A J Liebling was an old-time magazine journalist. This particular book was based on a bunch of articles about an old guy he knew, who went by the name of Colonel John R Stingo. He had gone through life doing a number of things, including rainmaking. He would go to farm areas of the United States and make contracts with farmers, about how he would make it rain. His entire rainmaking was based on actuarial principles. He worked out the frequency of precipitation and he would write very clever contracts – of the heads-I-win, tails-you-lose variety.