Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History

Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History

by Ben Mezrich


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307741349
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/10/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 678,389
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ben Mezrich is the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental BillionairesBringing Down the House, and Sex on the Moon in addition to thirteen other books. The film 21, starring Kevin Spacey, was based on Bringing Down the HouseThe Social Network, which won an Oscar for best adaptation, was based on The Accidental Billionaires

Read an Excerpt

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.

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Sex on the Moon 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 reviews.
nacbookworm More than 1 year ago
Strongest narrative. Coolest story. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys Non-fiction, True Crime, or have an interest in NASA (they delve in deep!). And to anyone who doesn't like Mezrich's "recreating dialogue" style- let me tell you that this will be his least-challenged book by far as Mezrich had complete cooperation from the main subjects of the book. (It also helps that NASA and the FBI made the details of the heist public) Great book, people! Give it a shot!
MarkL74 More than 1 year ago
Mezrich does a great job telling this story. Quick, enjoyable read and highly recommended. I'm a little perplexed why he changed the names of Roberts' accomplices when they were all disclosed in public records.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
This is a true story compiled from several interviews, documents, court records and other sources. Some names have been changed for confidentially reasons. Thad Roberts is so intelligent and smart. He has been kicked out of the Mormon Mission Training Program for being honest about a premarital relationship and is then shunned by his parents. As he contemplates his future he decides he wants to be an astronaut and takes on 3 different majors in science at college and starts applying to the NASA co-op program. He is thrilled when he is accepted. On his second tour in the co-op program Thad decides that he wants to give his girlfriend the moon. literally. He has learned all the ins and outs of the different labs and offices on the base and decides that he can pull off the "most audacious heist in history". He is going to steal actual moon rocks from NASA. My Thoughts Reading this book I thought this can't actually be true. How could a man so intelligent actually think he could pull this off? The story is very compelling and there is no way to avoid a spoiler here because he does really try to pull this off. You have to read this story to actually believe what he goes though and see his thought processes. The way this man believes he is doing no more than a college prank is amazing and it kept me turning the pages. I also couldn't believe that he tried to sell them over the internet and for a very small price considering what they were and their true value. Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History includes actual letters written by Thad Roberts throughout the book. This is a story of his journey kept as true as possible with a few things changed by the author for security reasons. It is a very interesting read. It is not a thriller by any means but a story about the way love and greed can even make a genius do really stupid things. If you are a history buff or interested in NASA at all this is a must read. Mystery fans will like it just from the pure plot standpoint as Roberts pulls his plan together. The title to me though is completely wrong, it may be a trick by the author or publisher to get the book off the shelves into readers hands. There is the moon in this story but very little sex. The Moon Rock Heist would be a much better title. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Doubleday. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
RichSiegel More than 1 year ago
If you are into NASA or science in general, you much read this book. Mezrich does a phenomenal job in telling this story. I found it to be an extremely quick read as I couldn't put my Nook down when I was reading it! I highly recommend this book to anyone who is into science, NASA, mystery, or anything. A great story that anyone can get into.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does Ben Mezrich really believe the self-serving version of Thad Roberts that he portrays in this book or does he think that he and Roberts will make more money from the movie with it written in such a romantic way? This book was obviously written to be turned into a movie in which a thief is a hero. When this sort of movie is fiction it can be fun. This story is not fun since it is based on a real person who is nothing more than a lying thief. Roberts stole irreplaceable scientic journals that have never been recovered and moonrocks that have been tainted and can no longer been used for research. He tries to pretend that is wasn't for money but for love. If this is the case why had he stolen rocks and fossils from his college before landing the internship at NASA and why did he try to sell the rocks? It is a shame that when this waste of paper is turned into a movie this loser will be made into a folk hero. Skip the book; skip the movie. Don't risk Roberts making money off his despicable behavior. A previous reviewer said this was Mezrich's best book yet. I shudder to think how poorly written his other books are. He should stick to screenwriting.
