Robert “Believe It or Not” Ripley was Howard Hughes crossed with P.T. Barnum, a lonely, buck-toothed cartoonist turned eccentric millionaire and renowned world-traveler who in the 1930’s and 1940’s earned incredible wealth and international fame by journeying to the farthest corners of the earth in search of the world’s most exotic curiosities. But for all his success in uncovering oddities, no piece of Ripley’s collection was as remarkable as the man himself—from his youth as an awkward young artist with an innate empathy for “freaks,” to his golden years spent on a private island stocked with rare artifacts and strange pets, Ripley lived life on the kind of grand scale normally confined to fiction. A Curious Man is his great American story, told for the first time: a thrilling tale of an underdog who taught the nation to believe in the unbelievable.
The author completely researched Ripley’s life while writing this book. I doubt he left any stone unturned. From a historical point, Ripley was an entertainer and businessman who provided affordable entertainment during a time of financial devastation for most families. He was a self-made man and a hard worker, who had opportunities to see the world that many only dream of.
Ripley’s morals were low. His wealth provided a group of women he called his “harem.” Needless to say, his relationships with women were not long lived. My disappointment with this book is not with the author, but with Mr. Ripley’s personal life. I had hoped that his life provided a sense of decency.
About The Author
NEAL THOMPSON is a veteran journalist, blogger, videographer, and author of three previous books: Light This Candle, Driving with the Devil, and Hurricane Season. Thompson has been featured on NPR, ESPN, the History Channel, C-Span, Fox, and TNT, and his stories have appeared in Outside, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Men’s Health, Backpacker, The Washington Post Magazine, and The Huffington Post. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons
The book was provided by Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review.