"[Ranger Games] is 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."
The Wall Street Journal

"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."

The Washington Post


"Ben Blum [is] a gloriously good writer... a memorable, novelistic account."
The New York Times
 

"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

"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."
- Mary Gaitskill, author of The Mare and Somebody With a Little Hammer

"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

REVIEWS

© 2020 by Ben Ash Blum.