WorldReader1111 24 days ago
I really enjoyed this one. 'Moon' is easy enough to read, with good formatting and clear, functional prose. I'm not the biggest fan of the author's editorialized, quasi-fictional writing style, preferring instead a more objective tone in my non-fiction; however, it does get the story across, and is strong and polished in its own way (as well as funny at all the right times). And indeed, I found the story to be engaging and satisfying, with the text delivering on its premise (and in a comfortable, appropriate length, too). So, with these qualities in mind, the book worked for me, and I think most readers would be satisfied from this outward aspect alone. However, what I liked most, as I do with most literature, was 'Moon's' subtler, secondary content, that threaded through the main story. Chiefly, there's the human study of Mr. Thad Roberts himself, in which we see a classical journey of personal transformation through a long, outrageous, and ultimately redemptive experience, which I found to be valuable on several levels (and oddly inspiring, given the positive outcome of the fiasco and its consequences). Also, I got a lot from the story's many NASA- and space-related details, which provide a behind-the-scenes account of the processes and requirements of becoming a US astronaut; for me, this alone proved rich enough to validate the book, ignoring the heist itself. All in all: a nice, enriching read, from which I learned much (and laughed much, to boot, with a couple cringes thrown in for good measure). My sincere thanks goes out to this book's author, subjects, and publisher. I am grateful for, and have benefited from, your work.
zzshupinga on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I received this book as part of LibraryThing's early review program.It's taken me this long to write the review because it took me this long to plow my way through the book. There was absolutely nothing really enjoyable at all about it for me. First of all is the title. I mean seriously, this is supposed to be the most audacious heist in history? I mean if he was writing about the theft of the Mona Lisa then sure. But this? Not hardly.And then we move onto the hero/criminal of the story, Thad Roberts. I think that we're supposed to be able to relate to him, to see him as just a misunderstood guy who comes from a less than normal background. But instead he comes across as a completely unlikable person that is so obsessed with making his mark on history that he does anything to get there, including some dangerous events. He's boorish, crude, ill mannered, and a complete ass. If this how he behaved in real life I'd have walked away from him after two minutes. In the book he seemingly has no redeeming qualities at all, even when he agrees to take the blame for his two helpers. He seemingly does it, not to spare them of having to serve jail time, but so that he can continue having a girl friend.And then the writing. When I read a book that's talking about a true life event, such as this one, I want to hear the different characters voices. I want to know that its them talking to me and that I get a sense of what they really felt and who they are. Instead, all I hear is the voice of Thad/Ben whining about how no one understands him, no one likes him, his wife doesn't really understand him, and how great/intelligent he is. It feels like we're listening to a movie and Thad/Ben have dubbed their voices over everyone else's.I just can't recommend this book at all and I feel like I'm being nice by giving it two stars.
tommyarmour on LibraryThing 3 months ago
If it were still the 1960's (and believe me, I am aware it isn't) the popular folk singing group back then, the Chad Mitchell Trio, would have been all over this tale as they had been with Boston's Metro Transit Authority's problems. The book is well written and reads very much like a work of fiction, although it seems to be the dream of one egomaniacally twisted NASA employee. Has NASA never heard of psychological testing for those not being considered as astronauts? The book is an easy and fun read, and I will assume NASA did some heavy work controlling the press when all of this happened, as I, for one, do not remember any press coverageof these events. I think I will check my local library for Mr. Mezrich's other works.
KevinJoseph on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Sex on the Moon held my attention as a fascinating character study, but it was not the Right Stuff/Ocean's Eleven style thriller it was marketed to be on the book jacket. Mezrich laid solid groundwork for Thad Roberts's character flaws, showing the heartbreaking rejection he received from his Mormon parents for having an intimate relationship with his girlfriend. His whole life can thus be understood as an effort to compensate for this rejection through the creation of a larger-than-life persona and the relentless pursuit of a nearly unobattainable goal -- to become an astronaut.While the moon rock caper is captivating in its audacity and execution, it comprises a relative small portion of the narrative. For that reason, readers expecting a non-stop thrill ride will likely be disappointed. Other, more patient and thoughtful readers, will find a lot to appreciate in this thoroughly-researched and psychologically-astute study of a young man who flies much too close to the sun.-Kevin Joseph, author of The Champion Maker
MaryinHB on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This is an amazing story of how 3 kids managed to pull off a robbery of an unbelievable magnitude. These college interns managed to earn the trust of some of the brightest minds in the country and steal moon rocks from the Johnson Space Center and NASA. The tale unfolds much like a movie which makes sense since the author also penned The Accidental Billionaires and made it to the big screen under the name The Social Network. Thad Roberts has a brilliant mind and once he puts it to use, no one can stop him. Again, the story seems like fiction but has all of the elements of a thriller if you made up all of the characters. It reminded me a bit of Carl Hiaasen since most of his work is based on true facts. The truth is truly stranger than fiction. Thad Roberts has an almost abusive childhood and is always striving for acceptance. He meets up with two girls and becomes a ring leader among the interns taking them on weekend trips that would make a lot of college kids blush. I am still trying to figure out how these kids were able to pull of this heist. The funniest thing about this whole story is that Thad thought he would get away with the whole scam be selling the rocks through the internet. He might have if it wasn't for a collector that helped bring him down. Overall, a great read that will appeal to those fans of Jon Krakauer mixed with Carl Hiaasen
mrmapcase on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Starting with the larger than life title, Sex on the Moon proceeds at a very brisk pace as it unfolds with the story of a bright young man named Thad Roberts. As with all of Mezrich¿s books this moves at a fast pace and has a fiction-type dialogue. Mezrich does jump around at times which can be confusing at times especially at the ending, which moves to different plots too quickly. That being said, this is an enjoyable book, which will certainly join his other books on the big screen.
