe affair”). In 2016 I also read 'In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile'. A book that reveals how Savile's relationships with members of the Royal family, and then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, helped him to get away with abuse on a horrendous scale. Factor in the decades long fight for justice by the bereaved families of the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy, and numerous other cover ups we can all recall, and we could all be forgiven for thinking this is just business as usual. Bruce Robinson chronicles a forensic examination of the Jack The Ripper "mystery" and concludes there is no mystery. He fingers the killer and the reasons the establishment surpassed evidence, stymied police investigations, and perverted justice to allow him to remain untouched. All the while the killer sent numerous letters to the police stating what he had done, and would do. It's astounding.'They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper' is a whopping 850 pages and is both exhaustive and exhausting - but necessarily so - and by the end the reader is left in no doubt that Bruce Robinson has uncovered the truth. Jack the Ripper's mutilations were inspired by the occult mythology of Freemasonry. Senior police officers and coroners - Masons to a man - were therefore keen to conceal this aspect of his crimes. The Ripper's murders mocked and perverted masonic rituals and beliefs, and were clearly the work of a Mason. Needless to say, uncovering this after 15 years of research has made Bruce Robinson very angry and his righteous indignation, complete with ripe language and furious invective, might not be to everyone's taste but I found it entirely appropriate.

  • Reese Copeland
    2019-05-07 15:17

    Very interesting theory about Jack the Ripper. Author sometimes comes off as snaky and arrogant, but this is mistaken for someone who has done clear research and can back up why he believes what he believes and why others are wrong.

  • Angus McKeogh
    2019-05-07 14:08

    I could not stop reading this thing. And it comes in at about 1000 pages. At times some of Robinson's digressions were a little long-winded. But ultimately, unlike any other "expert" I've previously read, he offers his culprit and then makes all the evidence stick with facts from primary sources. A wild read. A fount of knowledge and information I hadn't previously been given access to. A really great read. Gripping. And as he states...I think he's "Busted the Ripper".

  • Ian
    2019-05-21 12:13

    This book is an absolutely astonishing achievement. It is a compelling, fascinating read. It is also somehow totally Robinsonian (I'm coining that now, if it hasn't already been) in its style and tone, turn of phrase ("He couldn't look at a bottle of ink without fishing it for lies"), humour and forward momentum. You may perhaps think that humour should play no part in a narrative on this subject, but be assured that it is of the dark variety; the very dark, (yet somehow frequently laugh-out-loud funny), raging, contemptuous variety. It's a howl at the sheer awfulness and tragedy that none of the perpetrators, be it 'Jack' himself, those complicit in the immunity he enjoyed and exploited to the full, or the many others who played a part in associated, Establishment-preserving deceits, could now be brought to justice; indeed their many crimes will probably now go unacknowledged by the vast majority. Because though of course central to it, the story of the Whitechapel murders is far from being the only topic of discussion and tireless research in this book. The scene is set, and precedent established, by a summary of the Cleveland Street Scandal and subsequent cover-up, among other disgraceful tales of corruption on a huge scale and the complete breakdown of the British justice system (one of the book's appendices deals with the framing of Irish politician Charles Parnell). The book concludes with a description of the disgraceful 'trial' and eventual downfall of Florence Maybrick, orchestrated entirely by Robinson's candidate for the 'Whitechapel Fiend'. Ultimately, and in contrast to other, reductive approaches, Robinson's takes the wider view, embracing events that span many years and involving many actors in a complex chain of events, to arrive at a candidate for the Ripper that explains or helps resolve a host of associated 'mysteries', many now almost totally forgotten (the murder of poor Johnnie Gill being particularly harrowing for this reader. And for this crime - another so-called mystery, they tried to hang an obviously innocent milkman) . Even if you disagree with Robinson's conclusions, the indefatigable and wide-reaching research behind it is monolithic and staggering, and will have to be confronted and addressed by those choosing to pursue this subject further and/or wishing to refute its claims. I pity those who try. I believe this to be the definitive work on the 'mystery'. Here's to Bruce Robinson!

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-27 10:13

    First things first: there is something here to trigger or offend practically everyone, so don't say I didn't warn you. Robinson's acid commentary on the Ripper investigation is by turns horrifying and hilarious, and he saves his most brutal sallies for the capital-E 'Establishment' of Victorian England. And while I'm not sure I buy into the Masonic connection he puts forth, it's clear he's done a great deal of research, and has turned up details I hadn't seen in 20 years of reading true crime books and accounts of the Jack the Ripper killings and subsequent investigations. His solution is masterfully presented, and if nothing else, the trials of Florence Maybrick and William Barrit should give any lover of Victoriana pause.

