A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley

2013

Some books are so interesting, you hate to see them end. A Curious Man fits the bill. Most of us have heard of Ripley’s Believe it or Not but how many know the back story of LeRoy Robert Ripley, the bucktoothed, eccentric, self-taught ethnographer and anthropologist, who grew up in Santa Rosa, California? His story is of the rags to riches variety. The reader is taken on a journey through the late 1800s, the devastating San Francisco earthquake, World Wars I & II, Prohibition, The Great Depression, and Ripley’s many travels abroad where he collected curios and women friends with a passion. Ripley got his start drawing cartoons for newspapers. He eventually had a popular radio show and delved into early television in the 1940s. Ripley became a household name that endured. There are Ripley museums at Niagra Falls, Times Square, and other locales. Today’s reality shows continue his legacy with the “weirder the better” mentality. P.T. Barnum left his mark during the 1800s and Ripley’s name will forever be enshrined in American culture. You will not want to put this down.

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