Unplug with The Quiet Zone by Stephen Kurczy!

Haven't we all wished we could ditch our technology and get some peace and quiet? Stephen Kurczy will be with us to talk about a community that has been unplugged forever - and likes it that way. Kurczy will be in conversation at this launch event with Samuel G. Freedman.


About the Book: 

A stunning portrait of an Appalachian community, the people who call it home, and the enduring human quest for quiet

Deep in the Appalachian Mountains lies the last truly quiet town in America. Green Bank, West Virginia, is a place at once futuristic and old-fashioned: It’s home to the Green Bank Observatory, where astronomers search the depths of the universe using the latest technology, while schoolchildren go without WiFi or iPads. With a ban on all devices emanating radio frequencies that might interfere with the observatory’s telescopes, Quiet Zone residents live a life free from constant digital connectivity. But a community that on the surface seems idyllic is a place of contradictions, where the provincial meets the seemingly supernatural and quiet can serve as a cover for something darker.

Stephen Kurczy embedded in Green Bank, making the residents of this small Appalachian village his neighbors. He shopped at the town’s general store, attended church services, went target shooting with a seven-year-old, square-danced with the locals, sampled the local moonshine. In The Quiet Zone, he introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters. There is a tech buster patrolling the area for illegal radio waves; “electrosensitives” who claim that WiFi is deadly; a sheriff’s department with a string of unsolved murder cases dating back decades; a camp of neo-Nazis plotting their resurgence from a nearby mountain hollow. Amongst them all are the ordinary citizens seeking a simpler way of living. Kurczy asks: Is a less connected life desirable? Is it even possible?

The Quiet Zone is a remarkable work of investigative journalism—at once a stirring ode to place, a tautly-wound tale of mystery, and a clarion call to reexamine the role technology plays in our lives.

Stephen Kurczy is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Economist, The Christian Science Monitor, and VICE, among other outlets. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he was a 2016-2017 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism. His fifteen-year career began as a community newspaper reporter, winning top prizes from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists and the New England Press Association. He has since reported on finance, global affairs, and mega sports events as a foreign correspondent from more than a dozen countries. He has also received several recognitions from Columbia University for his writing. Kurczy has lived without a cell phone for over a decade. 

Samuel G. Freedman is a professor at Columbia University and former columnist for The New York Times. He is the author of nine acclaimed books, including Small Victories, which was a finalist for the 1990 National Book Award, and The Inheritance, which was a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize. He is currently at work on his tenth book, about Hubert Humphrey, Civil Rights, and the 1948 Democratic convention.  

Event date: 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021 - 6:00pm

Event address: 

Online On Crowdcast
The Quiet Zone: Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062945495
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dey Street Books - August 3rd, 2021

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ISBN: 9781439189788
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 12th, 2014