realbigcat on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Even though a lot of reviews are less than stellar I found the story interesting. Thad Roberts is a highly motivated and intelligent young man who worked hard and got his foot into NASA. However, his new found personna seemed to force him to do crazier thing all the time. As in many cases the love of a woman helped motivate him to actually go thru with stealing the moon rocks. SInce this is a true story it's really hard to believe that someone could throw away their entire future for only $100k. If he would have continued on and became an astronaut he would have earned far more money than that. Even to this day he can't explain why he actually pulled the heist. I haven't read any of Mezrich's other books but I could see this becoming a movie as well.
UnderMyAppleTree on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The true story of a brilliant young NASA co-op intern who steals moon rocks from NASA's Johnson Space Center and then tries to sell them on the internet. The book reads more like a thriller than a narrative based on a true story. While not action-packed or suspenseful (we know he steals the moon rocks), the story is an entertaining adventure and an easy read. It moves along at a medium pace until almost the end when the real action begins. Thad Roberts is not a likable character. What kept me interested in the story was that he is a real person about to do an amazingly stupid thing. Although the book does not analyze Thad's actions I kept asking myself, "why, why, why did he think he could get away with this?". I'm not sure I came away with a good understanding of what made Thad behave the way he did. He threw away a brilliant carrer with NASA to impress his girlfriend. The authors acknowledges that some names and places were changed for privacy reasons and that some conversations were re-created, but essentially the details and the chronology are true. I also found the background information on NASA and NASA Operations to be interesting and insightful.
manogirl on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I feel like you need to take everything Ben Mezrich writes with a grain of salt. I believe his other books have been dinged for being inaccurate, and I think some people also have a problem with his propensity for inventing dialogue. There is a short introduction in the book which explains his reasoning behind doing the dialogue thing, but even so....sometimes it just feels fictional. In a bad way. I want to know that what I'm reading (if it's non-fiction) is the true story, and with Mezrich, I'm just not sure of that. All that said, it's a pretty entertaining book, if you remember what it is you're reading.
MicheleKingery on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Where's a good dope slap when you need one?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.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'?!
bedda on LibraryThing 3 months ago
It¿s an interesting story but¿I was left a little puzzled. Not about how they pulled off the heist. But about Thad Roberts. I wanted to like this guy, but I didn¿t. And if I couldn¿t like him I wanted to at least understand him, but I didn¿t. His backstory about his hard life growing up and how he overcame everything to get a job at NASA was inspiring but made what he did even harder for me to understand. His motives remain murky. The book did try to explain them but I was left at a loss as to how he made the jump from dedicated employee to thief. I don¿t know if you were supposed to feel sorry for Thad or not. But I was left unmoved. I wanted him to get caught for thinking he could get away with it, for throwing away all that he had worked for and that other people would die to have, for not thinking about who would be hurt by his actions. I found the idea of the crime interesting and it does read like a crime thriller. It manages to have a certain sense of suspense even though you know what is going to happen. I also liked that you got an inside look at NASA to some extent. But I found myself frustrated at the characters here so at times reading this book was almost aggravating. I wanted to shout at these people and often found myself more interested in the secondary characters than I was in Thad. I like Mezrich¿s writing, I just wish I liked the story better. But this being non-fiction I really can¿t blame Mezrich for the actions of the characters. It reads quickly and is interesting in parts so it is worth reading if you are interested in true crime stories but I don¿t think it is something that will stick with you too long after you finish reading the book.
BrieAnn on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This book is about Thad Roberts, a young man who decided to steal some moon rocks from NASA. Most of the book focuses on the path that led Thad Williams to NASA and then to making the decision to steal the moon rocks, rather than on the heist itself. However, based on the portrayal in this book, Thad is a fascinating if not very likeable person, and that combined with prose that reads like fiction, keeps the story from dragging. I found it be an entertaining read.
