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The five of the title are the five women that Jack the Ripper is - supposedly -  known to have killed.  There may be others who don't fit the Modus Operandi of these five but they are held to be the Canonical Five that he killed.  This book is a factual book about their lives and who they were, as far as can be ascertained now. 

 

I found this book fascinating.  The social mores of the day had it that these five women and women in general, especially working class women, did not stand a chance of a decent life. The author doesn't go into what happened to women (middle class and upwards) who were not destined to end up on the streets. As it turns out, there is no evidence and no testimony to prove that all five were prostitutes.  Only one self-identified and openly worked as a prostitute the rest were very destitute women who had taken up drinking as a result of the very harsh blows that life dealt them, and ended up homeless and destitute as a result, which is why they were classed as prostitutes.  Once that happens there is no hope.

 

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