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A Curious Man

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A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It Or Not” Ripley, Neal Thompson, book reviewIf the life story of Robert “Believe It Or Not” Ripley was fiction, you would probably have given up on it after the first couple of chapters because it seems to bear so little relation to what most of us know as real life. While not exactly leading what you may call a charmed life – his father died when he was still in school (which, incidentally he did not finish) and his home town of Santa Rosa, California, was flattened by the 1906 great San Francisco earthquake – he certainly had an incredible knack for finding the right sort of people, ideas and innovations at just the right time. Considering how incredible his rise from dirt poor child to multi-millionaire celebrity journalist and globetrotter was, it is also surprising that Neal Thompson’s new book A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It Or Not” Ripley is the first biography to be written about the man. This biography may have taken a long time in coming, but the five years it took to compile it were clearly a labour of love.


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