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The Autobiography of Jack the Ripper: In His Own Words--The Confession of the World's Most Infamous Killer Paperback – Nov 5 2012
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"An account by someone who was there, was at least a witness to the scenes of the murders and was potentially the perpetrator of the Jack the Ripper murders...a text that will no doubt be debated for years to come" Alan Hicken "This is the autobiography of a man who claims that for a few short weeks when he was a young man he killed several women in Whitechapel. It is either a genuine confession by Jack the Ripper, or it's an extraordinary novel. Or it is something else, but what? Only you can decide" Paul Begg "Whether it is truly real or not, that doesn't affect the engaging read that Carnac provides. We'll let you make your own mind up" entertainment-focus.com "As "Ripperature" it is not only important, but it is also unique" -- John Bennett Ripperologist magazine "Intricate and creepy" Daily Express
About the Author
Introduction written by renowned Ripperologist PAUL BEGG.
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The other review also accurately stated that while Parts I and III are interesting to read as fiction, Part II is desultory at best: this is the description of the Whitechapel Murders. After exquisite 'personal' detail in Part I of how his sanity and background allowed for him to develop the desire for 'slicing' the neck, the description of the murders is perfunctory at best. Of course that has been done by real Ripperologists (whom I suspect this so-called autobiographer consulted), but it would be impossible to compare this section of the book even to newspaper prose since that was sensational. This part is just what he 'did' without details easily available to the public. Also neither his physical description nor his geographical profile fit at all with witnesses of the time or recent psychological/geo profiles.
Part III again is good fiction, and I don't regret buying the book. But I cannot imagine any Ripperologist taking this seriously. To know what happened in 1888 and possibly 1889 suggests a deeply disturbed individual, although the purported author of the autobiography dismisses this aside from his so-called Voice. This 'Ripper' stops after the horrific murder of Mary Jane Kelly because of a leg amputation caused by an accident. Hardly plausible. Nor does it match with any of the documents Scotland Yard or the Metropolitan Police detectives produced at the time or after.
Finally, I think the provenance of the so-called manuscript is at the best dubious. Maybe, and I think this is the most probable supposition, someone of a literary cast of mind, decided to write a work of fiction around 1928-30, putting himself in the role. It would hardly be the first time someone had done that, and would explain a lot about his 'lack of desire' to speak in sordid detail about the murders.
I do not for a minute believe this is real. It contradicts every kind of geographic, sociological, psychopathic, and other kinds of profile of such a killer. All we learn of his motive is that he likes to slit throats because he was descended of executioners. Those very executioners were, despite their job, rather fastidious about not making people suffer unduly or overly gruesomely. Many executioners of earlier times even tried their best to minimize the sufferings of their victims. So did he kill, as he said, just because he liked the sight of it and knew of his ancestry? Hardly seems likely given the violence of the murders and their postmortem gruesomeness. And to gloss over that part as not that relevant makes it even less believable, as does living a somewhat normal life afterwards.
Fun reading, yes, but I doubt many Ripperologists will find it believable.
Although not a bad bit of pseudo life-writing it remains only a mildly engaging work with no great insights into the character of this J.R. If it was written in the late ‘20s or early ‘30s it should have included some of the vulgar Freudianisms that were floating about the intellectual world at the time, but Carnac’s autobiography demonstrates none of these. Perhaps Carnac had no interest in these tropes of human nature, but he should have been able to offer something insightful about the character. In fact, there is very little insight at all.
Here is where the book fails, but not overly, and that is that there is almost no great understanding of the man, his character, or impulsions.
For all this, it was still a mildly amusing and engaging read. For those drawn to criminology, crime, True Crime, or the amateur study of psychopathology this may be an enjoyable read…for others it may simply be diverting.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.