• It Came from Something Awful

  • How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office
  • By: Dale Beran
  • Narrated by: Dale Beran
  • Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (373 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author.

An insider's history of the website at the end of the world, which burst into politics and memed Donald Trump into the White House.  

The internet has transformed the ways we think and act, and by consequence, our politics. The most impactful recent political movements on the far left and right started with massive online collectives of teenagers. Strangely, both movements began on the same website: an anime imageboard called 4chan.org. It Came from Something Awful is the fascinating and bizarre story of 4chan and its profound effect on youth counterculture.  

Dale Beran has observed the website's shifting activities and interests since the beginning. 4chan is a microcosm of the internet itself - simultaneously at the vanguard of contemporary culture, politics, comedy, and language, and a new low for all of the above. It was the original meme machine, mostly frequented by socially awkward and disenfranchised young men in search of a place to be alone together.  

During the recession of the late 2000s, the memes became political. 4chan was the online hub of a leftist hacker collective known as Anonymous and a prominent supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. But within a few short years, the site’s ideology spun on its axis; it became the birthplace and breeding ground of the alt-right. In It Came from Something Awful, Beran uses his insider’s knowledge and natural storytelling ability to chronicle 4chan's strange journey from creating rage-comics to inciting riots to - according to some - memeing Donald Trump into the White House.

©2019 Dale Beran (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about It Came from Something Awful

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This book was way better than it needed to be.

All I was hoping for was a breakdown of what happened. What I got was some of the most astute cultural commentary I've read in years.

13 people found this helpful

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high-minded musings on a mindless movement

this book purports to explain how a loosely-associated group of Internet trolls set in motion (or continued a movement?!) political wheels that put our beleaguered president in the White House. it fails in its mission.

overly wordy (with a shocking number of mispronunciations among them), the author/narrator spins a contorted tale that treats internet memes as if they were profound observations of the human condition, their creators makers of modern thought, and their social significance as earth-shattering polemics. they are not.

while one could posit that what was written on 4 Chan, Tumbler, et al. provided a sliver of insight into the public's attitude towards the body politic, those digital graffiti were hardly generally representative.

if you seek a history of 4 Chan and its progeny, I reservedly recommend this volume: reservedly because, like its subject, is non-linear and difficult to track, and, most importantly, the author's narration is.... off-putting. perhaps it's because he is a product of internet troll-dom, he sounds as if in a suspended state of sarcasm. at times, it is very difficult to discern if he is being serious, critical, supportive, droll, arch, etc. as his voice has but one modulation setting -- sarcasm.

oh well. I listened to the bitter end.

6 people found this helpful

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Overwritten and Self-Indulgent

Imagine a 15 year old interjecting “formidable” into an English class every five minutes in a conversation about the great gatsby

That’s the vibe

6 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

Excellent break down of such a nebulous and incomprehensible faction of our culture that I’m aware of but knew absolutely nothing about. This is important information about a these times when the pace is so quick that history blurrs with the present.

I’m a late 30’s millennial and am more equipped to live a life in the 1500’s. I designed that way. The sensationalism and spectacle of the internet isn’t for me but it being for most effects me every day in ways that can’t be ignored. This book opened my eyes to the posturing that surrounds me, and the ways it effects me, affects my mood, safety and future.

Well written. Easy on the ears. Agreeable in every way.

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Oof no

I’m not sure who the intended audience is but he seems to write for people who have been under a rock for 50 years. The book is much more about his own opinion on capitalism (it’s bad), and his disdain for the other, than it is about internet subcultures.

4 people found this helpful

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Nicely compiled.

I enjoyed listening to this book, I think mostly because as an older user of the internet, and not one that used message boards per say, It has done very well to explain much of the "pop-culture" that I had previously not fully understood. To have references such as "Neuromancer" and "Star Trek" , along with the direct correlations with real world events and other political examples tied together, the sometimes heavy Idealistic and philosophic themes, in a way that a laymen such as myself could easily follow. Was truly left wanting more when it finished.

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Brilliantly captures the dingiest roots of the alt-right movement; will not disappoint!

Absolutely jam-packed with fascinating info and offshoots about internet counterculture, while remaining simultaneously eloquent and borderline poetic. Highly recommend if the earlier inter-workings of internet discourse (spanning to apt-right vitriol) are remotely interesting to you. Highly recommend!

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Should be required reading in the US

So informative. I don't know what the answer for this country is, but a good place to start is understanding how we got here. This book helps with that.

2 people found this helpful

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Leaves out somethings and makes it somewhat bias.

I'd still recommend it if you do not understand meme culture in general. It paints a somewhat real account of what happened and how the youth of today have become factions operating beyond the internet.

2 people found this helpful

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Probably a better book to read.


It's an important story. Where did all this come from? The Alt-Right, Pizzagate, QAnon, Gamergate. How did these all come about? What part did the White House Chief Strategist play into it? If you looking at American politics and the culture the last 10 years and didn't spend your time in nihilistic online message boards dedicated to Japanese anime?

However, it's not a great audio book. The story is buried under a dense framework of the philosophy/sociology Marcuse and Baudrillard. It's read by the author and every sentence is delivering in an "above all this" voice that makes the listening a chore.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Kevin Winston
  • Kevin Winston
  • 06-21-22

Excellent book

Absolutely brilliant, an amazing telling of contemporary internet history. Can't recommend this book enough