  • Keith Swallow
    2019-04-24 10:04

    It's probably inevitable that ratings of such a book will be at one of the two extremes, but I am puzzled why some people have scored it poorly when they openly admit that they have little knowledge of the subject area (sometimes only having read the book because of respect for the author). It is clearly aimed at those who are very familiar with the subject, and why anybody else would shell out on this 800-page volume is baffling. Likewise, those that suggest it should be edited miss the point: the extent of the research is astonishing and needs to be presented in detail.Even more puzzling is those who dismiss it as ill-informed and suggest that Robinson has just plucked a name out of a hat. This is absurd, and suggests that these reviewers have not bothered to even finish it. I do not claim to be an expert, but have read many of the books and theories that have been put forward in relation to JTR, and Robinson's case is far more plausible than most. I agree that some of the conclusions drawn from documents may appear tenuous, but many more are fully supported and I'd suggest that - in a court of law - they would collectively constitute very strong circumstantial evidence. This is about the best that you could hope for after so much time has elapsed. Not many of us are in a position to confirm that all the sources and documents drawn on are correct, and I certainly have no knowledge of the workings of freemasonry, but I don't accept that Robinson would fabricate or seek to misinterpret these; and, if he had, surely somebody would come forward to challenge him. A case in point is that a number of freemasonry apologists dismiss Robinson's work as "just more of the same old tired lies". The fact that none of these sources has sought to demolish any of the individual issues that Robinson raises rather strengthens his case. For the basic premise is that the killings were perpetrated by a rogue freemason. The incompetence of the police and other authorities - dominated by freemasonry - was breathtaking, but is explained by the fact that the killings were so obviously masonic in their execution that a cover-up was instigated. Robinson makes this case very persuasively and - bearing the above caveat in mind - I am convinced by his argument.At the outset, the authorities were unsure who they were protecting, and it is unknown how many may have been aware of his identity as his "career" progressed. Robinson again produces sufficiently detailed research to convince me that Michael Maybrick penned most of the JTR correspondence and that, if he was not the murderer, then he was at least heavily involved in or knew the perpetrator of the events.I agree with another reviewer that it is disappointing that Robinson has not fully explored the Maybrick Diary angle. But I suppose that that is his prerogative - and others would complain that this would have made the book even longer. The inference is that Maybrick wrote the diary in a bid to frame his brother - if indeed it is contemporaneous. The trial of Florence Maybrick is covered in detail and, once again, the apparent incompetence of the police and defending counsel is attributed to a cover-up. This case is once more persuasively made, and it should be noted that even at the time the public - more used to accepting the machinations of the ruling classes than is the case today- expressed incredulity at the way the case was conducted. What is less easy to understand is what happened after the killings stopped. JTR may well have moved to the Isle of Wight and freemasonry been responsible for largely airbrushing the name of Michael Maybrick from history - but it is a mystery to me how this changing of history would have been achieved (and again raises the question of how many would have been "in the know"). And, although accepting that it may have been a hatred of his sister-in-law that drove him to such bestial acts, the fact that he could hang up his knife and live out the rest of his life as a respectable and worthy citizen doesn't sit too comfortably.But - and in conclusion - for anyone with a serious interest in the "JTR mystery" (a phrase, incidentally, for which Robinson has no time), this is a must read.

  • Peter
    2019-05-01 09:51

    I'm not 100% sold on Robinson's argument, but it's definitely one of the more credible and well-plotted theories I've read.

  • Karen
    2019-05-14 12:14

    I put my normal activities on hold this week to read this superb book as I couldn't put it down. The identity of Jack the Ripper is such a contentious area for writers but I'm totally won over by Bruce Robinson's incredible detail and research. I think he puts forward a very convincing argument and all credit to him for his commitment to the subject. I like the fact that he is very open in his condemnation of numerous individuals and his colourful turn of phrase makes for a very entertaining read. A brilliant book.

  • Emelie
    2019-05-05 09:15

    All I could think when the book ended was: Finally. Listening to the audiobook, it lost me a long time ago. I thought it would be interesting with all the info and stuff stuffed into the book, but it was too much, and I oftentimes wondered what it had to do with the mystery of Jack the Ripper.Maybe I would feel different about the book and liking it more had I read a physical copy instead. But now I just felt I had to finish listen to it as I already had put in so many hours into it.

