A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert Believe It or Not! Ripley, Neal Thompson
  • List: $25.00  |  Sale: $17.50
    Club: $12.50
    • Facebook Share
    • Twitter Share
    • Pinterest Share

Details

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

Author: Neal Thompson

Narrator: Marc Cashman

Unabridged: 11 hr 56 min

Format: Digital Audiobook

Publisher: Random House Audio

Published: 05/07/2013

Genre: Biography & Autobiography - Historical

Synopsis

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.




From the Hardcover edition.

Recommended

Churchill Walking with Destiny, Andrew Roberts
Churchill
by Andrew Roberts

In this landmark biography of Winston Churchill based on extensive new material, the true genius of the man, statesman and leader can finally be fully seen and understood--by the bestselling, award-winning author of Napoleon and The Storm of WarWhen...

Narrator: Stephen Thorne
Published: 11/06/2018

Daughters of the Winter Queen Four Remarkable Sisters, the Crown of Bohemia, and the Enduring Legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots, Nancy Goldstone
Daughters of the Winter Queen
by Nancy Goldstone

The thrilling family saga of five unforgettable women who remade EuropeFrom the great courts, glittering palaces, and war-ravaged battlefields of the seventeenth century comes the story of four spirited sisters and their glamorous mother, Elizabeth...

Narrator: Laura Kirman
Published: 04/10/2018

Jefferson Architect of American Liberty, John B. Boles
Jefferson
by John B. Boles

From an eminent scholar of the American South, the first full-scale biography of Thomas Jefferson since 1970 Not since Merrill Peterson's Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation has a scholar attempted to write a comprehensive biography of the most co...

Narrator: Michael Johnson
Published: 04/25/2017

Victoria & Abdul (Movie Tie-in) The True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant, Shrabani Basu
Victoria & Abdul (Movie Tie-in)
by Shrabani Basu

Now a Major Motion Picture starring Dame Judi Dench from director Stephen Frears.History’s most unlikely friendship—this is the astonishing story of Queen Victoria and her dearest companion, the young Indian Munshi Abdul Karim.In the twi...

Narrator: Elizabeth Jasicki
Published: 08/29/2017

The Meaning of Everything, Simon Winchester
The Meaning of Everything
by Simon Winchester

From the bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, The Map That Changed the World, and KrakatoaWriting with marvelous brio, Simon Winchester first serves up a lightning history of the English language and pays homage to the great dictiona...

Narrator: Simon Winchester
Published: 01/13/2004

Genghis Khan His Conquests, His Empire, His Legacy, Frank McLynn
Genghis Khan
by Frank McLynn

Mongol leader Genghis Khan was by far the greatest conqueror the world has ever known. His empire stretched from the Pacific Ocean to central Europe, including all of China, the Middle East, and Russia. So how did an illiterate nomad rise to such co...

Narrator: Tim Andres Pabon
Published: 09/01/2015

Lincoln's Melancholy How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness, Joshua Shenk
Lincoln's Melancholy
by Joshua Shenk

With empathy and authority gained from his own experience with depression, Shenk crafts a nuanced, revelatory account of Lincoln and his legacy, and in the process unveils a wholly new perspective on how our greatest president guided America through...

Narrator: Richard Davidson
Published: 09/22/2005

Napoleon A Life, Andrew Roberts
Napoleon
by Andrew Roberts

The definitive biography of the great soldier-statesman by the New York Times bestselling author of The Storm of WarAusterlitz, Borodino, Waterloo: his battles are among the greatest in history, but Napoleon Bonaparte was far more than a military ge...

Narrator: John Lee
Published: 11/04/2014

Hitler Ascent 1889-1939, Volker Ullrich
Hitler
by Volker Ullrich

A major new biography-an extraordinary, penetrating study of the man who has become the personification of evil. For all the literature about Adolf Hitler there have been just four seminal biographies; this is the fifth, a landmark work that sheds ...

Narrator: Don Hagen
Published: 09/01/2016
{"id":"318912","ean":"9780385366366","abr":"Unabridged","title":"A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert Believe It or Not! Ripley","subtitle":"The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert Believe It or Not! Ripley","author":"Neal Thompson","rating_average":"0","narrator":"Marc Cashman","ubr_id":"318912","abr_id":"0","ubr_price":"25.00","abr_price":"0.00","ubr_memprice":"16.25","abr_memprice":"0.00","ubr_narrator":"Marc Cashman","abr_narrator":"","ubr_length":"Unabridged: 11 hr 50 min","abr_length":"Abridged: "}