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Them: Adventures with Extremists | [Jon Ronson]

Them: Adventures with Extremists

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 more.
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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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Performance
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  •  
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 09-26-12
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 09-26-12 Member Since 2008

    Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dated but VERY Good... and FUNNY!"

    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!

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lady AUSTIN, TX, United States 09-30-12
    Lady AUSTIN, TX, United States 09-30-12

    Artist

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    "Serious Topics Shown in multiple lights"
    Would you listen to Them: Adventures with Extremists again? Why?

    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.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    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.


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

    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.


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

    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.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon West Union, OH, United States 11-19-12
    Jon West Union, OH, United States 11-19-12 Member Since 2011

    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.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 06-04-13
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 06-04-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Conspiracies R Us"

    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.

    6 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 2010

    Terrorism Researcher

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karen Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 08-25-13
    karen Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 08-25-13

    Eclectic tastes. Love anything thought provoking. Especially if its blended with some from of humour.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Way fun but shocking"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Them: Adventures with Extremists to be better than the print version?

    Yes. Absolutely love Jon Ronson reading his works. You just cannot beat hearing his inflections on these incredible interviews. Shocking. Fun. Witty. Fresh!


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

    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


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

    Jon Ronson. For sure


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

    Disbelief mixed with great chuckles


    Any additional comments?

    Read it. Witty and just great

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Littleton, MA, United States 05-28-13
    Brad Littleton, MA, United States 05-28-13 Member Since 2011
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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 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane United States 07-21-13
    Diane United States 07-21-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Not my favorite Jon Ronson book"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad Cambridge Springs, PA, United States 07-17-13
    Chad Cambridge Springs, PA, United States 07-17-13 Member Since 2001

    "Programming is an art form that fights back"

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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
  •  
    Too many toys National Capital Region 05-17-14
    Too many toys National Capital Region 05-17-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Not the best, not the worst, overall not bad"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Maybe, but not strongly. This is the type of book that fills some hours with a reasonable return on investment. It exposes the listener to the thoughts of some extremists they might not experience otherwise.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The story of the British jihadi. The others groups/individuals were also interesting.


    What about Jon Ronson’s performance did you like?

    There is a degree of humor to the reading and situations that would probably be lost if not performed by the author.


    If you could give Them: Adventures with Extremists a new subtitle, what would it be?

    From off-the-wall to dangerous


    Any additional comments?

    Readers who find Ronson through the movie 'Men who stare at goats' should proceed cautiously with the rest of his work. Listen to one. If you don't like the style, stop. They are all very similar in tone and delivery, only the subject matter changes and Ronson's style tends to be about making the mundane interesting, which he is not always able to accomplish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 25 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • 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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Anna
    London, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Well-read, witty and weird"

    I really enjoyed this audiobook, so much that I got my boyfriend hooked even though he's never listened to an audiobook before. Ronson reads very well, and his reading really makes the whole thing much funnier. This is a light exploration of extremism - some of the stuff is weird, but some very eye-opening, and Ronson never patronises his subjects, however odd they are.

    Highly recommended - best audiobook I've listened to this year.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Liz
    Oxford, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Fascinating"

    Jon Ronson is great at giving a real sense of sanity to these tales. Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • jamo
    London
    10/4/12
    Overall
    "Good fun"

    I enjoyed the book. jonson is a good narrator. Its interesting and the subjects are well chosen. my only issue with it is that the sections are very clear and there is no real story arc. it comes accross as a collection of shorter pieces that all go together. This is fine and works but personally I like things to link up more. Well worth a go if your interested in the subject. I always like ronsons stuff

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ant
    St Albans, United Kingdom
    12/15/13
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    "A fabulous book, engaging and thought provoking"

    Jon Ronson spends time with extremists and details his adventures trying to find the hidden rulers of the world.
    What I found so enthralling about this book was Ronson's writing style, he creates trust by being very open with the reader about his emotional state and motives for his actions. He then describes his meetings with people by adding small details, which, at first, seem meaningless until you realise he's detailing the body language of the participants to give you a much fuller picture of the interaction. The words are recorded, but also the emotional state of the individuals involved.
    I found this book to be very well paced, I thoroughly enjoyed the reading of it and then the digestion of the information in it over the following few weeks.
    This isn't simply a book about extremist views, it's about how the world works and how it is seen to work by different groups of people based on their biases. This in turn makes you confront your own internal biases and there effect on your perception of the world about you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • P. W. Burridge
    uk
    10/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ronson hooks you with this"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Them: Adventures with Extremists to be better than the print version?

    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


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

    Lost at sea, because this is what Jon Ronson is good at the secret societys etc


    What does Jon Ronson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Feeling


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • martin
    weston super mare, United Kingdom
    8/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • E. Fitzgerald
    Swansea UK
    5/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.
    Excellent :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nigel
    Reading, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "'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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M. A. Atkin
    brighton, uk
    4/11/13
    Overall
    "Classic Ronson"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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