  • Mindi
    2019-05-03 10:03

    Review to follow...I definitely intend to get caught up on these soon!

  • Kevinjwoods
    2019-05-17 15:54

    Quite possibly the worst book on Jack The Ripper ever written and that takes a lot.There are quite a few problems with his theory so lets take them in no particular order of stupidity:Anytime he fails to discover any evidence to back up his claims he simply explains that this is because of a conspiracy to remove the evidence by the Masons, and his sole evidence for this conspiracy seems to be that there is no evidence to back up his claims.His main evidence that a Mason did it is because of the Spelling of Juwes, but can't provide any examples of this spelling in Masonic Literature and ignores the idea that up until fairly recently spelling itself of many words was shall we say flexible.The idea that the entire police force would help to cover up for the murderer is simply ludicrous, you have to remember that every day the murders were being reported in the press and he expects us to believe that the entire police force decided not to investigate, in reality there are reports that they interviewed thousands of witnesses and had hundreds of suspects.He assumes that all the press reports are accurate and all the police reports are false which leads him down paths that don't quite follow, for example he quite bit about the fact that the police failed to follow up the clue that one of the victims was seen being bought grapes before they were killed, and uses this as evidence they were incompetent, actually this was not a major clue for the simple reason that the post mortem revealed no evidence she had consumed grapes that night, if that was true then the natural assumption is that the shopkeeper was mistaken.He also assumes the double murder was planned in advance, solely based on a random letter sent to the press, overturning over a century of assumptions that the murderer was either interrupted in the act and had to flee or the first was another unrelated killer, these letters are frequently sited as being from the killer ad even at one point the fact that they were being sent from around the world in different handwriting is cited as clear evidence, again he decides at one point that it was possible to have a letter be given a postmark from New York and posted in Liverpool and then reats this as evidence it was done this way.He seems to believe that the heads of various police departments were perfectly fine with losing everything in order to protect the killer simply because he was a fellow mason, and would do so in such a cackhanded fashion that it was obvious this was what they were doing.He also fails to provide any evidence linking his killer to the murders, indeed in some cases he can merely state that his suspect could have been in the same town as letters were sent from.To summarise he seems to have decided upon a theory and then proceeded to write as much words as possible in order to hide the fact that there is not a shred of actual evidence to back it up, in fact he seems genuinely to believe that Lack of Evidence is Evidence.

  • Anna Maria Ballester Bohn
    2019-04-27 09:08

    I chose this for the gore and for the insight into Victorian society, and stopped reading because of the arrogance. For the author everyone who has ever investigated the Jack the Ripper murders is either corrupt or stupid, in most cases both. Which would be a perfectly valid theory, since I'm not very invested in this matter either way, but he goes about stating this in a very inelegant way. I only made it halfway through. Half of the sentences go like this: "Even the most stupid of two year olds could see three hundred policemen wouldn't see right in front of them." He doesn't strike me as having many more facts than other "Ripperologists", he's just much more forceful about it. And many of his "facts" have to do with stuff like "no sane person would do this or that", "it is completely illogical for X to have done or said Y, so it couldn't have happened." Which leads me to ask myself if this person has spent time among humans, because we do stupid, illogical things all the time. Also, there was no gore. So, not for me. But I'm counting it because I read about 400 pages. Recommended if you enjoy feeling bullied by the books you read and, of course, if you like the Jack the Ripper mystery.

  • Akiong
    2019-05-14 10:08

    I was never interested in Jack the Ripper until I heard Bruce Robinson was on his case. Bruce tears apart the whole mystery myth of Jack the Ripper along with the rotten establishment that allowed him to continue with his evil hobby. Beautifully written, insightful, hilarious, compelling and extraordinary. A very rare treat.

  • Mitchell Kaufman
    2019-05-11 13:58

    Yet another theory attempting to identify Jack the Ripper, and not a very convincing one. The author is so busy criticizing British society in the 1880's for most of the book and spends much of his time positing that the perpetrator was known, but covered up by those trying to protect societal elites. There are much better books for the Ripperologists out there.

  • Rachel Kasch
    2019-05-01 09:53

    4 for the research, 2 for the attitude. The author displays a clear animosity for the British aristocracy which permeates the book. I think he could have made his case for a cover-up better if he had used a more academic tone.

