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A Curious Man

Author: Neal Thompson
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
ISBN: 0770436226
Size: 26.78 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: 57.35 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: 36.23 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: 10.63 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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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: 33.91 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.

Driving With The Devil

Author: Neal Thompson
Publisher: Broadway Books
ISBN: 9780307522269
Size: 46.37 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.

Light This Candle

Author: Neal Thompson
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 0307421198
Size: 70.34 MB
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lan Shepard was the brashest, cockiest, and most flamboyant of America’s original Mercury Seven, but he was also regarded as the best. Intense, colorful, and dramatic—the man who hit a golf ball on the moon—he was among the most private of America’s public figures and, until his death in 1998, he guarded the story of his life zealously. Light This Candle, based on Neal Thompson’s exclusive access to private papers and interviews with Shepard’s family and closest friends—including John Glenn, Wally Schirra, and Gordon Cooper—offers a riveting, action-packed account of Shepard’s life. Among the first men to fly off aircraft carriers, he was one of the most fearless test pilots. He endured long separations from his devoted wife and three daughters to fly dangerous missions, working his way up the ranks despite clashes with authority over his brazen flying maneuvers and penchant for risky pranks. Hugely competitive, he beat out John Glenn for the first Mercury spaceflight and then overcame a rare illness to return to space again on Apollo 14. He took every challenge head-on and seemed to win every time. Long overdue, Light This Candle is a candid and inspiring account of a bold American life.

Cash

Author: Johnny Cash
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0060727535
Size: 32.34 MB
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He was the "Man in Black," a country music legend, and the quintessential American troubadour. He was an icon of rugged individualism who had been to hell and back, telling the tale as never before. In his unforgettable autobiography, Johnny Cash tells the truth about the highs and lows, the struggles and hard-won triumphs, and the people who shaped him. In his own words, Cash set the record straight -- and dispelled a few myths -- as he looked unsparingly at his remarkable life: from the joys of his boyhood in Dyess, Arkansas to superstardom in Nashville, Tennessee, the road of Cash's life has been anything but smooth. Cash writes of the thrill of playing with Elvis, the comfort of praying with Billy Graham; of his battles with addiction and of the devotion of his wife, June; of his gratitude for life, and of his thoughts on what the afterlife may bring. Here, too, are the friends of a lifetime, including Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and Kris Kristofferson. As powerful and memorable as one of his classic songs, Cash is filled with the candor, wit, and wisdom of a man who truly "walked the line."

The World In The Curl

Author: Peter Westwick
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 0307719502
Size: 53.61 MB
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A definitive and highly readable history of surfing and the cultural, political, economic, and environmental consequences of its evolution from a sport of Hawaiian kings and queens to a billion-dollar worldwide industry Despite its rebellious, outlaw reputation, or perhaps because of it, surfing occupies a central place in the American – and global – imagination, embodying the tension between romantic counterculture ideals and middle-class values, between an individualistic communion with nature and a growing commitment to commerce and technology. In examining the enduring widespread appeal of surfing in both myth and reality, The World in the Curl offers a fresh angle on the remarkable rise of the sport and its influence on modern life. Drawing on Peter Westwick and Peter Neushul’s expertise as historians of science and technology, the environment, and the Cold War, as well as decades of experience as surfers themselves, The World in the Curl brings alive the colorful history of surfing by drawing readers into the forces that fueled the sport's expansion: colonialism, the military-industrial complex, globalization, capitalism, environmental engineering, and race and gender roles. In an engaging and provocative narrative history – from the spread of surfing to the United States, to the development of surf culture, to the reintroduction of women into the sport, to big wave frontiers – the authors draw an indelible portrait of surfing and surfers as actors on the global stage. From the Hardcover edition.

License To Pawn

Author: Rick Harrison
Publisher: Hachette Books
ISBN: 1401303803
Size: 11.19 MB
Format: PDF
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In Las Vegas, there's a family-owned business called the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, run by three generations of the Harrison family: Rick; his son, Big Hoss; and Rick's dad, the Old Man. Now License to Pawn takes readers behind the scenes of the hit History show Pawn Stars and shares the fascinating life story of its star, Rick Harrison, and the equally intriguing story behind the shop, the customers, and the items for sale. Rick hasn't had it easy. He was a math whiz at an early age, but developed a similarly uncanny ability to find ever-deepening trouble that nearly ruined his life. With the birth of his son, he sobered up, reconnected with his dad, and they started their booming business together. License to Pawn also offers an entertaining walk through the pawn shop's history. It's a captivating look into how the Gold & Silver works, with incredible stories about the crazy customers and the one-of-a-kind items that the shop sells. Rick isn't only a businessman; he's also a historian and keen observer of human nature. For instance, did you know that pimps wear lots of jewelry for a reason? It's because if they're arrested, jewelry doesn't get confiscated like cash does, and ready money will be available for bail. Or that WWII bomber jackets and Zippo lighters can sell for a freakishly high price in Japan? Have you ever heard that the makers of Ormolu clocks, which Rick sells for as much as $15,000 apiece, frequently died before forty thanks to the mercury in the paint? Rick also reveals the items he loves so much he'll never sell. The shop has three Olympic bronze medals, a Patriots Super Bowl ring, a Samurai sword from 1490, and an original Iwo Jima battle plan. Each object has an incredible story behind it, of course. Rick shares them all, and so much more--there's an irresistible treasure trove of history behind both the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and the life of Rick Harrison.