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Them: Adventures with Extremists Audiobook

Them: Adventures with Extremists

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Publisher's Summary

Them began as a book about different kinds of extremists, but after Jon had got to know some of them - Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen - he found that they had one oddly similar belief: that a tiny, shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room. In Them, Jon sets out, with the help of the extremists, to locate that room. The journey is as creepy as it is comic, and along the way Jon is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, and witnesses international CEOs and politicians participate in a bizarre pagan ritual in the forests of northern California.

Them is a fascinating and entertaining exploration of extremism, in which Jon learns some alarming things about the looking-glass world of ‘them’ and ‘us’. Are the extremists on to something? Or has Jon become one of Them?

©2012 Jon Ronson (P)2012 Audible Ltd

What the Critics Say

"A funny, superbly controlled account of [Ronson’s] wanderings through the wonderland of fanaticism and delusion." (Brian Appleyard, New Statesman)

"This book is chilling and hilarious by turns. Ronson’s trademark laid-back attitude is a delight." (Independent)

"A funny and compulsively readable picaresque adventure through a paranoid shadow world." (Louis Theroux, Guardian)

"Ronson plays up to his charming buffoonery... But he is an acute social commentator. He is compelling." (Times Literary Supplement)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Ziloni 07-17-13
    Ziloni 07-17-13 Listener Since 1999
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting and eye opening"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Really eye opening about the Randy Weaver family. The others were extremists, but even Ronson agrees that the Weavers really weren't that whacko and puts their story in a real context.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidi Wheeling, WV, United States 03-03-13
    Heidi Wheeling, WV, United States 03-03-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
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    8
    Overall
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    "Meh"
    What disappointed you about Them: Adventures with Extremists?

    Besides the section on Ruby Ridge I didn't like this book. It wasn't really what I expected.


    What was most disappointing about Jon Ronson’s story?

    How he bowed down to people that were obviously hateful toward him.


    What three words best describe Jon Ronson’s performance?

    The performance is what kept me listening. He's a great reader, his humor is great and his timing is awesome. Just wish he had some backbone.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment mostly. I understand journalistic integrity but there comes a point where you should be a human being. I think the worst part is when he let that poor man go be publicly humiliated after he expressed to him that it was his worst fear. That was horrible.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon 11-19-12
    Jon 11-19-12

    Dad/Autodidact/Tech Guy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Riveting"
    What did you love best about Them: Adventures with Extremists?

    This is a book that could not have been written post 9/11. The access Ronson had to these extremists is amazing. In today's world he would likely have been picked up by Homeland Security or the TSA at some point. Well worth the read.


    Have you listened to any of Jon Ronson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Reading his own work Jon Ronson brings his quirky personality to life through his performance. I feel strongly that non-fiction authors should read their own work wherever possible and Ronson delivers in spades.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Michael Toney Fredericksburg, VA USA 10-02-12
    Dr. Michael Toney Fredericksburg, VA USA 10-02-12 Member Since 2016

    Terrorism Researcher

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Them and Terrorism"
    What did you love best about Them: Adventures with Extremists?

    As with all Jon Ronson books, this one was truly pleasurable in audio format—he should offer his services as a professional reader in addition to his writing career. I commend him on his bravery in interacting with “them” and maintaining an unbiased and sometimes amusing (how can you wage Jihad if you can touch a fish), perspective. For me this book was important because it provides a different perspective on my research on terrorist organizational behavior and leadership (ISBN-13: 978-0615687391). While it’s difficult to view the world from the perspective of the extremist, it’s imperative to understanding why they do and behave the way they do. I recommend this book to those interested in the behaviors of individuals and groups, particularly as an alternate reference when researching terrorism.


    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 09-19-14
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 09-19-14 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A little light but interesting"

    I enjoyed Jon Ronson’s 2011 foray into the world of psychopaths and special interest groups out to protect or demonize them, and this seemed like a good book of his to read next. Though published in 2001, just before 9/11 and the Bush and Obama presidencies drove conspiracy theory and anti-government groups to new levels of hysteria, it’s an enlightening window into how fringe groups form around certain rallying ideas and code words.

