By Neal Thompson
An Amazon top booklet of the Month, may perhaps 2013
A Curious Man is the marvelously compelling biography of Robert “Believe It or Not” Ripley, the enigmatic cartoonist grew to become globetrotting millionaire who received foreign reputation via celebrating the world's strangest oddities, and whose outrageous showmanship taught us to think within the unbelievable.
As portrayed by way of acclaimed biographer Neal Thompson, Ripley’s existence is the stuff of a vintage American fairy story. Buck-toothed and cursed by means of shyness, Ripley became his experience of being an interloper into an appreciation for the strangeness of the area. After promoting his first caricature to Time magazine at age eighteen, extra cartooning triumphs undefined, however it was once his “Believe It or Not” conceit and the wildly renowned radio exhibits it birthed that will make him essentially the most profitable leisure figures of his time and spur him to look the globe’s farthest corners for weird and wonderful evidence, unique human curiosities, and stunning phenomena.
Ripley overjoyed in making outrageous declarations that in some way continuously grew to become out to be true—such as that Charles Lindbergh used to be in basic terms the sixty-seventh guy to fly around the Atlantic or that “The superstar Spangled Banner” was once not the nationwide anthem. Assisted through an unique harem of girl admirers and through ex-banker Norbert Pearlroth, a faithful researcher who spoke 11 languages, Ripley concurrently embodied the spirit of Peter Pan, the fearlessness of Marco Polo and the selling savvy of P. T. Barnum.
In a really actual feel, Ripley sought to remake the world’s aesthetic. He demanded appreciate if you happen to have been categorised “eccentrics” or “freaks”—whether or not it's E. L. Blystone, who wrote 1,615 alphabet letters on a grain of rice, or the fellow who may possibly swallow his personal nose.
By the Thirties Ripley possessed an enormous fortune, a personal yacht, and a twenty-eight room mansion stocked with such “oddities” as shrunken heads and medieval torture units, and his pioneering firsts in print, radio, and tv have been tapping into anything deep within the American consciousness—a style for the titillating and unique, and a fascination with the quickest, greatest, dumbest and weirdest. this day, that legacy keeps and will be obvious actually television, YouTube, America’s Funniest domestic movies, Jackass, MythBusters and a number of alternative pop-culture phenomena.
In the top Robert L. Ripley replaced everything. The perfect irony of his lifestyles, which used to be devoted to exalting the unusual and weird, is that he could have been the main extraordinary oddity of all.
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ROWLING [in dark yellow, both title conclusion and author on blue panel, 13 by 102mm] BLOOMSBURY [publisher’s device of the head of a dog, 3 by 4mm] [both in black on dark yellow panel, 13 by 32mm] (reading lengthways down spine). On upper wrapper: ‘HARRY | POTTER | and the Philosopher’s Stone [lines 1 and 2 in dark yellow, line 3 in white, all on crimson panel, 61 by A1(aa) First English edition (1997) 7 128mm] | [light blue rule, 128mm intersected by orange panel with ‘J. K. ROWLING’ in brown] | [colour illustration of Harry Potter and the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9¾, 122 by 128mm with two stars touching or intersecting first light blue rule] | [light blue rule, 128mm] | “A terrific read and a stunning first novel” Wendy Cooling [in dark yellow on black panel, 10 by 128mm]’ (all width centred).
Photograph (© [sic] by O Winston Link. Reproduced by kind permission of O Winston Link. Ogle Winston Link (1914-2001) was an American photographer remembered, chiefly, for his photographs of the last days of steam locomotives on the Norfolk and Western line in America. The line was the last American railway to convert from steam to diesel in the late 1950s and early 1960s. ROWLING | [publisher’s device of a dog, 12 by 19mm] | BLOOMSBURY (All width centred) Collation: 112 unsigned leaves bound in indeterminate gatherings; 233 by 151mm; [1-7] 8-18  20-27  29-38  40-48  50-66  68-84  86-97  99-106  108-120  122-32  134-42  144-57  159-66  168-76  178-90  192-208  210-23  Page contents:  half-title: ‘HARRY | POTTER | and the Philosopher’s Stone | [illustration of Hogwarts crest with legend ‘DRACO DORMIENS NUNQUAM TITILLANDUS’ on banner, 49 by 60mm]’;  ‘Also available: | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’;  title-page;  ‘All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be reproduced or | transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, | without the prior permission of the publisher | [new paragraph] This edition first published in Great Britain in 1999 | Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 38 Soho Square, London, W1V 5DF | [new paragraph] Copyright © J.