Ben Mezrich

Ben Mezrich was born in 1969 and received a degree in social studies from Harvard University in 1991. He originally wrote fiction, occasionally under the pseudonym Holden Scott, before switching to nonfiction. His nonfiction works include Ugly Americans, Busting Vegas, Rigged, and Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History. Two of his books were made into films. In 2008, Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions was made into the film 21 and in 2010, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal was made into the film Social Network. He appeared on Court TV in the series High Stakes with Ben Mezrich and has hosted the World Series of Blackjack.
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The bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and The 37th Parallel tells the fascinating Jurassic Park­-like story of the genetic restoration of an extinct species—the woolly mammoth. “Paced like a thriller…Woolly reanimates history and breathes new life into the narrative of nature” (NPR).

With his “unparalleled” (Booklist, starred review) writing, Ben Mezrich takes us on an exhilarating and true adventure story from the icy terrain of Siberia to the cutting-edge genetic labs of Harvard University. A group of scientists work to make fantasy reality by splicing DNA from frozen woolly mammoth into the DNA of a modern elephant. Will they be able to turn the hybrid cells into a functional embryo and potentially bring the extinct creatures to our modern world?

Along with this team of brilliant scientists, a millionaire plans to build the world’s first Pleistocene Park and populate a huge tract of the Siberian tundra with ancient herbivores as a hedge against an environmental ticking time bomb that is hidden deep within the permafrost. More than a story of genetics, this is a thriller illuminating the real-life race against global warming, of the incredible power of modern technology, of the brave fossil hunters who battle polar bears and extreme weather conditions, and the ethical quandary of cloning extinct animals. This “rollercoaster quest for the past and future” (Christian Science Monitor) asks us if we can right the wrongs of our ancestors who hunted the woolly mammoth to extinction and at what cost?
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House—the sources for the films The Social Network and 21—comes the larger-than-life true tale of a group of American college buddies who brilliantly built a billion-dollar online poker colossus based out of the hedonistic paradise of Costa Rica.

One problem: the U.S. Department of Justice was gunning for them. . . .

Based on extensive insider interviews and participation, acclaimed author Ben Mezrich's Straight Flush tells the captivating rags-to-riches tale of a group of University of Montana frat brothers who turned a weekly poker game in the basement of a local dive bar into AbsolutePoker.com, one of the largest online companies in the world, on par with some of the behemoths of the Internet. At its height, Absolute Poker was an online empire earning more than a million dollars a day, following savvy business strategy and even better luck. Its founders set up their operations in the exotic jungle paradise of Costa Rica, embracing an outrageous lifestyle of girls, parties, and money.

Meanwhile, the gray area of U.S. and international law in which the company operated was becoming a lot more risky, and soon the U.S. Department of Justice had placed a bull's-eye on Absolute Poker. Should they fold—or double down and ride their hot hand? Impossible to put down, Straight Flush is an exclusive, never-before-seen look behind the headlines of one of the wildest business stories of the past decade.

A real-life mix of The X-Files and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Mezrich “writes vividly and grippingly…A terrific story…[that] will make a heck of a movie” (The Washington Post). Here is the “fascinating” (Publishers Weekly) true story of a computer programmer who tracks paranormal events in remote areas of the western United States and is drawn deeper and deeper into a mysterious conspiracy.

Like Agent Mulder of The X-Files, microchip engineer and sheriff’s deputy Chuck Zukowski is obsessed with tracking down UFO reports in Colorado. He even takes the family with him on weekend trips to look for evidence of aliens. But this innocent hobby takes on a sinister urgency when Zukowski learns of mutilated livestock—whose exsanguination is inexplicable by any known human or animal means.

Along an expanse of land stretching across the southern borders of Utah, Colorado, and Kansas, Zukowski documents hundreds of bizarre incidences of mutilations, and discovers that they stretch through the heart of America. His pursuit of the truth draws him deeper into a vast conspiracy, and he journeys from Roswell and Area 51 to the Pentagon and beyond; from underground secret military caverns to Native American sacred sites; and to wilderness areas where strange, unexplained lights traverse the sky at extraordinary speeds. Inspiring and terrifying, Mezrich’s “dramatic narrative…connects dots we didn’t even know existed…Something’s clearly happening out there in the high meadows and along desert highways” (Kirkus Reviews). The 37th Parallel will make you, too, wonder if we are really alone.
He played in casinos around the world with a plan to make himself richer than anyone could possibly imagine -- but it would nearly cost him his life.

Semyon Dukach was known as the Darling of Las Vegas. A legend at age twenty-one, this cocky hotshot was the biggest high roller to appear in Sin City in decades, a mathematical genius with a system the casinos had never seen before and couldn't stop -- a system that has never been revealed until now; that has nothing to do with card counting, wasn't illegal, and was more powerful than anything that had been tried before.

Las Vegas. Atlantic City. Aruba. Barcelona. London. And the jewel of the gambling crown -- Monte Carlo.

Dukach and his fellow MIT students hit them all and made millions. They came in hard, with stacks of cash; big, seemingly insane bets; women hanging on their arms; and fake identities. Although they were taking classes and studying for exams during the week, over the weekends they stormed the blackjack tables only to be harassed, banned from casinos, threatened at gunpoint, and beaten in Vegas's notorious back rooms.

The stakes were high, the dangers very real, but the players were up to the challenges, consequences be damned. There was Semyon Dukach himself, bored with school and broke; Victor Cassius, the slick, brilliant MIT grad student who galvanized the team; Owen Keller, with stunning ability but a dark past that would catch up to him; and Allie Simpson, bright, clever, and a feast for the eyes.

In the classroom, they were geeks. On the casino floor, they were unstoppable.

Busting Vega$ is Dukach's unbelievably true story; a riveting account of monumental greed, excess, hubris, sex, love, violence, fear, and statistics that is high-stakes entertainment at its best.

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