    As advertised, Ronson discovers that Islamic extremists in Britain, anti-government paranoids in the US, racist groups, anti-Catholic groups, and a man who claims that the world is ruled by secret alien lizard people all have something in common: fear that a shadowy cabal of bankers, businessmen, media elites, and politicians is scheming to impose some sort of Orwellian New World Order. In their own minds, these extremists are fighting a resistance against those who would turn them into, to use a well-worn internetism, weak and helpless “sheeple”.

    As in the Psychopath Test, Ronson carefully humors his subjects and lets them express themselves in their own words, which sometimes veer towards the Monty Python-esque. Hard not to find the bumbling Islamic activist, Omar Bakri Muhammad, somewhat ridiculous, as he makes over-the-top pronouncements, then furiously backpedals towards a more genial facade whenever challenged. Same with KKK leader, Thomas Robb, who is trying to rebrand his organization with a more friendly image after being inspired by some leadership books from the self-help section. Ronson’s own self-deprecating wit is also amusing, if a little distracting at times.

    Other people Ronson spends time with, though, seem like they might have a point, such as the survivors of the infamous Ruby Ridge Incident, in which the feds seemingly came down on a misunderstood survivalist family in Idaho with excessive force. His investigations into the claims of anti-Zionist groups raises a question: are Jewish film moguls really just acting out their own insecurities about being Jews in Hollywood... and giving some people the wrong idea? And when Ronson joins Alex Jones (of Infowars fame) and several others in investigating the Bilderberg Group, a publicity-shunning private conference of political, business, and academic elites, it’s somewhat unclear where paranoia ends and dull reality begins. Is a bacchanalian gathering in the woods of Northern California about rich old men celebrating dark, perverse rites of power, or just harmless, fraternity-like fun? Is it scarier to think that these people might indeed have a lot of influence over the world’s affairs... or that they don’t?

    Ultimately, this might be a little too light-hearted of a book on extremism -- Ronson, not surprisingly, doesn’t spend much time in the company of the most hateful or militant types of groups, such as neo-Nazis, so his character studies tend more towards crackpots and self-promoters. And this *is* a pre-9/11 book. Still the character studies are interesting.

    Audiobooks narrated by their own authors are a mixed bag, but Ronson’s pleading voice adds a lot to the funnier parts, like when he talks about trying to “tone down” his Jewishness.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Littleton, MA, United States 05-28-13
    Brad Littleton, MA, United States 05-28-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Very Interesting Plunge into Extremism"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    First, this book is narrated by the author, always a plus. Jon Ronson found a way to attach himself to some very interesting types, mostly religious zealots and New World Order types. Some of the information is quite astonishing. The author has a way of bringing the human element to these idealogy-driven types. SInce all of this is essentially a ramble through interviews and tagging along, it has a very in-the-moment feel about it. I could not stop listening. The author's fun voice is contagious and his wry observations about himself and these strange people he seeks out are compelling listening.


    What other book might you compare Them: Adventures with Extremists to and why?

    His genre is somewhat himself. In a weird way, he reminds me of Bill Bryson's first hand travels and stories about odd people.


    Have you listened to any of Jon Ronson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes. The Psychopath Test. They are very similar as the author tries to interview people on opposing sides of either mental health medical or religious zealotry. These books teach you quite a lot about archane topics.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Prophets are Phonies


    Any additional comments?

    Well worth the time and money. A very fun experience.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    trevor 07-27-16
    trevor 07-27-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    7
    6
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    "non-divisive"

    both/every side thinks they're the good guys. both/every side overblows how "bad/evil" the other side is.

    this book was a good example of just that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ross 06-30-16
    Ross 06-30-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
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    "Ha ha, that's all I have to say, ha ha!"

    I felt quite paranoid to the end but it was refreshing to know I'm not entirely the most delusional person in the world. Hail the lizard people!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria C Ehlers 05-07-16 Member Since 2007
    ratings
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    19
    8
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    "A Reminder that Vantage Point is Critical "

    The story teeters between hilarious and horrific. An excellent example of the way people see what they want to see.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil Taylor 05-02-16
    Neil Taylor 05-02-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    "Undercover Jewish writer lifts the lid on global conspiracy"

    I'd write more, but I'm afraid my reviews are being monitored by 10ft tall alien lizards from the Bilderberg group. Wake up sheeple! Buy this book before they suppress it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Mark
    Enfield, United Kingdom
    5/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ronson at the beginning, boring in comparison"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    not very well written, sometimes clumsy and obviously his first bestseller.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I didnt bother to get to the end


    Do you think Them: Adventures with Extremists needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    his later books are much better written and more interesting, dont buy this one


    Any additional comments?

