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Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History [Kindle Edition]

Ben Mezrich
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.96 (37%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Thad Roberts, a fellow in a prestigious NASA program had an idea—a romantic, albeit crazy, idea. He wanted to give his girlfriend the moon. Literally.
 
Thad convinced his girlfriend and another female accomplice, both NASA interns, to break into an impregnable laboratory at NASA—past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-lined hallways—and help him steal the most precious objects in the world: the moon rocks.
 
But what does one do with an item so valuable that it’s illegal even to own? And was Thad Roberts—undeniably gifted, picked for one of the most competitive scientific posts imaginable, a possible astronaut—really what he seemed?
 
Mezrich has pored over thousands of pages of court records, FBI transcripts, and NASA documents and has interviewed most of the participants in the crime to reconstruct this Ocean’s Eleven–style heist, a madcap story of genius, love, and duplicity that reads like a Hollywood thrill ride.


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, July 2011: In this true story of love and adventure, nothing can stop Thad Roberts from keeping a promise to his girlfriend Rebecca--not even NASA security. When he's in the lab, Roberts is a brilliant NASA co-op intern, but the other interns know him better for devising thrill-seeking activities, like cliff diving and sneaking into the shuttle simulator. When he realizes that scientists consider moon rocks worthless once they’ve been in experiments, Roberts starts to wonder… if they’re worthless, how could stealing them be wrong? Ben Mezrich, author of The Accidental Billionaires (which inspired the movie The Social Network), starts each section with excerpts of Roberts’s love letters to Rebecca from prison, providing a love-drunk context for Roberts’ journey as the moon rock heist balloons from idle fantasy to stark reality. Behind-the-scenes looks at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and thriller-like action that ranges from the U.S. to Belgium make for an enthralling read for anyone who ever dreamed about being an astronaut--or promised to give someone else the moon. --Malissa Kent

Review

Praise for The Accidental Billionaires, the basis of the Oscar-winning film The Social Network

“Uproarious . . . stimulating enough to keep even the un-medicated narcoleptic awake.”
Washington Times

“Mezrich’s prose has a cinematic flavor.”
Boston Globe

“You won’t be able to put the book down. The story’s far too compelling, and entirely too personal, to toss aside.”
Oregonian

“High-octane page-turners, replete with sex, skullduggery, and plot twists worthy of James Patterson.”
New York Times

“The book is better; you should read the book.”
—Alex Rodriguez

“You know you’re onto something when Hollywood calls before your book is even out.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Sizzling . . . Mezrich’s pop narrative reveals an American public greedy to read about the most intimate details of the sex, money, and betrayal in Facebook’s formative history . . . energetic.”
Telegraph

“Mezrich paints a story of backstabbing, wild sex, hard drinking, and, at one stage, feasting on roasted koala on a yacht owned by a Silicon Valley millionaire.”
Guardian



From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2677 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (July 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004FGMD5U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,776 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
126 of 139 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Second-rate story, third-rate writing July 28, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a manuscript for a movie. In recent interviews Ben Mezrich has been very open about that. He writes books from the very beginning in the hopes that they will be optioned for movies. And it shows.

Mezrich, author of "The Accidental Billionaires," the book upon which the Facebook movie "The Social Network" was based, went in search of his next great true-story thriller. What he settled on was the tale of Thad Roberts, a student enrolled in NASA's Cooperative Education Program who turned thief and decided to steal moon rocks and sell them online for easy cash. The story behind "Sex on the Moon" (itself an awful title) is hyberbolically subtitled "the Most Audacious Heist in History." Roberts' theft is by no means entitled to such an exciting description. The heist itself was fairly uncomplicated and involved nothing more than a clever use of chemical dust to break an electronic combination lock and some elbow grease to drag a safe out of a room and into a car. The only thing remotely remarkable about the theft is that actual moon rocks are involved. Had Roberts stolen terrestrial gem stones, he would have warranted nothing more than a mention in the local news paper police blotter. Mezrich has to work hard -- very hard -- to fill this thin conceit with enough volume to fill a book.

And then there's the writing. Which is awful. This is some of the most hackneyed, rigid, trite prose I've ever read. Some examples: "she had given him her number. It had been like rocket fuel in his bathing-suit all the way home" or "sooner or later, the truth would be as clear as the tattoo on her thigh" or "Thad only knew for sure what he was feeling. Which was beyond anything he could remember feeling before" or "suddenly, reality hit him like a Saturn V rocket to the face." Ugh.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where's a Good Dope Slap When You Need One? November 23, 2011
Format:Hardcover
And Thad Roberts really needed one. He is one of those poor slobs for whom the magnetic pull of self-destruction is as irresistible as a Siren's song. (Darwin would have had a field day with that.). At least Odysseus had the smarts to order his sailors to lash him to the mast and stuff wax in their ears. Roberts wasn't nearly as prudent, though he was certainly smart.

Booted from the family fold for the unforgivable sin of engaging in pre-marital sex, Roberts claws his way up from the depths of despair to earn a prestigious internship at NASA only to blow it trying to pull off one of the most cockamamie scams in modern history; stealing moon rocks.

Really?

That Roberts even got to NASA in the first place was something of a miracle. How a broke, disenfranchised kid managed to rack up the pre-recs for a shot at the big time is one question I still had at the end of the book. Roberts takes courses in physics, geology, anthropology, Russian and Japanese. He obtains a pilot's license. He learns to scuba dive. He completes a charity bike ride for cystic fibrosis and raises $10,000. That accomplishment seems to be what cinches his entry into the Johnson Space Center at Houston, where he spends three semesters glad-handing his fellow interns and trolling in and out of various labs and simulators with the James Bond theme song playing in his head.

Ego issues? Possibly.

