"The untold story of the women killed by Jack the Ripper--and a gripping portrait of Victorian London--[this book] changes the narrative of these murders forever. Polly, Annie, Elisabeth, Catherine, and Mary Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from some of London's wealthiest and poorest neighborhoods, from the factory towns of middle England, and from Wales and Sweden. They wrote ballads, ran coffeehouses, lived on country estates; they breathed ink dust from printing presses and escaped human 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, but it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, by drawing on a wealth of formerly unseen archival material and adding full historical context to the victims' 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 women."--Dust jacket.