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Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History (Anglais) Relié – 12 juillet 2011

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Descriptions du produit


It had to be the strangest getaway in history.
            Thad Roberts tried to control his nerves as he stared up through the windshield of the idling four-wheel-drive Jeep. The rain was coming down in violent gray sheets, so fierce and thick he could barely make out the bright red traffic light hanging just a few feet in front of him. He had been sitting there for what seemed like forever; a long stretch of pavement serpentined into the gray mist behind him, winding back past a half-dozen other traffic lights—all of which he’d had to wait through, in exactly the same fashion. Even worse, between the lights he’d had to keep the Jeep at an agonizing five miles per hour—a veritable crawl along the desolate, rain-swept streets of the tightly controlled compound. It was unbelievably hard to drive at five miles per hour, especially when your neurons were going off like fireworks and your heart felt like it was going to blow right through your rib cage. But five miles per hour was the mandatory speed limit of the compound—posted every few yards on signs by the road—and at five miles per hour, once you hit one red light, you were going to hit them all.
            Thad’s fingers whitened against the Jeep’s steering wheel as he watched the red glow, willing it to change to green. He wanted nothing more than to gun the engine, put his foot right through the floor, break the speed limit, and get the hell out of there. But he knew that there were cameras everywhere—that the entire getaway was being filmed and broadcast on more than a dozen security consoles. For this to work, he had to stay calm, obey the rules. He had to appear as if he belonged.
            He took a deep breath, let the red glow from the traffic light splash across his cheeks. Only a few more seconds. He used the opportunity to toss a quick glance toward the passenger seat—which didn’t help at all. Sandra looked even more terrified than he felt. Her face was ivory white, her eyes like saucers. He wanted to say something to calm her down, but he couldn’t think of the words. She was pretty, with blondish-brown hair; even younger than Thad, barely nineteen years old. Maybe not the ideal accomplice for something like this—but she was an electronics specialist, and she had practically begged to be a part of the scheme.
            Thad shifted his eyes toward the center “seat” between them, and almost smiled at the sight of his girlfriend crouched down beneath the dashboard, her lithe body curled up into a tight little ball. Rebecca had jet-black hair, cut short against her alabaster skin, and she was even prettier than Sandra. She had just turned twenty. But as young as she was, she was the only one of the three of them who didn’t look scared. Her blue eyes were positively glowing with excitement. To her, this was beyond thrilling—really, James Bond kind of shit. Looking at her, Thad was infused with adrenalin. They were so damn close.
            And suddenly he was bathed in green as the light finally changed. Thad touched the gas pedal, and the Jeep jerked forward—then he quickly lifted his foot—making sure the speedometer read exactly 5 mph. The slow-motion getaway continued, the only sounds the rumble of the Jeep’s engines and the crackle of the rain against the windshield.
            A bare few minutes later, they came to the last traffic light—and again, of course, it was red. Even worse, Thad quickly made out the security kiosk just a few yards to the left of the light. He could see at least two uniformed guards inside. Thad held his breath as he slowed the Jeep to a stop at the light; he kept his head facing forward, willing Sandra to do the same. He didn’t want to have to explain why he was at the compound, past midnight on a Saturday. Thad was counting on the fact that neither of the guards would be eager to step out into the rain to interrogate him. Even so, if one of the guards had looked carefully, he might have noticed that the Jeep was sagging in the back. In fact, the vehicle’s rear axle was bent so low that the chassis almost scraped the ground as they idled at the traffic stop.
            The sag of the Jeep was one of the few things that Thad and his two accomplices hadn’t planned. A miscalculation, actually—the safe that Thad and the two girls had hoisted into the back of the Jeep—less than ten minutes ago—weighed much more than Thad had expected—probably close to six hundred pounds. It had taken all three of them and a levered dolly to perform the feat, and even so Thad had strained every muscle in his back and legs getting the damn thing situated properly. Thad was just thankful that the Jeep’s axle hadn’t collapsed under the weight. As it was, he was pretty sure that even a cursory inspection of the vehicle would be enough to blow the whole operation.
            Thankfully, neither of the guards made any move to step out of the kiosk. When the light shifted to green, Thad had to use all of his self-control to barely touch the gas—piloting them forward at the prescribed 5 mph. Almost instantly, the exit gate came into view. They approached, inch by inch—and at the last minute, the gate swung upward, out of the way. And then they were through. Thad slowly accelerated. Ten mph.
            Twenty mph.
            Thirty mph.
            He glanced in the rearview mirror. The compound had receded into the rain.
            He looked at Sandra—and she stared back at him. Rebecca uncurled herself and sat up in the middle of the Jeep, throwing an arm over his shoulder. Then they were all screaming in joy. They had done it. My God, they had truly pulled it off.
            When the celebration had died down, Thad glanced into the rearview mirror again—but this time, he wasn’t looking at the road behind them. He could see the dark bulk of the safe, covered in a plastic tarp they had bought in a hardware store just twenty-four hours ago. The sight of the thing caused his chest to tighten—a mix of anticipation and what could only be described as pure awe.
            In that safe was the most precious substance on earth. A national treasure—of unimaginable value, something that had never been stolen before—something that could never, in fact, be replaced. Thad wasn’t sure what the contents of the safe were worth—but he did know that if he’d wanted to, he could have just as easily walked off with enough of the stuff to make him the richest man in the world. As it was, he and his accomplices had pulled off one of the biggest heists in U.S. history.
            But to Thad, it hadn’t really been about the monetary value of the contents of the safe. All he’d really wanted to do was keep a promise to the girl sitting next to him, her arm over his shoulder. A simple promise that a million other men had made to millions of women over the years.
            He had promised to give her the moon.
            The difference was, Thad Roberts was the first man who was actually going to keep that promise.