Roberts also has a wife back in Utah. Something he doesn't hide, but doesn't exactly advertise. It wouldn't mesh with the ultra-cool, geek-meets-Mission Impossible persona he's created, the same persona that attempts a ridiculous, bumbling moon rock heist that ultimately does earn him a dope slap from the universe in the form of an eight year prison sentence.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an amazing story August 12, 2011
Format:Hardcover
An inside look at NASA, stolen moon rocks, an international team working to recover the goods, sex, interns, prison....how did this story turn out to be boring? Whatever the reason, boring is how it turned out.

Maybe there just wasn't enough material to fill a book about this case. Plus, in spite of his desire to make himself into a larger-than-life character, Thad really isn't one. Instead he's more of a pathetic loser who throws away everything he worked for and disappoints so many people in an attempt to re-make himself.

Dull, slow, only occasionally interesting, and the only characters you really care for get treated badly.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Merits Only Two Pages, At Most - August 4, 2011
Format:Hardcover
This latest Mezrich book is a 308-page 'con-job' - the entire story can be, and should have been, told in one paragraph. Thad Roberts is an aspiring NASA astronaut with weak ethics. While at the University of Utah UofU) he steals some rocks, then gets accepted as a student researcher at NASA's Johnson Space Center where his marriage falls apart, he becomes enamored with two new lovelies and gets them to help him steal a 600+ lb. safe containing moon rocks being studied by his mentor, Dr. Robert Gibson. Predictably he's caught trying to sell the loot, loses his girlfriends (they're sentenced to probation), he does 8 1/2 years, and then receives a cool reception from the UofU upon asking to return and complete his studies.

The outcome is as predictable as tomorrow's sunrise, given that NASA is the only legitimate source of moon rocks and NASA doesn't sell or give them away. The outcome is even more predictable when Thad tries drumming up interest in his ill-gotten loot by emailing a reputable rock collector in Belgium who promptly notifies the FBI. All the rocks are recovered, though Roberts' mentor loses some 30 years of research notes. Dr. Gibson emerges as the second of the story's two 'stars,' showing his and NASA's gratitude for the Belgian rock collector's assistance by traveling to one of their club meetings and giving an expert presentation on moon rocks.

Final Score: Mezrich - 0, Roberts - 0, Dr. Gibson + 1, and the Belgian rock collector + 1.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A weak effort.
The author fails to interview anyone except for Thad Roberts and the amateur rock hound from Belgium. A story told no better than the thief could have told himself in first person. Read more
Published 4 days ago by bioboy59
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun afternoon's read
A great writer Mezrich is not, nor -- quite possibly -- an honest one. (At the very least, the objectivity of his reporting is in doubt, and the paucity of thoughtful analysis on... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Librum
4.0 out of 5 stars A wild tale indeed
The Prologue had me hooked. Reading this story was like watching a movie that was based on a true story, and I kept wishing Thad would back out of his crazy plan. Read more
Published 24 days ago by momof3
5.0 out of 5 stars Sex on the Moon
Wow. Sex on the Moon was intense! I cannot believe that all of this really happened! I know some parts were exaggerated since this is a "dramatic account" of true events,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Angie
5.0 out of 5 stars I hope Rebecca reads this book
A wonderful, compelling book that gripped my attention all the way through.
Published 2 months ago by Luke Granfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Title Was a Bit Much
Many previous reviews panned this book for cheesy writing and the author trying to make Thad into a hero of sorts. All of that is probably true. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Robert Sparrenberger
1.0 out of 5 stars Glad the book was a gift
Thank goodness this book was a gift. If I had paid to read it I would be kicking myself. Mezrich acts like the protagonist is a sympathetic character, but this fails miserably. Read more
Published 3 months ago by bks2000
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story. The main character had so much going ...
Good story. The main character had so much going for him, but was living a life of lies. The slick con man got what was a long time coming, lucky for NASA it was sooner than... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Joe
1.0 out of 5 stars I love the author- but disliked this book
I love the author- but disliked this book. Too detailed about a non monetary theft. Not of interest for someone that likes business or gambling related stories.
Published 6 months ago by Mark Paul
3.0 out of 5 stars Just Okay
Easy read and decent story. Not very in depth on character development or plot. If you need a book to pound out during a round trip flight, this is a okay choice.
Published 6 months ago by Philip Moore
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More About the Author

Ben Mezrich has created his own highly addictive genre of nonfiction, chronicling the amazing stories of young geniuses making tons of money on the edge of impossibility, ethics, and morality.

Mezrich's newest thriller Q, takes place in a not so distant future where quarantine law grips hold of a dystopian society and NYC cop Benjamin Grady finds himself in the front line of an unyielding, terrifying epidemic.

Ripped from the headlines, meticulously researched, Q lays bare the truth behind the quarantine laws that are already on the books- and what it would mean to implement them on a national scale.

Q is a true story. It just hasn't happened yet.

Mezrich has authored sixteen books, with a combined printing of over four million copies, including the wildly successful Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, which spent sixty-three weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and sold over 2 million copies in fifteen languages. His book, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal - debuted at #4 on the New York Times list and spent 18 weeks in hardcover and paperback, as well as hit bestseller lists in over a dozen countries. The book was adapted into the movie The Social Network -written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher - and was #1 at the box office for two weeks, won Golden Globes for best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, best score, and was nominated for 8 Oscars, winning 3 including best Adapted Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin. Mezrich and Aaron Sorkin shared a prestigious Scripter Award for best adapted screenplay as well.

SEVEN WONDERS, is a departure of sorts--a high stakes epic thriller that Publishers Weekly calls "An Indiana Jones for the 21st Century." A best-selling gem for Brett Ratner's imprint with Running Press, RatPac Press, and soon to be a blockbuster film.

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