Nicole Ward Jouve, Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd., NY, London, June 1986, Hardcover, 231 pages.


"In this truck is a man whose latent genius, if unleashed, would rock the nation, whose dynamic energy would overpower those around him. Better let him sleep ?"


These prophetic words were propped up against the windscreen of Peter Sutcliffe's truck. When his 'power' was unleashed there followed six years during which this apparently quiet and submissive man murdered thirteen women and maimed a further seven. Dubbed 'The Yorkshire Ripper' by the media Sutcliffe called himself 'The Streetcleaner', claimimg he was on God's mission to 'cleanse' the streets of prostitutes.


This incisive and controversial study of the case focuses on the brutalized culture of machismo in which Sutcliffe was brought up, but the intention is not to let Sutcliffe off the hook - victim or madman - but to probe the wider social contexts of pathalogical violence towards women, and provide some explanations for the appallingly mismanaged police investigation, during which prostitutes were used as "live bait" and Sutcliffe himself was questioned and released no less than ten times.


'The Streetcleaner' is a salutory corrective to previous studies of Sutcliffe, from which the voices of women were notable by their abscence. Nicole Ward Jouve draws on post-Freudian psychology, linguistics and feminist theory to make sense of this extraordinary and symptomatic case: the book is memorable for her empathy with Sutcliffe's victims, her compassion for his wife Sonia - the scapegoat for his family, the police and previous studies - and for her sensitive evocation of the deprived and decaying landscapes of the Industrial North.



Condition: Very Good, clean tight copy, some discolouring and minor dings to DJ.

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