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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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  • aaron
  • los angeles, CA, United States
  • 09-26-12

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!

40 of 42 people found this review helpful

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Bilderberg or Build-a-Bear?

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Diane
  • Louisville, KY, United States
  • 06-04-13

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.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 04-13-16

Unhelpful Review

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...

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • karen
  • Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • 08-25-13

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

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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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.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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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.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Heidi
  • Wheeling, WV, United States
  • 03-03-13

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

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  • Brad
  • Littleton, MA, United States
  • 05-28-13

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

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  • Anna
  • 12-23-12

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Casey
  • 02-17-15

Brilliant, bizarre & true

I love Jon Ronson & this is a clever and well researched. The narration is great -Jon is never mocking of his sometimes bizarre subjects

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-04-15

Great read

Jon ronson takes a look at different kinds of extremism. It is interesting to see what they have in common. Funny and entertaining!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan Ross
  • 06-24-15

Prefer So You've Been Publicly Shamed

Felt a bit incoherent when compared to the psychopath test and so you've been publicly shamed.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ant
  • 12-15-13

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim Vaughan
  • 02-11-13

A Scary Ride to where "We" Become "Them"!

You have to admire Jon Ronson for his courage in mixing with Islamist extremists, the Klu Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists and... David Ike. What's even more astounding is he is Jewish!



Jon's guileless narration draws the listener in, so I became convinced "either he's lying, or the victim of an elaborate hoax - or there really IS a conspiracy of powerful elite -called the "Bildeberg group", who meet up in secret to rule the World". Moreover, it seemed that the only good guys fighting this evil conspiracy most of us have been brainwashed by the media into dismissing as "extremists".



Moreover, many of the people he meets are quite companionable, from the jocular Islamist Jihadist, to the self-effacing Grand Master of the Klu Klux Klan, who has banned the use of the "N" word.



This is a very entertaining book, with a serious message. Who is evil is in the eye of the beholder. This is a journey into a mirror image world of paranoia, conspiracy and suspicion that everything we think we know is wrong, and all our treasured beliefs are only what we are brainwashed from birth into thinking. It's a scary ride to the other side - where "We" might really be "Them".

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • jamo
  • 10-04-12

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

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss E J Bertenshaw
  • 07-24-15

Fascinating

Jon is such a lovely bloke and it's a pleasure to hear his tales and how he dealt with people with very different values and beliefs.

Some bits were more gripping than others.

Worth a go

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Kaggy
  • 04-10-16

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….

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Victoria Elizabeth
  • 05-16-15

Them, who are they...

Any additional comments?

I do really enjoy listening to Jon Ronson, though could tell this was an earlier book as not quite as tight in how it was pulled together, so I got lost a few times and had to rewind.<br/>That aside, a really intriguing, often scarily eye-opening, exploration of topics on the fringe, and definitely told in Ronson style that makes eveyone, everywhere seem strangely accessible - with his usual self reflection and clever story-telling narrative throughout. <br/>Also, it's funny. <br/>

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lawrence
  • 01-20-16

The truth is out there! Really out there... No, really, really out there!

Ronson treads a compelling and I think honest path examining the nature of conspiracy.

Conspiracy clearly does exist, frequently in the form of nothing more sinister than a quiet word over dinner and a bit of theatre.

People are not inherently evil (maybe they are in the case of Kissinger but he sees himself as a good guy I suspect) they are intrinsically self interested. They have personal and social agendas all the bigotries, snobbishness and racism that they were bought up with.

They fear irrationally and create rational things for others to fear (Neo nazis and anti refugee advocates come to mind as people with irrational fears who create things for rational people to fear).

The point which Ronson gently brings you to in this work is that the truth is generally mundane. That there are powerful people gaming the system is clear.

It is an engaging and entertaining work but at its heart is a very serious aspect of the human psyche, that fear creates monsters and monsters create fear...

I for one would enjoy a work by him on the Israel / Palestine atrocities and peace process... I think that we would find the same psychology mirrored there that he has described in "Them".

I'd also love to meet him for a beer and a quiet chat about love and death and life at the pub! So Ron look me up if you ever make it to Melbourne...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bec Booton
  • 11-10-15

Interesting people

Any additional comments?

This is my 2nd favourite book of Jon’s. The extremists that let him into their lives are off in another world sometimes and it’s amazing to hear how he wiggles his way into their lives over the course of sometimes year. Highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Robin
  • 08-08-15

Thoroughly entertaining!

Loved it, heard Jon on Joe Rogan's podcast, glad it's his voice reading it too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • drew
  • 04-17-15

Great story!

A great story and excellent narration. I would highly recommend this book to anyone whether frightened of lizards or not.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful