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The Quiet Zone: Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence

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The quiet town of the sub-title is Green Bank, West Virginia, population 250. It is quiet because that is where the Green Bank Observatory has been located ever since 1956. It prohibits the use of all devices emanating radio frequencies, including WiFi and iPads, within a radius of ten sparsely-populated miles because it is trying to pick up signals from outer space to protect us from alien creatures. No wonder a journalist like Stephen Kurczy wanted to live here for a while and experience it and tell the world about it. Those of you who blame social media for conspiracy theories, have another think coming, because the National Radio Quiet Zone has attracted quite a few without the aid of social media. And those of you who feel that the latest technology is a good thing will be reinforced by learning that the Quiet Zone has experienced quite a few unsolved murders. Perhaps practically all readers will be frightened to learn that it has also attracted white supremacists. Still, the vast majority of residents are about as normal as any Americans, and Kurczy gives us a feel for what they are all about as well. Congratulations to Stephen Kurczy, a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism, for bringing us this fascinating story. “Captivating. … A multilayered illustration of a unique community where things aren’t always what they seem.” -- Kirkus Reviews. "What a fascinating book! This corner of America is unique for its electromagnetic silence—but once Stephen Kurczy starts looking he finds that it's unique in other ways too. The Quiet Zone will live on in your memory."  -- Bill McKibben. "[A] fascinating, deeply reported and slightly eerie look at an unusual corner of America. ... With compassion and a journalist's eye [Kurczy] delivers a compelling portrait." BookPage (Starred Review).

New York: Dey St./William Morrow, 2021. 326 pages with an Index and end-pages maps. Hardback in dust jacket.