  • Ben
    2019-05-14 16:04

    I'm tempted to say the only Jack the Ripper book you need to read, but it won't do if you don't know the basis chronology of events. There again, nearly everyone does know them by now. Robinson's text is encyclopaedic, his thesis closely argued and proved very convincingly through immense attention to detail, including accounts of many murders ignored by other writers and careful analysis of the many Ripper letters. Whether or not you subscribe to Robinson's rather baroque full theory - there is no mystery, just a cover-up; the Ripper was Michael Maybrick, a senior freemason who left masonic symbols at the sites of his killings, framed his own brother (via 'The Diary of Jack the Ripper') whom he then poisoned, and was assured of his own freedom through the vulnerability of the masonic establishment - it does seem unarguable that there was a cover-up at some level. I enjoyed his argument that the police and judiciary were hopelessly compromised by their loyalty to a Masonic establishment that went from the Prince of Wales downwards. As you might expect from the man behind 'Withnail', the book is written in an enjoyably irreverent style (like Orwell at his most polemical), and extremely readable:'The English Establishment had a full-blown psychopath still active in their midst - but no problem, they could cope with the odd dead kid or two, even more with the odd dead whore. Their only problem was that if he got caught they all got caught, all the way up to the Grant Glutton. How could this profilgate prance around in his pinafore when he shared one with Jack the Ripper?' Excellent stuff. The only fault with the book is its structure -some 150 pages towards the end are devoted to the death of James Maybrick and the horrendously unfair trial of his widow Florence. Whilst this is undeniably gripping reading - a Stalinist show trial comes to mind - it could almost have been a separate book in its own right (I knew nothing about the case, though I had read about the comparable Charles Bravo case; his widow was also a Florence.)It's a hefty book, but you'll read it fast, specially if you have any interest in how history can be re-written to suit the Establishment. He is enjoyably cynical about the cult of 'Ripperology' and quite rightly questions the veneration with which even modern authors treat the pronouncements of such as Donald Swanson and Melville McNaghten. I can't help wondering if, given there was coverup, the truth is simpler. What about Thomas Cutbush? After all, he was a Superintendent's nephew, but he did not have any complex psychological motivation beyond being a psychopath and loner.

  • Donna
    2019-04-24 10:49

    It took me 20 days to finish but the things I've learned will stay with me for ever. A amazing read if you are like me and want to end the mystery of Jack.

  • Abigail
    2019-05-20 15:56

    3.5. I really enjoyed the first 200 pages of this, written in true Bruce Robinson style. However, while i enjoyed the rest of his Ripper research at times it went into such excruciating detail you just need to put it down and find your tv instructions to peruse for a bit of light relief.Still, i did enjoy the ride.

  • donna_ehm
    2019-04-29 14:59

    You guys, Bruce Robinson is pissed.His anger ("fury" might better describe his emotion at times, to be honest) at the upper-crust British Establishment - it's entitlements, power, influence, and corruption - fuel his examination and analysis of the Ripper mystery. I think that emotion results in a far more personal, engaging (and, at some points, pretty funny) book than what is typically produced on this particular topic. He's totally invested in his subject, and I sometimes felt that he wrote less to "solve" the mystery than he did to expose the rotten core of Victorian ruling classes, although his thesis inextricably binds the two together. His proposal of a cover-up of the Ripper's identity by those classes because all parties involved - the police, the judiciary, and the Ripper himself - were Freemasons, and Freemasonry essentially was the foundation of Britain's power elite, was compelling. I am not familiar with "Ripperology" at all so I cannot compare Robinson's theory and defense against others but I do feel that many aspects of it were well supported by his research. His work on revealing the blunders, incompetence, and outright fraud on the part of the police during inquests was meticulous. I found it very interesting that many in the Victorian-era media - both major newspapers as well as local - were howling about miscarriages of justice when it came to the investigation of the Ripper. Journalists as well as the common men and women on the street knew something was up from the get-go. Robinson sources contemporary news accounts to show that many of the questions he raises were being asked then as well.Additionally, Robinson's efforts to analyze many of the Ripper letters was very illuminating. He really throws into question the conventional notion that many of these letters are forgeries done by hoaxers. His theory that the Ripper was Michael Maybrick, a composer and singer often on the road around England, is rather brilliantly tied into how these letters could all be genuine Ripper correspondence. I think Robinson's work on Michael Maybrick is compelling. The Masonic influence on the bodies and crime scenes of the Ripper was similarly well thought out, researched, and presented. I found it hard to deny some connection between the two. I think Robinson has excelled in researching, analyzing, and analyzing the available evidence and supporting documentation. The conclusions he draws from much of it are, to my mind, logical, clear, and sensible. Less clear is why Maybrick bows out of the role after murdering his brother James (as Robinson alleges), framing his sister-in-law for it, then naming James as Jack the Ripper to the authorities. Robinson himself notes that it's a bit of a puzzler to have psychopathic serial killer Jack the Ripper suddenly taking himself out of the Funny Little Game.Robinson's wider theory of a cover-up by the ruling establishment -because it was obvious to those involved in the case that the Ripper was a Mason and the Masons had to protect their institution above all else - is as good a theory as any other, to be honest. I think everyone will have their own idea of how feasible they think this is and how far they're willing to follow Robinson down that particular rabbit hole. I was certainly willing to go with it because it's obvious enough in our own time how people and corporate entities use and abuse their power. We've seen how far these entities will go to not just keep what they have but get more of it, any way they can. Nothing changes when it comes to power, influence, and money. Overall this is a fascinating read, and certainly more than enough to keep you thinking long after it's done.

