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A Curious Man

Author: Neal Thompson
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
ISBN: 0770436226
Size: 48.74 MB
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An account of the life of the enigmatic cartoonist-turned-eccentric-millionaire whose wealth and fame were built from his extensive collection of exotic curiosities offers insight into his innate empathy for the world's marginalized groups and his final years spent on a private island with rare artifacts and unusual pets.

A Curious Man

Author: Neal Thompson
Publisher: Crown Archetype
ISBN: 0770436218
Size: 62.62 MB
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A Curious Man is the marvelously compelling biography of Robert “Believe It or Not” 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. As portrayed by acclaimed biographer Neal Thompson, Ripley’s life is the stuff of a classic American fairy tale. Buck-toothed and cursed by shyness, Ripley turned his sense of being an outsider into an appreciation for the strangeness of the world. After selling his first cartoon to Time magazine at age eighteen, more cartooning triumphs followed, but it was his “Believe It or Not” conceit and the wildly popular radio shows it birthed that would make him one of the most successful entertainment figures of his time and spur him to search the globe’s farthest corners for bizarre facts, exotic human curiosities, and shocking phenomena. Ripley delighted in making outrageous declarations that somehow always turned out to be true—such as that Charles Lindbergh was only the sixty-seventh man to fly across the Atlantic or that “The Star Spangled Banner” was not the national anthem. Assisted by an exotic harem of female admirers and by ex-banker Norbert Pearlroth, a devoted researcher who spoke eleven languages, Ripley simultaneously embodied the spirit of Peter Pan, the fearlessness of Marco Polo and the marketing savvy of P. T. Barnum. In a very real sense, Ripley sought to remake the world’s aesthetic. He demanded respect for those who were labeled “eccentrics” or “freaks”—whether it be E. L. Blystone, who wrote 1,615 alphabet letters on a grain of rice, or the man who could swallow his own nose. By the 1930s Ripley possessed a vast fortune, a private yacht, and a twenty-eight room mansion stocked with such “oddities” as shrunken heads and medieval torture devices, and his pioneering firsts in print, radio, and television were tapping into something deep in the American consciousness—a taste for the titillating and exotic, and a fascination with the fastest, biggest, dumbest and most weird. Today, that legacy continues and can be seen in reality TV, YouTube, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Jackass, MythBusters and a host of other pop-culture phenomena. In the end Robert L. Ripley changed everything. The supreme irony of his life, which was dedicated to exalting the strange and unusual, is that he may have been the most amazing oddity of all. From the Hardcover edition.

A Curious Man

Author: Neal Thompson
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1448184371
Size: 73.61 MB
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One of the most successful entertainment figures of his time, Robert Ripley’s life is the stuff of a classic American fairy tale. Bucktoothed and hampered by shyness, Ripley turned his sense of being an outsider into an appreciation of the weird and wonderful. He sold his first cartoon to LIFE magazine at eighteen, but it was his wildly popular ‘Believe It or Not!’ radio shows that won him international fame, and spurred him on to search the globe’s farthest corners for bizarre facts, human curiosities and shocking phenomena. Ripley delighted in making preposterous declarations that somehow turned out to be true – such as that Charles Lindburgh was only the sixty-seventh man to fly across the Atlantic or that ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ was not the USA’s national anthem. And he demanded respect for those who were labelled ‘eccentrics’ or ‘freaks’ – whether it be E. L. Blystone, who wrote 2,871 alphabet letters on a grain of rice, or the man who could swallow his own nose. By the 1930s, Ripley possessed a wide fortune, a private yacht and a huge mansion stocked with such oddities as shrunken heads and medieval torture devices. His pioneering firsts in print, radio and television tapped into something deep in the American consciousness – a taste for the titillating and exotic, and a fascination with the fastest, biggest, wackiest and weirdest – and ensured a worldwide legacy that continues today. This compelling biography portrays a man who was dedicated to exalting the strange and unusual – but who may have been the most amazing oddity of all.

