• The Quiet Zone

  • Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence
  • By: Stephen Kurczy
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Captivating." (Kirkus)

"Fascinating, deeply reported, and slightly eerie." (BookPage, starred review)

"The Quiet Zone will live on in your memory." (Bill McKibben)

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.

©2021 Stephen Kurczy (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Quiet Zone

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Yawn…

This book would have been great it it was 40 pages in length. There were a few nuggets but hardly worth wading through self indulgent descriptions of the same thing from 27 different angles.

Bloated is the best description of this book.
Waste of money.

2 people found this helpful

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Pocahontas story - from an observer

Mr. Wayne does a great job with the narration!

Mr. Kurczy’s impressive research and presentations were on-target with my observations (as a “come here”) of this unique part of the East. “Wild, wonderful West Virginia” says it as well as anything.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting Listen but A Lot Going On

Kurczy wrote the book beautifully. His interviews and research gave depth to what could have been a bland story about a town in Appalachia.

However, the story had a lot of surprising elements. I won’t spoil anything but there are chapters about Neo-Nazis, true crime, hippies, electro-sensitives, the supernatural, and Patch Adams.

These side stories were a lot to take on. I went into the book believing it would mainly address Green Bank, the Observatory, the National Science Foundation and the quest to maintain limited interference so scientists could receive accurate signals from space.

Of course these topics were addressed but in a manner second to the community’s people, politics, and hillbilly justice (not my term).

In a time when many of us spend way more time on devices thanks to the pandemic and remote work and distance learning, I wanted to learn more about how a town tries (and sometimes fails) to remain disconnected.

The electro-sensitive a were a good complement to this, but I could’ve done without the long winded look into the National Alliance and unsolved murders.

In the end, it was an interesting read and a book I would recommend to some. Kurczy’s writing made this for me. I enjoyed his experiences in Green Bank and interviews with locals. Without these, I’m not sure I would have finished the book.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting. Too Meandering. Judgmental.

Entertaining writing. Very interesting profiles of the people he interviewed. The book is something like a simmering, backburner, potboiler. It's somewhat helpful in guaging what the Greenbank Observatory's science and politics are about. And the author interviewed a known Nazi without ever considering that the Nazi would research him, and girlfriend of Korean descent. So the author’s due diligence is therefore suspect to me. And I'm uninterested in its chapter devoted to how MD Hunter Doherty has bilked people, or the diabolical doings of white supremacists.

The book is also unscientifically judgmental and absolutely inadequately cited for good studies about electro-sensitive people, and the known and unknown environmental impacts of toxic EMF smog on living organisms including humans. The author did not thoroughly research the effects of EMF from the best sources of which I know. He could have easily found them on his own. One of those sources includes a widely renowned research psychologist who has extensively studied bioenergetics, and who could point Mr. Kurczy to two astounding and more recent facts. One is that humans have subcutaneous cells which can sense EMFs. The other is that good scientists have discovered a new organ in the human body, dubbed the interstitium, for which the basal channels are our lymphatic systems, and the interstitium is implicated in the nearly instantaneous transmission of information around our bodies.

1 person found this helpful

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Just finished “The Quiet Zone” and reading it again!

Absolutely a must a read ….. I have purchased 4 additional copies as gifts and definitely purchase more…. I very much appreciate the “deep dive” and supporting research that lend to making informed decisions and great dialogue
Terry Grant

1 person found this helpful

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