Ranger Games (audiobook)

A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime

16.1 hrs • 13 CDs • Unabridged
Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Target Audience: Adult
Release Date: 09/12/17
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Library CD Library Edition CD titles are packaged in an attractive, full-sized, durable vinyl case with full color art. Cloth Sleeves keep compact discs protected and in numerical order. 
- 09/12/17 9780804166058
$95.99
Out of stock

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Summary

Intricate, heartrending, and morally urgent, Ranger Games is a crime story like no other
 
Alex Blum was a good kid, a popular high school hockey star from a tight-knit Colorado family. He had one goal in life: endure a brutally difficult selection program, become a U.S. Army Ranger, and fight terrorists for his country. He poured everything into achieving his dream. In the first hours of his final leave before deployment to Iraq, Alex was supposed to fly home to see his family and beloved girlfriend. Instead, he got into his car with two fellow soldiers and two strangers, drove to a local bank in Tacoma, and committed armed robbery... 
     The question that haunted the entire Blum family was:  Why?  Why would he ruin his life in such a spectacularly foolish way?
     At first, Alex insisted he thought the robbery was just another exercise in the famously daunting Ranger program.  His attorney presented a case based on the theory that the Ranger indoctrination mirrored that of a cult. 
     In the midst of his own personal crisis, and in the hopes of helping both Alex and his splintering family cope, Ben Blum, Alex’s first cousin, delved into these mysteries, growing closer to Alex in the process.  As he probed further, Ben began to question not only Alex, but the influence of his superior, Luke Elliot Sommer, the man who planned the robbery. A charismatic combat veteran, Sommer’s manipulative tendencies combined with a magnetic personality pulled Ben into a relationship that put his loyalties to the test.      

Review Quotes

A sprawling American saga, Ranger Games will captivate, transport and madden readers all at once. Ben Blum uses the war on terror and clandestine Army Rangers as backdrop to explore something even more immense and arcane: a human heart in conflict with itself. This is a special story and a superb work of narrative nonfiction.
Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood
Ben Blum’s achievement in this relentlessly gripping book is to make an incredible story entirely  credible. If many of the serial revelations and twists are subtle and nuanced rather than spectacular that only adds to the sense of his narrative command and assurance. Geoff Dyer, National Book Critics Circle Award Winner and author of Otherwise Known as the Human Condition and White Sands

"Ranger Games is one of those rare books that illuminates its subject beyond what you thought possible--and then transcends its subject to become something more.  In this case, the subject is engaging and disturbing all on its own; the "inexplicable crime" of the title is fascinating, the fall-out from it is heart-breaking and suspenseful.  But the book is not only about the crime or the family its tears apart, it is about the strange pathologies of North American culture, a particularly masculine form of madness, and the mysterious, timeless relationship of charm and evil.  It should be taught in "cultural studies" classes across the country.
Ranger Games is a rare and totally original work of nonfiction. The odd characters and dangerous situations live vibrantly in these pages and the stakes are always high. Ben Blum's search for truth leads him down many paths into an inner turmoil and boil about family, fidelity, identity, good and evil, and military service. Once you start reading you won't put it down. Anthony Swofford, New York Times bestselling author of Jarhead and Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails: A MemoirOn a simple level, Ranger Games is about Ben Blum’s obsessive quest to understand why his 19-year-old cousin participated in an inexplicable, ham-handed bank robbery that landed him in prison and nearly destroyed the people he loved. But there is nothing simple about Blum’s book. It turns out to be a labyrinthine, utterly engrossing meditation on matters as seemingly disparate as the perils of loyalty, the seductive force of mathematical certainty, the toxicity of “honor,” the Stanford Prison Experiment, the weirdness of daytime television, and the dangerous power of family mythology. It is an astonishing book, unlike anything else I have ever read. Jon Krakauer, New York Times bestselling author of Missoula and Into Thin Air

“An astonishing book, unlike anything else I have ever read.”

Jon Krakauer, New York Times bestselling author