  • Elysia Fionn
    2019-05-18 10:14

    Let me start by saying I love Bruce Robinson. I love his brain, I love his best thing ever ("Withnail & I"), and I love his sense of humoUr. (Capitalization mine, to emphasize British spelling tendencies)However, reading this book was rather an exercise - because it was SERIOUS. I'm used to the rambling, funny, raucous, un-politically-correct Bruce Robinson - and this was the very serious, I've-been-studying-this-for-twelve-years Bruce Robinson. A nearly complete departure. The only times he sounded like himself were when he let fly with the derisive commentary against the Powers That Be in Victorian England. Methinks his opinion of the PTB today is not much different.Even though I'm a voracious reader, and have been since a very young age, I still relate better to visual things. In the middle of this lengthy tome I found myself wishing there was a diagram provided, showing Michael Maybrick in the center, with lines outward to show the connections and thought processes by which Mr. Robinson comes to his theory. I had a pretty good handle on it in the beginning, but honestly by the end of the book it just felt like wading through piles of facts that my poor brain couldn't really attach to much.My favorite bits were the ones about the letters from the Ripper, because there were photocopies of the letters included, and I could actually SEE the handwriting similarities, the Masonic symbolism, and the other things which caught Mr. Robinson's eye. I completely agree with him where he says a lot of the letters called "hoaxes" by the obfuscating police department were, in fact, from the Ripper.I was amazed at the records of the Masons, some showing persons as members in earlier years, which later were expunged from the memory of all the brothers... there was definitely some tricky bookkeeping going on there (only they weren't so good at historical sweep-up or continuity). The thing that's hard about this book is that Bruce Robinson spent 12 years of his life investigating his topic. When you're that involved, that manic about a subject, it's really difficult to spread that to other people. It's sort of a "you had to be there" kind of thing. I should know... I've spent the last five years collecting vintage items seen in Bruce Robinson's masterpiece, "Withnail & I". If you're interested, just Google "Wall-O-Withnail" and you'll find me.The bad thing about becoming manic about an obscure or dusty topic is that most people won't resonate with it. The great thing about it is that the few people who DO resonate with it are going to be really excited about it. They will write to you, and sometimes send you cool things in the mail, like a personally inscribed original movie poster (from Bruce Robinson himself), or home brewed cider, or a license plate, or pieces of wallpaper (from other rabid, brilliant, generous Withnail fans). These are the people you really wrote the book / started the collection for. (Besides yourself, obviously.)I'm not sure if this book is food for the masses. It's more like a very big feast for a few very specific people. I'm glad I read it, because Bruce Robinson is fabulous and I would support any project of his. I hope it wins any and all awards it's up for.