Ripley S Believe It Or Not

Author: Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1609910419
Size: 34.19 MB
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Facsimile of the original 1929 book. From the original 1929 promotion, Robert Ripley describes the land where rain has fallen for a million years; here he talks with you about the Ever-Standing Men and the Upside-Down Men of Benares. Sport enthusiasts will prick up their ears at the queer tales told by the man who it is said can answer more questions on sports than any other living man. All these stores, all these marvelous adventuring into the countries of the fantastically true are lavishly illustrated with a multitude of those vivid cartoons which are followed eagerly every night in the New York Evening Post and more than 100 other newspapers. You will find your old favorites-and some new puzzlers which Mr. Ripley has uncorked now for the first time. Believe It Or Not this volume contains a thousand new things under the sun!

Self Help Messiah

Author: Steven Watts
Publisher: Other Press, LLC
ISBN: 159051503X
Size: 30.84 MB
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An illuminating biography of the man who taught Americans “how to win friends and influence people” Before Stephen Covey, Oprah Winfrey, and Malcolm Gladwell there was Dale Carnegie. His book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, became a best seller worldwide, and Life magazine named him one of “the most important Americans of the twentieth century.” This is the first full-scale biography of this influential figure. Dale Carnegie was born in rural Missouri, his father a poor farmer, his mother a successful preacher. To make ends meet he tried his hand at various sales jobs, and his failure to convince his customers to buy what he had to offer eventually became the fuel behind his future glory. Carnegie quickly figured out that something was amiss in American education and in the ways businesspeople related to each other. What he discovered was as simple as it was profound: Understanding people’s needs and desires is paramount in any successful enterprise. Carnegie conceived his book to help people learn to relate to one another and enrich their lives through effective communication. His success was extraordinary, so hungry was 1920s America for a little psychological insight that was easy to apply to everyday affairs. Self-help Messiah tells the story of Carnegie’s personal journey and how it gave rise to the movement of self-help and personal reinvention.

Queen Of The Air

Author: Dean N. Jensen
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 0307986586
Size: 11.80 MB
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A true life Water for Elephants, Queen of the Air brings the circus world to life through the gorgeously written, true story of renowned trapeze artist and circus performer Leitzel, Queen of the Air, the most famous woman in the world at the turn of the 20th century, and her star-crossed love affair with Alfredo Codona, of the famous Flying Codona Brothers. Like today's Beyonce, Madonna, and Cher, she was known to her vast public by just one name, Leitzel. There may have been some regions on earth where her name was not a household expression, but if so, they were likely on polar ice caps or in the darkest, deepest jungles. Leitzel was born into Dickensian circumstances, and became a princess and then a queen. She was not much bigger than a good size fairy, just four-foot-ten and less than 100 pounds. In the first part of the 20th century, she presided over a sawdust fiefdom of never-ending magic. She was the biggest star ever of the biggest circus ever, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Greatest Show on Earth. In her life, Leitzel had many suitors (and three husbands), but only one man ever fully captured her heart. He was the handsome Alfredo Codona, the greatest trapeze flyer that had ever lived, the only one in his time who, night after night, executed the deadliest of all big-top feats, The Triple--three somersaults in midair while traveling at 60 m.p.h. The Triple, the salto mortale, as the Italians called it, took the lives of more daredevils than any other circus stunt.

I Saw You

Author: Julia Wertz
Publisher: Crown Archetype
ISBN: 0307452611
Size: 30.55 MB
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This anthology of comics inspired by real-life missed connection ads posted on Craigslist and in local papers around the country will tug at your heartstrings and make you think. Lonely hearts, romantics, and even cynics pore over missed connection ads in search of love, to gawk and giggle, or out of curiosity. These posted stranger sightings and chance encounters lay bare the truths and oddities of real-life loneliness and attractions and bring out the voyeur in the best of us. I Saw You takes this phenomenon and makes it even better. Julia Wertz has gathered the stars and soon-to-be-stars of the graphic art world, including Peter Bagge, Jesse Reklaw, Tom Hart, Sam Henderson, Laura Park, Emily Flake, Keith Knight, Janelle Hessig, Gabrielle Bell, Aaron Renier, Austin English, Corinne Mucha, Jeffrey Brown, Alec Longstreth, Minty Lewis, Joey Sayers, David Malki, Kazimir Strzepek, Ken Dahl, Shannon Wheeler, Shaenon Garrity, Rodd Perry, Abby Denson, Damien Jay, Sarah Glidden, and dozens more, to interpret these plaintive, hopeful postings in drawings that range from laugh-out-loud funny to disarmingly strange. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Driving With The Devil

