The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley

Neal Thompson

Neal Thompson

“Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that the history of a time can be resolved in the biography of a few stout and earnest people. Robert Ripley was certainly one of those and, in this fascinating account, Neal Thompson rescues for us a colorful slice of history.”
– Colum McCann, bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin
Author Neal Thompson discusses his biography of the great explorer of oddities, and discoverer of the extraordinary, Robert LeRoy Ripley,  on The Daily Show with host John Oliver (regular host Jon Stewart is on hiatus filming a movie).

Neal Thompson recounts the life of Robert 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.

A Curious ManModern Day Marco Polo

I am halfway through the book myself, and it is a gripping read! You can’t help but like Ripley. His bad habits outweigh his good and he is strangely endearing.

He was Howard Hughes crossed with PT Barnum; Peter Pan crossed with Marco Polo.

His intense need to discover the curiosities of the world and his tenacity of looking everywhere, even when forbidden, really speaks to the reader. He was surprisingly adept at reading into local politics, sometimes predicting events far into the future through flippant comments to his readers.

Watch tonight as Neal Thompson and John Oliver discuss the trials and tribulations of this extraordinary man! If you’d like to read more reviews about the book visit the author’s website.



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