  • Elspeth G. Perkin
    2019-05-21 09:03

    Historic homicides and wicked humor make one interesting long night…Being more accustomed to fictional imaginative twists of the infamous historic murder cases of Victorian England, in the beginning I simply came to They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper with a dark curiosity but a primed open mind to traipse down more practical alleyways of facts, and to finally explore the known evidence and be confronted with an intense determined new voice of historical research. Well this narrative certainly accomplished all that and I’m happy to say I received my full money’s worth of specifics concerning one (if not the most) baffling murder mysteries the world has ever known along with gritty investigative writing that well explained many (and presented some very convincing) theories but also found a devilishly amusing companion that had me laughing out loud and kept me eagerly leaned forward in my chair to hear more from night after night. I think it is safe to say, this is one of those books that depends entirely on finding the right reader for though. I can see where unwavering myths and beliefs collide with some surprising offensive disclosures in this intense work and some readers are sure to not like what they may see (or hear) in They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper.For this reader, I can’t honestly say I loved They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper but I did finish with my ears buzzing and mind twirling with lasting questions and respect for the research that was presented. Still after spending many nights with this impassioned title I also finished not entirely agreeing with this author’s long list of arguments and found the disconnected tone toward the victims, the confusing beginning context, fixation of certain clues and disappointing discarding of others (after a huge buildup) my main negatives with this book. That all fully aside, I would still readily recommend this book (audio version) to anyone who is prepared to explore the facts of the historic cases and the many gaslit alleyways of: elaborate conspiracies, mass corruption and sabotage, ancient society links, secret symbols and breakdowns of polite society all surrounding the greatest mystery that no writer could ever have penned or will probably ever correctly solve, but they sure are welcome to try and this reader will appreciate the effort.

  • Darren
    2019-04-30 11:16

    Robinson's theory is compelling, as is his writing. I don't find a Masonic/Establishment conspiracy to hide the identity of Jack the Ripper that hard to believe, particularly not after Robinson's persuasiveness. And like the author, I think there's something suspect, or at the very least lazy, in many of the other theories, accompanied by the dismissiveness of evidence.That said, this book is badly in need of an edit - Robinson will often make the same point several times, over a number of pages, only for the same points to be made a few pages later. He's also guilty of a bit of laziness himself, leaping over gaps in evidence with a 'it must be this' justification. I appreciated the anger and disgust he felt for both the murderer and those covering up his identity because anger is appropriate, but enjoyed less the homophobic insults he directed at some of them (including the murderer), especially when his evidence of the murderer's homosexuality boils down to the fact that he was a bachelor and hated women. It's a very different book about JTR, deliberately outside of the Ripperology industry, and when in the company of the book I was very close to being persuaded. Now I've finished it, I still reckon Robinson might be on to something but like every other theory, every other suspect and every other evaluation of evidence, we'll probably never know. I was most persuaded that the widely-debunked Ripper letters were probably genuinely from the killer - but whether this must also hang on accepting Robinson's candidate, I've yet to untangle.

  • Eamonn
    2019-04-30 12:11

    Blimey. A dazzling and unorthodox revision of the contexts of the murders ascribed to Jack the Ripper. Robinson takes a new tack, not only working towards a fresh suspect but critiquing the ways in which the murderer was allowed to commit his crimes. Robinson (the fella who wrote and directed Withnail and I) is both furious and detailed in his examination of the hypocrisy of late Victorian London, and in particular the ways in which the crimes were deliberately mishandled to provide cover for the murderer. While you're reading it, it's hard not to be enthralled by They All Love Jack. I'm not sure that Robinson's solution quite stacks up, but it's an intriguing and exhaustive reappraisal of well-covered territory. This is a book which will appeal to those who already have some knowledge of the 1888 murders, as Robinson assumes some knowledge, and does not waste his time in timelining the history of the murders; if you come to the topic area cold you may find some of it confusing. However, the links that Robinson makes, and the connections between this and another contemporary Victorian cause celebre, are fascinating. Also of huge interest is Robinson's facility with language. This is neither dry history nor crazed conspiracist, but a work of rage and purpose controlled through some meticulous research.

  • Sue
    2019-05-21 11:50

    This is an exhaustively researched book. Robinson has left no stone unturned in his quest to definitively name and shame the true Ripper. The bulk of historical Ripperology is turned on its head as Robinson picks apart scholar after scholar, calling them out as lazy or easily bought.Written in a laconic and irreverant style, They All Love Jack is meticulous in detail. This detail is at once its great strength and also its greatest flaw. There is a danger that readers not as dedicated as I might just give up before the 800-odd pages are through. After all, the Ripper suspect is revealed before the halfway mark and some might drop away, lost in documentation and extrapolation. But. That detail is precisely what convinces you that Robinson is on to something. That not only has he found the Ripper, but he has also exposed a terrible injustice done to a woman named Florence Maybrick.I do not want to spoil the delight of reading this worthy addition to the Ripper canon, so I won't reveal the suspect Robinson posits. You will all have to read for yourselves. This would have had a 5 star rating from me - but its length means I just couldn't do it.Highly recommended for Ripper fans anyway.