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Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime Hardcover – September 12, 2017
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An Amazon Best Book of September 2017: Ranger Games is a true crime novel that reads like a binge-worthy television show. Ben Blum, like most of his family, was shocked by the actions of his cousin and proud Army Ranger, Alex Blum. On a final leave before deployment, rather than going home to spend time with his family, Alex jumps in a car and drives to Tacoma, WA where he and four others (two of which he didn't know) rob a bank. Was it a training gone wrong or a cry for help yelled from a seemingly perfect exterior? Blum's deep research, crafted storytelling, and seamless writing style will have you sucked in from the start and wanting more when you finish. --Penny Mann
"A gloriously good writer...Ranger Games is both surprising and moving...A memorable, novelistic account."
—Jennifer Senior, New York Times
“Saga and social science both, a riveting exploration of the codes of conduct by which men are meant to comport themselves, the lengths to which we go to forge identity, and how far the stories we tell can be stretched before they become prisons of our own making… Blum is remarkably empathetic, offering heartbreaking portraits… If [he] begins as the odd piece in the family puzzle, his precise, exhaustive and sympathetic work proves both deeply salutary and in step with the logistician’s mind.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Captivating… a riveting exploration of the malleability of memory and the stories we choose to tell — to others and to ourselves… Blum is as gifted with language as he is with numbers, and Ranger Games is an extraordinary book, a thrilling, bumpy journey into the complexities of the mind, with its capacity to protect and betray — often within the very same moment…Surprisingly poignant.”
"On 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
"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 Memoir
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- particularly enjoyed the way the narrating writer came to understand himself and his cousin within the family