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A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley


A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley Cover

ISBN13: 9780770436223
ISBN10: 0770436226
Condition: Standard
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NEAL THOMPSON is the critically acclaimed author of Light This Candle, Driving with the Devil, and Hurricane Season and has contributed to such publications as Outside, Esquire, and Sports Illustrated. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons.  You can find him at www.nealthompson.com.

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Ryan DeJonghe, July 11, 2014 (view all comments by Ryan DeJonghe)
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 up and left Appalachia, swam solo across the Ohio River, went across country, and tried his hand in the California gold rush.

Neal Thompson brings this book to life with his adjectively descriptive and curiously captivating writing style. Sure, the subject matter helps, but Thompson keeps you engaged throughout. I particularly enjoyed the “Believe It or Not” segments he spreads throughout. He’ll break the narrative to offer an interesting factoid regarding Ripley’s history. You’ll learn the origins of the phrase “for crying out loud”, how Babe Ruth was called “The Sultan of Swat”, the beginning of yellow journalism, and what happened when Mr. Walt Disney didn’t achieve his dream of becoming a newspaper cartoonist. And that’s just the first ten-percent or so of the book!

As you may already tell, this book features more Ripley himself than what you’ll find on his shows or museums. There are plenty of resources for that, but you’ll still get a tease for it here. This book also features an ODDScan feature with a phone app (sadly, my Windows Phone doesn’t get much love with these things) where you can scan the book’s pictures and see extra content. You can also find this content on the author’s site.

This book was a bit larger for my tastes, but many will still be interested. It covers important time periods of America’s history, including both World Wars and the Great Depression, and Ripley’s involvement during it all. So, yes, it does take some time to get through, but there’s a reason Leroy “Robert” Ripley was voted “America’s Most Popular Man” by the New York Times.

Thanks Three Rivers Press and Random House for sending this to me. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
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Product Details

Thompson, Neal
Three Rivers Press (CA)
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
8.02 x 5.18 x 0.96 in 0.76 lb

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Trivia
Biography » Entertainment and Performing Arts
Biography » Historical
Reference » General
Reference » Trivia

A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley Used Trade Paper
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Product details 432 pages Three Rivers Press (CA) - English 9780770436223 Reviews:
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