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
"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)
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
First off, I'd listen to Ronson read the Dictionary. His dry wit, timing, and inflections are incredible. You feel as though he's reading to you, personally. This is a pre-9/11 book, but much of what it deals with is still relevant today. Ronson has this incredible knack for taking subjects that aren't very funny AT ALL (i.e. a Muslim extremist threatening to put a 'Fatwah' on him), and finding the humor in it.
This is light reading at its finest. You may learn a bit about some of the extremists in the world, but nothing you probably couldn't have figured out on your own. The true joy of this book is the way that Ronson brings you into the story, keeps you constantly laughing, and delivers you on the other side, unscathed.
We need more social satirists like Ronson. He's truly one of a kind!
This book is a collection of several very interesting snapshots of people society has labeled extremists. They seem to be the sort of people James (The Amazing) Randi called 'believers' since they will follow ideas that appeal to them unquestioningly and regardless of how strange or extreme they sound to others.
Some of these folks are stranger than others, but most suspect the world is controlled by the secretive (and seemingly asinine) Bilderberg Group. They believe the Bilderberg Group is run by 'the Jews' or 12-foot tall reptilian aliens and is determined to set up a nefarious one-world government.
The book brought home to me the other side of the 'Ruby Ridge' incident through Rachel Weaver's version of the events. The book also illustrated the, perhaps unsurprising, fact that the players on all the various sides are guilty of serious departures from the truth and character assassination.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a fairly balanced-seeming glimpse into the strange and sometimes surprising world of extreme beliefs.
Yes. Jon Ronson is a really entertaining writer and narrator. Some of the scenes were really well described and I felt as though I was in the scene. He unfolded the information in an interesting way and shed an interesting candid light on all of the characters he followed and interviewed.
Ruby Ridge Details was the most interesting and shocking. Omar Bakri and his hypocrytical life was the least interesting, but I guess part of that is because Ronson was shut off from being able to interview him.
I didn't like it quite as much as the psychopath test, but it was definitely highly entertaining and a book I will always remember.
I laughed a couple of times. Also, some of the scenes described were really unbelievable, so I guess maybe "shocked" would be a good description of my reaction.
Although it has been more than a decade since this book was written, it remains as mind-boggling as when it was first published. Here, Ronson delves into Islamic fundamentalists, David Icke with his theories about reptilians in control of the planet, the Bilderberg Group and the shenanigans at Bohemian Grove.
We are often left wondering who the real extremists are: Is it David Icke who maintains that world leaders are really reptilians in disguise or members of the JDL who insist that "reptilian" is code for "Jewish" ("No, he really means 'reptilian'" Ickes' followers claim)? Is it the Weaver family holed up on Ruby Ridge or the quasi-military force that took them down (a very sad episode)? Part of what makes Ronson's writing (and excellent narration) so compelling is the way he juxtaposes the ordinariness of every-day lives of these people with the often bizarre extremist views they hold.
A both informative and very enjoyable listen.
Eclectic tastes. Love anything thought provoking. Especially if its blended with some from of humour.
Yes. Absolutely love Jon Ronson reading his works. You just cannot beat hearing his inflections on these incredible interviews. Shocking. Fun. Witty. Fresh!
Men Who Stare at Goats. Why? It's just unbelievable that these are based in reality. Hang on and prepare to be shocked but also to laugh at just how ridiculous these tales can be
Jon Ronson. For sure
Disbelief mixed with great chuckles
Read it. Witty and just great
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
This is a good listen in the typical style of Jon Ronson. I can't really explain why, though. I tried, but because of the subject matter, it involved using words that could not make it past the review police. If you like Ronson, you'll like this. Go ahead and press the unhelpful button. I wanted to be more helpful, but...
I've been a huge fan of Louis Theroux for many years, and to me Jon Ronson's book strikes the same tone as one of Louis' shows.
By building a rapport with people who have very extreme beliefs and opinions, they are humanized. One can even empathize to a degree. This is a much more productive policy than simply demonizing or disregarding them.
In most extremists there is a grain of something real that should be considered and built in to our own thinking. However, that is not to overlook the fact that many of these people are essentially delusional and even dangerous.
