An award-winning journalist’s breathtaking mosaic of the tough-love industry and the young adults it inevitably fails.

In the middle of the night, they are vanished.

Each year thousands of young adults deemed out of control―suffering from depression, addiction, anxiety, and rage―are carted off against their will to remote wilderness programs and treatment facilities across the country. Desperate parents of these “troubled teens” fear it’s their only option. The private, largely unregulated behavioral boot camps break their children down, a damnation the children suffer forever.

Acclaimed journalist Kenneth R. Rosen knows firsthand the brutal emotional, physical, and sexual abuse carried out at these programs. He lived it. In Troubled, Rosen unspools the stories of four graduates on their own scarred journeys through the programs into adulthood. Based on three years of reporting and more than one hundred interviews with other clients, their parents, psychologists, and health-care professionals, Troubled combines harrowing storytelling with investigative journalism to expose the disturbing truth about the massively profitable, sometimes fatal, grossly unchecked redirection industry.

Not without hope, Troubled ultimately delivers an emotional, crucial tapestry of coming of age, neglect, exploitation, trauma, and fraught redemption.

“A searing exposé.”—The New York Times

“Not just a work of extended empathy but a public service; these life stories, taken together, shine a light on an industry that has been able to thrive in darkness.” —Robert Kolker, The New York Times Sunday Book Review

“A necessary exposé for any parent.” Kirkus Reviews

“An engrossing book, the saddest chapter of which details not the programmes themselves, but what happened to [the] protagonists afterwards.” Times Literary Supplement

“Rosen is the exact right Conrad to take us into the heart of this immense darkness. Rosen’s insight, rigor, and immense sympathy ensure this book will stand as the definitive treatment of this troubled, troubling industry. An experience you won’t forget.” —Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life and The Queen of Tuesday

“Troubled is a searing chronicle of the unfortunate era of ‘tough love’ programs for wayward American youth, told with detail and compassion as well as an eloquent kind of well-merited rage.” —Luke Mogelson, contributing writer at The New Yorker

“Profoundly unsettling, Troubled reveals a tough-love industry in disarray. Rosen combines brilliant reporting skills and brutal first-hand experience in this captivating read.” —Michael Harris, author of Solitude and The End of Absence

“Rosen is a relentless reporter and provides a piercing view inside the disturbing, largely unregulated, teen rehabilitation industry. Rosen ensures you ask the question of what we’re doing to our nation’s children and who and what is in fact ‘troubled.’” —Sylvia A. Harvey, author of The Shadow System

“A vivid and eye-opening plea for reform.” —Michael Scott Moore, author of The Desert and the Sea

“Rosen makes a powerful case for eliminating this cruel part of the school-to-prison pipeline. A powerful, revealing expose.” —Katherine Reynolds Lewis, author of The Good News About Bad Behavior

Instant #1 Bestseller on Amazon

One of Newsweek’s Most Highly Anticipated Books of 2021

A New York Times Editor’s Choice

A New York Times ‘Book to Watch For’

Next Big Idea Book Club Finalist

Vol.1 Brooklyn Book of the Month

A Bustle Best Book of 2021

Bulletproof Vest

Bulletproof Vest is at once an introspective journey into the properties and  precisions of a bulletproof vest on a  molecular level and on  the  world  stage. 

It  is also an ode to living   precariously,  an  open  letter  that  defends  the  notion  that  life  is  worth the risk.

“Nothing’s bulletproof,” the salesman said. “The thing’s only bullet resistant.”

New York Times journalist Kenneth R. Rosen had just purchased his first bulletproof vest and was headed off on assignment in Iraq. He was travelling into the city of Mosul when he came to realize that the idea of a bulletproof vest is more effective than the vest itself. 

From its very inception, poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide, as the chemical compound of Kevlar is known, was meant for tires. Its humble roots and applications are often lost to the colloquialism of the word, now synonymous with body armor, war zones and domestic terrorism.

But in fact, Kevlar is used as a material in more than 200 applications, including tennis rackets, skis, and parachute lines.

What Rosen learned through an intimate use of his bulletproof vest was that it acts as a metaphor for all the precautions we take toward digital, physical, and social security; at their most extreme, bulletproof vests represent a human desire to forge ahead. 

Named One of the Most Fascinating Books WIRED Read in 2020

“In Bulletproof Vest, Rosen explores the significance of this war zone accessory with compelling nuance and knowledge of military history. Perhaps more impressive, though, is his willingness to explore the relationship between military protective gear and human vulnerability.” 
–LA Review of Books

“For the author, a lifelong sufferer of anxiety, the idea of a bulletproof vest (or a ‘bullet resistant’ one, as the salesman reminded him) suggested a potent metaphor for humanity’s relationship to violence, security, and mortality. His book mixes his own wartime accounts from Iraq and Syria with discussions of anxiety and the history of body armor; along the way, Rosen seeks to describe just what he was trying to banish when he put on his vest. The author’s prose alternates between being confessional and informative . . . Over the course of this reliably tense book, Rosen does a wonderful job of emphasizing the destructive power of warfare by framing his thoughts around accounts of being a noncombatant in a war zone. Overall, it’s a quick read but one with great impact, as it asks its audience not only to think about protective vests, but also about the soft, vulnerable things that they’re meant to protect. A compelling, thoughtful dive into the pursuit of being bulletproof.” 
–Kirkus Reviews

“A tense but beautifully written frontlines study of war in the fashion of Michael Herr’s Vietnam era book ‘Dispatches.’”
The Day (Conn.)

“Rosen, war-reporter, journalist, abyss-looker, intuiter of the human spirit, presents the materials of war, stitches them together in a fascinating story that shows no matter how tight and polymeric the jacket, the true dangers of war are the mental wounds that go straight to your head. His insights into war do what they can to protect us from those wounds – but like the vest, offer an imperfect protection. Thankfully, Rosen’s words are near perfect and perfectly moving.”
–Nicole Walker, Professor of English at Northern Arizona University, USA, and author of Sustainability: A Love Story (2018)

Necessary Protection: Erica Wright interviews Kenneth R. Rosen (Los Angeles Review of Books)

​The Long, Fraught History of the Bulletproof Vest (Smithsonian Magazine)

​The Illusion of Perfect Protection (WIRED)

​Where Journalists Prepare for the Worst the World Can Throw at Us (Narratively)​

Reliably tense … A quick read but one with great impact … A compelling, thoughtful dive into the pursuit of being bulletproof. (Kirkus)

​In Searching for Dead ISIS Fighters in Iraq, I Found Refuge in My Friends (Newsweek)​

Bulletproof Coffee to Bulletproof Vest: An Object Lessons Interview (The Millions)