Ranger Games

Ranger Games

A Story of Soldiers, Family and An Inexplicable Crime

Book - 2017 | First edition
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Alex Blum was a good kid with one unshakeable goal in life: become a US Army Ranger. On the day of his leave before deployment to Iraq, Alex 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.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385538435 hardcover
038553843X hardcover
Branch Call Number: 364.155209 BLU
Characteristics: x, 412 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Alex Blum was days from his first deployment to Iraq as Army Ranger when he was arrested after driving the getaway car during an armed bank robbery in Tacoma. The author, his cousin, thoughtfully explores what might've led to Alex's shocking undoing.

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A guy is brainwashed by his Army training, and falls under the sway of a psychopath. Together with some other guys, they rob a bank. They are arrested quickly, and jailed. The guy's cousin tries to understand what went on in the minds of those involved, with little success. That's about it in a nutshell.

Apr 16, 2018

The world of the military is revealed through this excellent book; I was absolutely enthralled. The more interesting aspect is the way Chilliwack, Peachland, and other local BC spots are identified by the author as troubled communities with disaffected young men prepared to wreak havoc for no real reason other than the thrill of adventure. I think any young person who is interested in joining the military should be required to read this book.

Mar 13, 2018

A disturbing but accurate portrayal of the destruction of a young man’s personality and moral compass. Alex embraces a Ranger’s fantasy only to discover he is betrayed by the ideal that does not exist! The army transforms a kind, warm and humorous fellow to a man whose only focus is to obey and please his superiors devoid of ethical conduct. A tragic and difficult read, this book reveals the caste system within the army and the purposeful intent of the army to reduce a person to an unthinking automotan.

VaughanPLDavidB Oct 10, 2017

This is an excellent account of one man's search to find the truth of a seemingly inexplicable crime that shattered so many individuals and families. There is a theme running through the book that the author does not address, nor would I expect him to: the cult of militarism that pervades so much of American society, that sucks young men and women into a physical and psychological meat grinder and spits them out on the other side, discarded. The cult also exists here in Canada, but to a much smaller extent. Fortunately for this country, Canadians generally have a much healthier skepticism of the military, and view it as a necessary, but not dominant part of our society.


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