That is the most important aspect of Jon's book and Louis' shows - whilst opening our minds to empathize and relate, they also illuminate where the reasonable become unreasonable and the understandable become outrageous. And best of all this demarkation is often hilarious and self-evident when exposed by a reasonable person repeating the ludicrous words back to the ludicrous people who just spoke them.
It is genius and a service to the world in my opinion.
I am sure that Jon's book would have lost much of the humor and nuance had it been read by another narrator, so well done Jon.
I love to be read to!
A romp through crazy town with a great host. Also learned some things.
Jon Krakauer without the yuks. They like the same subjects.
I loved the descriptions of bohemian grove and the men urinating on trees!
His books are great and I am going to read all of them at some point. I love that he is the narrator. Self narrations really adds allot in my opinion. Good narration can make or break an audiobook in my opinion.
The content was good, but the reading made listening to this audiobook painful
The first hand accounts of extremists
His accent was strange and his reading was stiff. The pronounciations were bizarre. Antisemite was pronounced Anti sea mite, which I have never heard before. When someone who the author was interviewing laughed, the author made a weird "ha ha" sound. It was like fingernails down a chalkboard. Producers should really dissuade authors from reading their own books.
The content is really good, but I almost stopped listening to it.
I'm a huge fan of Jon Ronson but I didn't find this book as interesting as some of his others. His writing, as always, is clever and the book was well-researched but I didn't find the subject matter that compelling. Extremists - conspiracy theorists, wing-nuts, paranoid crazy people - are fascinating in small doses, but after a while they get boring.
"Classic Jon Ronson"
Completely fascinating, enjoyed it tremendously. Sometimes I was aghast and sometimes tearful and always with that amusement that comes with Ronson's delivery.
"Ronson hooks you with this"
The audio version for this book is just great, i think if i had the print version i would still be reading it now. Thats not to say the print version wouldnt be great as well. But the audio version is so flexible
Lost at sea, because this is what Jon Ronson is good at the secret societys etc
"Jon Ronson Rocks!"
I absolutely love books by Jon Ronson and already have a fine collection of his books, so am completely biased in a review. Any book by him is well worth a read though, honest! His journalistic style is brilliant, looking in to the most extreme behaviours of human nature that are sometimes so bizarre you have to go back and listen/read again, just to be sure you heard/read right.
"'Them' is wonderful journalism and comedy"
I'd already hugely enjoyed reading the book, but Jon Ronson's narration of the fascinating content is an even greater pleasure.
I really enjoyed this book and like Ronsons style. He spends years researching his subject material and presents a non inflammatory relatively rounded view of extremism.
Essentially this a a good listen and kept me interested and laughing till the end.
"Jon Ronson tells it as it is"
This book, written by Jon Ronson, manages to enter the psychy of the extremists he is looking at. He has a rare gift of being able to enter arenas where others wouldn't dare (read his other books to e.g. the Psycopath tests and Men who stare at goats). Not only does he enter these worlds but he still somehow remains quite a humble guy. His style of writing draws the reader in. We listened to this audio book whilst driving in France and we didn't want to stop for coffee because we didn't want to switch off the book. Definitely a good read/listen and I would certainly (and do) recommend his books widely
This was the first book I read by Jon Ronson so it's always had a special place in my heart. Years on it's still as brilliant as I remember, especially now hearing the author narrate.
The world has changed a lot since this book was written but rather than being dated it's an interesting flashback to extreme politics and conspiracies theories, pre-9/11.
Later events have put a very different complexion on the subjects of this book. Some positive, some negative but it's a fascinating listen throughout.
"from the horses mouth"
new to audio books but I have to say listening to the book read by the author does add a huge dimension to the experience highly recommend
"I was expecting slightly more from this book"
I have to say I was slightly disappointed by this book. Jon Ronson is on fine form as always but I didn't find all of chapters that interesting. My favourites were David Ike, Bohemian Grove and Omar Bakri. I wanted a bit more exploration into what extremism is and how individuals are perversely drawn to these people.
"At times hilarious and thought provoking"
If you've not listened to any of Jon's audio books. You should. Although some of the subjects of this book are a little dated, ( I listened in June 16) it is very interesting to listen to them in the current situation. ( I wonder what the bilderburg group have to say about the eu referendum?) I found the sections with Omar bakhri (spelling?) very interesting/alarming/funny in equal measure.
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