Revue de presse

"[M]ovie-worthy treatment to the guy who stole moon rocks from NASA"--The New York Daily News

"[An] in-depth look at Thad Roberts, who along with three other NASA interns, stole pieces of lunar rock to impress his girlfriend. Mezrich has done extensive research to recreate the story of how an aspiring astronaut ended up getting caught for stealing over 100 pieces of the moon."--The Atlantic Monthly

"[Mezrich is] a genius at using characters and dialogue....to turn nonfiction into something as compelling as any thriller."--The Chronicle Herald

"In Sex on the Moon, author Ben Mezrich details the riveting account of how one of the most improbable heists in history went down....a fast and furious read, powered along by Mezrich’s desire never to take his eyes off the story."
--Chicago Post-Tribune

"[A]n out-of-this-world heist"--USA Today

"Ben Mezrich’s latest straight-to-the-big-screen book....fascinating protagonist.....[Mezrich is] an accomplished storyteller.....a rollicking summertime page-turner crackling with sex, astronauts, stolen dinosaur bones and international cyber-intrigue"--The Miami Herald

"A breathless, credulous style....memorable supporting characters....adventure, sex, romance, a hero who is equal parts Clifford Irving from The Hoax, Frank Abagnale from Catch Me If You Can, and George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life,....entertaining"--The Boston Globe

" [A] thrilling account of space rock heist...fun, breezy action"--Tampa Tribune

"Eloquent prose and a direct view into the characters’ mind...the access to Roberts and re-creation of his motivation and personality are Sex On The Moon’s best qualities."
--The Onion

"[A] fascinating story....has the readability of popular fiction, a ripping story, and great characters....Another winner from an extremely talented writer"--Booklist, starred review

"Mezrich has uncovered another high-stakes, fascinating true story....part love story, part madcap caper, part astro-geekery, the book is one of the summer's most fun reads."--NPR

"Out of this world heist...one of the summer's most buzzed-about books"--CNN.com

"Page-turner....engaging read."--San Antonio Express-News

"Ben Mezrich, the gonzo-inspired biographer of Ivy League geeks.....[brings us a] stranger-than-fiction, true-life thriller of a man who went where no man has gone before....[the] story ticked all the boxes: a charismatic dreamer with a troubled past, a Romeo-and-Juliet love story, a geek-alicious high-tech setting, an ingenious Oceans 11-style heist—and perhaps the most boneheaded mistake any man ever made to impress a girl. Even better, it was a journalist’s Holy Grail: a truly uncovered story."--Book Page

"Deliciously readable"--Baltimore Jewish Times

"Ben Mezrich goes to incredible lengths to bring readers a story that is both accurate and spellbinding, honest and riveting"--Portsmouth Wire

"A pulse-pounding tale"--Patriot Ledger

"This is the incredible story of a crime truly out of this world, told with verve by Mezrich"--News of the World

"Compelling"--Atlanta Jewish Times

"[E]nthusiastically re-creates this oddball 2002 moon-rock heist"--Kirkus Reviews

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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 320 pages
  • Editeur : Doubleday (12 juillet 2011)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0385533926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385533928
  • Dimensions du produit: 16,3 x 2,9 x 24,5 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 612.389 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Par Boyd Hone le 18 décembre 2012
Format: Broché
I hesitate to add my review to the hundred or so others concerning this book, but I can't help myself, maybe because Thad Roberts and I shared a few of the same life experiences, the same university (a great one, with Doctor Hawks whom I adored) and the same religion, a silly diversion I outgrew at age 19 (we never learn if Roberts outgrew his involvement too). Robert's father was a pathetic tyrant but at least Roberts wasn't beaten as I was by mine. Roberts accomplished so many things when he decided to become an astronaut that a lot of them--becoming not only a scuba diver but a diving instructor, a pilot (for Christ's sake!), a student of Japanese (!) and Russian--are dismissed in just one paragraph. From then he went on to do many `cool' things, a word the author affections, like skydiving, hang gliding, coolissimo outings where he was organizer, instructor and star. (At 18 I escaped to France where I now live.) We never learn if he had a lot of sex away from his wife while at NASA (for ten years that, and visiting museums, was all I did--plus teaching English--although I picked up a workable knowledge of a few languages along the way). I looked up his photo on the Net. Good build and a head--without being overly attractive--that girls could say `Why not?' to. Then he blows it, reminding me of a scene in a Houston movie during which a girl, who blows guys for a living, is described in this way: `She's just a gal out to make a buck like any American.' That for me is Thad Roberts, a dude who blew a fabulous future just to make an American buck. I hated his arrest and suffering. I just wanted him free to go the unique way his unique brain would take him. I don't know why the talented Thad Roberts didn't write Sex on the Moon himself; as for me, I've written 5 books, two of which are on Amazon under Michael Hone.
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132 internautes sur 145 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Second-rate story, third-rate writing 29 juillet 2011
Par Gary Schroeder - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
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.