    I love Jon Ronson`s books, I have them all but this is boring in comparison, I wont bother finishing it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • martin
    weston super mare, United Kingdom
    8/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
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    "A brilliant piece of journalism."

    This is a fantastic, tragicomic, disturbing and enlightening debunking of 'New World Order' conspiracies which attacks all aspects of extremist thinking. It also uncovers the Anti Semitism that lays at the heart of all right wing conspiracy theories.
    This book has been brilliantly narrated by the author and it will have you laughing and despairing at the same time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Boggy of Bucks
    Buckinghamshire
    1/3/13
    Overall
    "Enjoyable"

    Jon Ronson's voice and manner of speech suits his work far better than other narrators. I loved this book.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Kaggy
    United Kingdom
    4/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "We fear 'Them' but who are they?"

    This is another hugely enjoyable investigation by Jon Ronson into the world of bizarre cults and very odd people. As usual I listened to this with one eye on my computer so I could Google some of the names mentioned. As ever all the information imparted by Jon proved to be true despite some really incredible elements. Jon's dry wit pervades this audiobook (which benefits greatly by his reading) and in particular I relished the startling exchanges with Ian Paisley and Denis Healey. The extremists comprise the usual suspects, extreme far right white supremacists, religious fanatics etc. but there is also some unexpected compassion for the people who are not necessarily bad but just generally unlucky in life or simply deluded. The finale of the book is quite spectacular and the bizarre Cremation of Care ceremony is very disturbing. This is an entertaining and informative book about a mad world and the people who are trying to make sense of it all. The very best of good luck with that one….

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ms. K. S. I. Fradley
    10/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Utterly Fantastic!"

    I had no knowledge of the author, but saw the audio book on special offer so gave it a try.

    As a person who enjoys currently affairs and rational while heated debate, I partly suspecting I might have to turn it off, but instead found myself speaking out loud in amazement and at times laughing at the utter unbelievable nature of events described.

    The author has an absolute talent for keeping to facts, and making you feel its your choice how to judge. This book is not an attack on extremists, and covers cases where people are assumed to be extremists, although on closer inspection probably weren't.

    The delivery of the audio book was also wonderful. The tone and pace was very pleasant, and the straight forward delivery added to the comedy and ridiculous contradictions which are explored.

    I will be recommending this book and author for many years to come.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Leigh, United Kingdom
    4/30/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome"

    As per usual Jon ronson excels at what he does! Just because your paranoid doesn't mean they're not watching you ........

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jimmy
    4/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "They are watching!"

    Another great book by Jon Ronson.
    Highly recommend if you enjoy his style of witty journalism. I enjoyed it very much.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jayneylonglegs
    Lancashire
    3/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting, typical Ronson, funny and insightful"
    Would you listen to Them: Adventures with Extremists again? Why?

    Parts of it, yes.


    Which character – as performed by Jon Ronson – was your favourite?

    Ronson himself.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    At times this book was very funy.


    Any additional comments?

    Very enjoyable and interesting, if you like Ronson then you will no doubt enjoy this book. I actually learnt a few things too....which is always good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • PJ
    United Kingdom
    3/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful, wacky, entertaining"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Them: Adventures with Extremists to be better than the print version?

    I don't know.


    What other book might you compare Them: Adventures with Extremists to, and why?

    Probably something written by Louis Theroux.


    What about Jon Ronson’s performance did you like?

    The slightly 'innocent abroad' delivery. He did a great job.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    'You couldn't make it up".


    Any additional comments?

    Great fun. Especially the Muslim extremist and Ian Paisley chapters. Pure comic theatre! Jon Ronson tells it, but he doesn't really judge it. I admired his courage for hanging out with these people and for putting this book out there. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas
    2/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "are we rhem"

    really enjoyable and entertaining Jon ronson is an engaging writer and narrator. this book gives a really interesting look at the story behind the conspiracy

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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