logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley - Neal Thompson
A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley
by: (author)
4.00 60
A Curious Man is the marvelously compelling biography of Robert “Believe It or Not” Ripley, the enigmatic cartoonist turned globetrotting millionaire who won international fame by celebrating the world's strangest oddities, and whose outrageous showmanship taught us to believe in the... show more
A Curious Man is the marvelously compelling biography of Robert “Believe It or Not” Ripley, the enigmatic cartoonist turned globetrotting millionaire who won international fame by celebrating the world's strangest oddities, and whose outrageous showmanship taught us to believe in the unbelievable.As portrayed by acclaimed biographer Neal Thompson, Ripley’s life is the stuff of a classic American fairy tale. Buck-toothed and cursed by shyness, Ripley turned his sense of being an outsider into an appreciation for the strangeness of the world. After selling his first cartoon to Time magazine at age eighteen, more cartooning triumphs followed, but it was his “Believe It or Not” conceit and the wildly popular radio shows it birthed that would make him one of the most successful entertainment figures of his time and spur him to search the globe’s farthest corners for bizarre facts, exotic human curiosities, and shocking phenomena.Ripley delighted in making outrageous declarations that somehow always turned out to be true—such as that Charles Lindbergh was only the sixty-seventh man to fly across the Atlantic or that “The Star Spangled Banner” was not the national anthem. Assisted by an exotic harem of female admirers and by ex-banker Norbert Pearlroth, a devoted researcher who spoke eleven languages, Ripley simultaneously embodied the spirit of Peter Pan, the fearlessness of Marco Polo and the marketing savvy of P. T. Barnum.In a very real sense, Ripley sought to remake the world’s aesthetic. He demanded respect for those who were labeled “eccentrics” or “freaks”—whether it be E. L. Blystone, who wrote 1,615 alphabet letters on a grain of rice, or the man who could swallow his own nose.By the 1930s Ripley possessed a vast fortune, a private yacht, and a twenty-eight room mansion stocked with such “oddities” as shrunken heads and medieval torture devices, and his pioneering firsts in print, radio, and television were tapping into something deep in the American consciousness—a taste for the titillating and exotic, and a fascination with the fastest, biggest, dumbest and most weird. Today, that legacy continues and can be seen in reality TV, YouTube, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Jackass, MythBusters and a host of other pop-culture phenomena. In the end Robert L. Ripley changed everything. The supreme irony of his life, which was dedicated to exalting the strange and unusual, is that he may have been the most amazing oddity of all.
show less
Format: hardcover
ISBN: 9780770436209 (077043620X)
ASIN: 077043620X
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Pages no: 421
Edition language: English
Bookstores:
Community Reviews
Memories From Books on Booklikes
Memories From Books on Booklikes rated it
4.0 A Curious Man
A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley by Neal Thompson is a fascinating insight into the life of Robert Leroy Ripley. It is a narrative account beginning with his birth in 1890 to his death in 1949. The narrative nature of the book works for the most par...
Ryan DeJonghe - The Avid Reader
Ryan DeJonghe - The Avid Reader rated it
5.0
You ever see the movie BIG FISH? You know what this book reminds me of? Yeah, BIG FISH, only Ripley actually did those things and met those people, as he described them, even from the beginning. Instead of a baby popping out and sliding across the floor, Ripley’s birth was no less unusual. His dad u...
Peace, Love & Books
Peace, Love & Books rated it
4.0
A fascinating, engaging biography of the man behind the wildly successful "Believe It or Not" franchise who was apparently quite the "oddity" himself in so many ways.
Nicole~
Nicole~ rated it
It was an entertaining enough read, I got just a tiny bit frustrated by the many "Believe It or Not" snippets throughout the book. Not a subject that I would have normally been curious about but I do appreciate the Goodreads Giveaway Program.
Constantly Moving the Bookmark
Constantly Moving the Bookmark rated it
4.0 A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley
Ripley was an odd child, buck-toothed and painfully shy he found solace in drawing. He was told that he talent would never allow him to amount to anything, but living in an age when newspapers used cartoonists instead of photographers, he managed to parley his talent into a career. Establishing hi...
Other editions (9)
Books by Neal Thompson
On shelves
Share this Book
Need help?