Author: Neal Thompson
Publisher: Broadway Books
ISBN: 9780307522269
Size: 72.76 MB
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“Moonshiners put more time, energy, thought, and love into their cars than any racer ever will. Lose on the track and you go home. Lose with a load of whiskey and you go to jail.” —Junior Johnson, NASCAR legend and one-time whiskey runner Today’s NASCAR is a family sport with 75 million loyal fans, which is growing bigger and more mainstream by the day. Part Disney, part Vegas, part Barnum & Bailey, NASCAR is also a multibillion-dollar business and a cultural phenomenon that transcends geography, class, and gender. But dark secrets lurk in NASCAR’s past. Driving with the Devil uncovers for the first time the true story behind NASCAR’s distant, moonshine-fueled origins and paints a rich portrait of the colorful men who created it. Long before the sport of stock-car racing even existed, young men in the rural, Depression-wracked South had figured out that cars and speed were tickets to a better life. With few options beyond the farm or factory, the best chance of escape was running moonshine. Bootlegging offered speed, adventure, and wads of cash—if the drivers survived. Driving with the Devil is the story of bootleggers whose empires grew during Prohibition and continued to thrive well after Repeal, and of drivers who thundered down dusty back roads with moonshine deliveries, deftly outrunning federal agents. The car of choice was the Ford V-8, the hottest car of the 1930s, and ace mechanics tinkered with them until they could fly across mountain roads at 100 miles an hour. After fighting in World War II, moonshiners transferred their skills to the rough, red-dirt racetracks of Dixie, and a national sport was born. In this dynamic era (1930s and ’40s), three men with a passion for Ford V-8s—convicted criminal Ray Parks, foul-mouthed mechanic Red Vogt, and crippled war veteran Red Byron, NASCAR’s first champion—emerged as the first stock car “team.” Theirs is the violent, poignant story of how moonshine and fast cars merged to create a new sport for the South to call its own. Driving with the Devil is a fascinating look at the well-hidden historical connection between whiskey running and stock-car racing. NASCAR histories will tell you who led every lap of every race since the first official race in 1948. Driving with the Devil goes deeper to bring you the excitement, passion, crime, and death-defying feats of the wild, early days that NASCAR has carefully hidden from public view. In the tradition of Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit, this tale not only reveals a bygone era of a beloved sport, but also the character of the country at a moment in time. From the Hardcover edition.

The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash

Author: Grandmaster Flash
Publisher: Crown Archetype
ISBN: 0767930002
Size: 41.46 MB
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A no-holds-barred memoir from the primary architect of hip hop and one of the culture's most revered music icons—both the tale of his life and legacy and a testament to dogged determination. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five fomented the musical revolution known as hip hop. Theirs was a groundbreaking union between one DJ and five rapping MCs. One of the first hip hop posses, they were responsible for such masterpieces as “The Message” and “Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel.” In the 1970s Grandmaster Flash pioneered the art of break-beat DJing—the process of remixing and thereby creating a new piece of music by playing vinyl records and turntables as musical instruments. Disco-era DJs spun records so that people could dance. The original turntablist, Flash took it a step further by cutting, rubbing, backspinning, and mixing records, focusing on “breaks”—what Flash described as “the short, climactic parts of the records that really grabbed me”—as a way of heightening musical excitement and creating something new. Now the man who paved the way for such artists as Jay-Z, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, and 50 Cent tells all—from his early days on the mean streets of the South Bronx, to the heights of hip hop stardom, losing millions at the hands of his record label, his downward spiral into cocaine addiction, and his ultimate redemption with the help and love of his family and friends. In this powerful memoir, Flash recounts how music from the streets, much like rock ’n’ roll a generation before, became the sound of an era and swept a nation with its funk, flavor, and beat.