Wings3496 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Ben Mezrich¿s ¿Sex on the Moon¿ manages to take a true-life story of the ¿most audacious heist in history¿ and turn it into a boring, slow-going drag. The title itself was clearly chosen for its shock value ¿ promising excitement but instead delivering story in a diary-esque manner. The story is of a young man, Thad Roberts, and his voyage from repressed Mormon youth to NASA co-op with an eye for adventure. The author attempts to delve into Roberts¿ mindset and motivations, yet the characterization remains superficial at best ¿ negating any chance of establishing attachment or sympathy. Nearly any time female characters are described it creates an awkward and uncomfortable feeling of inappropriateness. The story drags slowly forward only to suddenly accelerate at the end, where it finally seems to settle into the tempo that would have served well for the entire novel. When you consider that the events of the story really took place, it is fairly amazing. However, I would recommend simply reading about the event on Wikipedia, rather than buying this book.
rybie2 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
First, some advice: do not be attracted to this book because you care about the space program, NASA, astronauts, or astronomy; you will certainly be disappointed. Thad Roberts (the real- life protagonist in this dubious work) is no brilliant hero; in fact, his actions are downright stupid,and ethically beyond contempt. As an undergraduate intern at the Johnson Space Center, Roberts violated the trust placed in him by NASA and destroyed a budding career by stealing a quarter pound of moon rocks for personal gain. What¿s more, he devastated the career of his kindly mentor, space scientist Dr. Everett K. Gibson, by trashing 30 years worth of carefully- collected analytical data that span the history of the space program. The data were literally irreplaceable and their loss to science incalculable. Roberts did not just steal from Gibson or NASA or even the USA¿ he stole from the scientific community and the world at large. But to pop author Ben Mezrich, Thad Roberts is a madcap James Bond- like adventurer who is worth a book; and with a movie deal now pending, he and Roberts will laugh all the way to the bank. It may even turn out to be worth the >8 years that Roberts spent in prison, and the lives of the four people (his wife, his lover, and two friends) that he devastated by his criminal activity. This is at best a work of historical fiction, and a badly written one at that. Mezrich presents the tale with what he calls ¿re-created dialogue.¿ That means that in describing events that took place as much as 15 years ago, Mezrich makes up words and puts them into the mouths of the various characters (most of whose names he admits that he's changed). He also reports their alleged thoughts, feelings, and physiological states, routinely in the first person. But Mezrich¿s omniscience does not stop there. He also knows the psychological causes of his characters¿ aberrant behavior: Roberts is a Mormon; his parents had disowned him for having sex with his girlfriend; his wife didn¿t understand him; he wanted to be cool and attract ¿chicks¿ ( yes, ¿chicks,¿ in a book written in 2011); and so on. All this is done for the sake of a story, sensationalized on the book cover as ¿the amazing story of the most audacious heist in history.¿ Under the circumstances, how reliable is the book from a factual standpoint? Not very, because we have nothing but the author¿s own conjectures that events happened as he claims, and much is clearly invented and exaggerated for effect. Was the theft really ¿from an impregnable high tech vault¿? Certainly not; it was a simple combination safe in a scientist¿s lab, one that Roberts picked up on a dolly and took away by jeep. (The college students were able to remove the safe's door with simple power tools). What about the millions of dollars worth of moon rocks? In fact, they stole 1/5 of a pound (100 grams) in tiny pieces, and the illegal booty was only worth what someone might be induced to pay (which turned out to be nothing). How about the ¿sex on the moon¿ line? Supposedly Thad Roberts stuffed a bit under a hotel room mattress before he and his girlfriend went at it ¿ get it? (Did anything like that ever happen? Not likely, given Mezrich's reputation for making things up in his books). And then there's the criminal genius, Thad Roberts: the boy advertises the moon rocks on the internet, falls for a transparent FBI sting operation, and gets carted off to prison along with his accomplices. Sorry, I gave this book a fair shot. The story doesn¿t come close to matching the hype, and the writing is terrible. Further, I cringe to consider that the perpetrator now gets to profit from his crime.
katiekrug on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This was mildly diverting, but I have never liked smarty-pants college kids who think it is okay to do something just because they can. The author tries to treat Thad Roberts, the brilliant university student who stole lunar rock samples from NASA (and yes, had sex with his girlfriend on top of them), in a balanced way, but seriously? I¿m sorry his home life was messed up and that he was shy and socially awkward, but I have no sympathy for this guy who threw away amazing opportunities and turned his back on people who believed in him. His enormous ego and sense of entitlement landed him exactly where he deserved ¿ federal prison. Some people really are too smart for their own good.