Mezrich also seems to have a writing tick in which he is compelled to start sentences with "Hell,..." as in "Hell, the guy was really making a scene", "Hell, he was beginning to feel loose", "Hell, maybe they'd all end up visiting that pristine beach", "Hell, maybe the need to apologize went even further back", etc., etc. This became almost comical as the pages wore on.

I have to hold the editor(s) of this book responsible for this. I don't think they read this book. Here's some zingers they let slip through: "Matt had remembered Thad as the brilliant kind in physics classes who was willing to go further and think freer than anyone else." Think "freer"? Describing an unpleasant scene inside a federal prison Mezrich writes "there was such an undercurrent of anger and subverted violence in that place." "Subverted" violence? Could he have meant submerged or supressed? In another chapter, he refers to the "infamous orange soil" collected by the Apollo astronauts. Okay, that soil was certainly _famous_, but "infamous"? Someone needs to check the dictionary.

This is a lousy book undeserving of your time. Buy something else.
23 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Where's a Good Dope Slap When You Need One? 23 novembre 2011
Par Michele Kingery - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
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.


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.

Writer Ben Mezrich does an nice job nailing the zeitgeist of NASA, at least from Roberts' perspective, which brings me to the big question I had with this book. Are the thoughts in Roberts' head, his, or Mezrich's "interpretation" of them? There is a sort of contrived feel to expressions like "Thad swelled with pride", etc. The third person narration makes this book read like a hybrid of memoir, biography and creative non-fiction. My rat-like mind was scrabbling for a label(still is) and I had to push that aside (as best I could) in order to just enjoy the story.

Sex On The Moon is an enjoyable read. Having grown up in the era of space exploration, it was interesting to get an "insider's" view into one facet of NASA. As for Thad Roberts, hopefully he's learned a lesson and been able to piece his life back together.

But moon rocks?

Thad, what the heck were ya' thinkin'?!
26 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Not an amazing story 12 août 2011
Par C. Callahan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
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.
23 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Merits Only Two Pages, At Most - 4 août 2011
Par George Bush - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
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.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
You'd think sex on the moon would be more fun 17 août 2011
Par Joseph P. Menta, Jr. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
"Sex on the Moon" relates the story of NASA intern Thad Roberts, who tried to steal priceless moon rocks from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Well, he actually did steal them, but not for long.

I usually don't have a problem with stories about anti-heroes or people who make mistakes, but for some reason this book kind of annoyed me. First, Thad Roberts leaves his smart, supportive, pretty wife for a cute NASA intern, all because his wife had the temerity to want to talk about HER job every once in a while, or wanted Thad to occasionally socialize with her friends and colleagues. Imagine! Oh, yes, I should also mention that Thad's wife was a successful fashion model. What a rough road he had, no wonder he left her!

Secondly, Thad totally dismisses the value of his gold-standard NASA internship to plan the heist of moon rocks securely stored at the NASA facility where he worked. Incidentally, these are the moon rocks that- in case people forget- were procured by selfless astronauts taking on impossibly dangerous odds to further mankind's knowledge of the universe. But Thad needed some extra cash and a few thrills, so what's the big deal, right?

Finally, on top of the above annoyances, the heist itself generates no suspense whatsoever, due to a parallel plotline- that unfolds right alongside Thad's scatterbrained operation- that reveals that the FBI was aware of Thad's plan almost from the beginning. So I knew that, despite any meager engagement I had with Thad's plan (I tried to be interested on at least a technical level, despite my disapproval), the FBI was just waiting for the right moment to crash the party. Which is what it did. What a shock!

Oh, the title of the book? It references a scene after the heist, when Thad seduces his naive girlfriend- yes, he drew her into his plan, too- on a hotel room bed, with several of the moon rocks placed beneath them under the mattress cover. "Sex on the Moon", get it? Anyway, her future at NASA was eventually ruined, too. But at least she had a romantic adventure with wonderful Thad first.

Did the book have any plusses? Sure. Author Ben Mezrich has a smooth, engaging storytelling style, and I enjoyed learning a little about all the behind-the-scenes activity at NASA. But learning about NASA only made me more annoyed at Thad Roberts' plan to hurt and embarrass the agency.

I should also be fair and point out that the book doesn't promote what Thad did as harmless or right, or anything like that. But, as most of the book relates Thad's viewpoint on things, and Thad tends to go easy on himself, the book does somewhat romanticize and glamourize Thad's actions, and minimize the wrongness of what he did.

So, my own take is that if you can get past the generally unlikable central character and the lack of suspense in the heist plotline, you might get a modest bit of entertainment out of this book. Just don't hope for the moon and stars.
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