Livana on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I have to echo what another reviewer said about Thad not being very likable. I wanted to finish the book, but had to force myself to read through the last third of it. The story is interesting, but selling it as an Ocean's Eleven/"most audacious heist in history" story is clearly false advertising at best and just plain arrogant.The book reads like a continuous pity party for Thad. Even after reading about his (tough? More like strict) upbringing in a Mormon family, I cannot feel sorry, bad or any empathy for him. He cheated on his wife with a girl he barely knew and did something really stupid.
karen.collins on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Interesting true story - the human interest side definetly keeps this book moving along quickly but the human psyche is such an interesting place too! How he thought what he did was justified is just amazing! Good story, interesting details, super quick read!
karieh on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Reading about larger than life characters and larger than life undertakings is fascinating to me. However, while certainly interesting, I didn¿t find the story of Thad Roberts fascinating. I suppose it might be because although novel, the story of this part of his life and the story of this crime didn¿t ask or answer any big questions for me. I ended up being disappointed not so much in the book, but in the person described in the book.In many stories about true crime, there is a desire to understand ¿Why?¿ Why people do such horrific things, what happened in their lives to drive them to commit such crimes? We want to understand ¿Why?¿ so that we can identify what it is about these people that makes them not like us, and want to identify ourselves as very much not like them.In ¿Sex on the Moon¿, however, the crime is neither horrific nor particularly clever. It is unique in that moon rocks had never been stolen before¿. (I did learn that it was illegal to own moon rocks, which certainly make sense, but was a new fact for me.) One of the major reasons for this, a reason that keeps Thad from committing the crime for a while, is that those people who have access to the rocks, wouldn¿t consider doing something that would remove their chance to be a part of one of the greatest undertakings of humankind.Instead, the crime is one committed for most of the usual reasons. Love, money and much too large an ego. This young man sees himself as more important than the program ¿ a star more important than the universe itself. Thad compares himself several times to James Bond and the reader is made very aware that he thinks of himself as practically a hero.¿Steeling himself ¿ without the help of a really good theme song ¿ Thad skirted past the low hedge and across the crowded parking lot.¿It¿s a shame that a great mind, so in love with learning, goes so wrong. That instead of focusing on the ways that he could move exploration and knowledge forward, that he is deterred by more profitable motives.¿Thad has his own word for it: serenity. The moment when the act of science organically shifted into the art of science; when even the most mundane, choreographed procedures achieved such a rhythm that they became invisible chords of a single violin lost in the complexity of a perfect symphony. Minutes shifting into a state of timelessness, where the world seemed frozen but Thad was somehow moving forward: content, fulfilled, free.¿For those of us who will only experience the science of space travel through films and television and books ¿ it is very disappointing to read this story of someone who had a chance to get closer to the dream ¿ and who threw it away.At the end of the book, there is a hint that the ego that drove Thad to plan and commit this crime may have been humbled a bit. ¿Thad had always been a quick study. At NASA, being quick to pick up how things worked had been important because it had caught the attention of the people Thad had needed to impress, and it had given him that extra edge so that he could construct the person he wanted to be, right from day one. In county jail, being quick to pick up how things worked as important because it kept Thad alive.¿One can only hope that after having been confined to a jail cell, the art of the science can fulfill Roberts mind so that he can indeed, be free.
jmgold on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I have some very conflicting feelings in regards to Sex on the Moon after finishing it. I enjoyed the first 2/3 or so of the book a great deal, being the portion that has nothing to do with the heist that is the book's selling point. Mezrich instead gets enthralled by his protagonists time at NASA and his enthusiasm for the history and significance of the agency, and when he's focusing on this the book is fantastic!However, this is book is advertised as being the story of the largest heist in NASA history, and in that regard the book is unbelievably disappointing. I'm not sure if the problem is ultimately that Mezrich just wasn't very interested in the heist itself or if he doesn't really know how to tell a heist story but everything you'd expect to be covered gets pretty much ignored. The planning phase of the heist is never touched upon and the actual crime doesn't get much more than a few pages of coverage. And unfortunately that lack of focus makes the whole book feel a bit slight. Still, I'd recommend this book for the first half that reads like a love letter to NASA.
cwlongshot on LibraryThing 3 months ago
If you want to know what it takes to work at NASA, this book is a fascinating insider's view. If the NASA intern hadn't ruined his career with a monumentally foolish act who knows what he might have accomplished. As a former NASA intern myself I admit part of my attraction to this book was nostalgic (though I was at Goddard SFC not Houston). Very well written account and I enjoyed the narration as well despite the rather flat delivery. I only wish the author (or was it the publisher?) had chosen a better title.