The Last Days of August

4 out of 5 stars (4,404 ratings)

Regular price: $7.95

Membership details Membership details
  • 30 days of membership free, plus 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals to get you started.
  • After trial, you'll get 3 titles each month: 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals of your choice.
  • Don't like your audiobook? Swap it for free.
  • Cancel anytime and keep your audiobooks.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Cart

Product Details

About This Audible Original

Jon Ronson, the creator of Audible Original The Butterfly Effect, delves into the pornography industry again as he unravels the never-before-told story of what caused a beloved 23-year-old actress’s untimely death.

In December 2017, famed adult film star August Ames died by suicide in a park in the Conejo Valley. Her death came just a day after she’d been the victim of a social media pile-on by fellow porn professionals—punishment for her tweeting out something deemed homophobic.

A month later, August’s husband and pornography producer Kevin Moore connected with journalist Jon Ronson to tell the story of how cyberbullying via Twitter killed his wife. Neither of them could predict the rumors and secrets that Ronson would soon hear, revelations that hinted at a very different story—something mysterious and unexpected and terrible.

©2018 Audible Originals, LLC (P) 2018 Audible Originals, LLC.

Please note: This audio features sexual content, adult language, and references to suicide and violence that may be upsetting to some listeners. Discretion is advised.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

Go Behind the Scenes with Jon Ronson

0:00

He has made a career of crafting compulsive tales about people on the fringes…Ronson’s blend of empathy and dry wit have given listeners and readers fascinating glimpses into can’t-look-away subcultures.

- The Globe and Mail, on Jon Ronson
.

Our favorite moments from The Last Days of August

An onslaught of online hate
The issue with reporting discomfort
Jon voices his concerns.

  • The Last Days of August
  • An onslaught of online hate
  • The Last Days of August
  • The issue with reporting discomfort
  • The Last Days of August
  • Jon voices his concerns.
Jon Ronson

About the Creator and Performer

Jon Ronson is a critically acclaimed journalist, author, and screenwriter who has contributed to publications and broadcasts including This American Life, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, The Guardian (UK), and BBC Radio 4, for which he produced seven seasons of the award-winning program Jon Ronson On…. His full-length nonfiction novels—So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, The Psychopath Test, Them: Adventures With Extremists, Lost at Sea, and The Men Who Stare at Goats—have been translated into over 30 languages; many of them have been international best sellers and New York Times best sellers. Ronson’s original screenplays include the Netflix original Okja and Frank, which received the 2014 Best Screenplay Award at the British Independent Film Awards. He has also appeared on a number of shows as varied as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Conan, Craig Ferguson, Inside Amy Schumer, and The New Yorker Radio Hour. In 2017, Ronson created and recorded the Audible Original series The Butterfly Effect, a highly-rated production that spent weeks on the top of the audiobook charts and was honored as a finalist for the 2018 Non-Fiction Audie Award.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,254
  • 4 Stars
    1,243
  • 3 Stars
    579
  • 2 Stars
    177
  • 1 Stars
    151

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,446
  • 4 Stars
    939
  • 3 Stars
    389
  • 2 Stars
    125
  • 1 Stars
    124

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,100
  • 4 Stars
    1,038
  • 3 Stars
    528
  • 2 Stars
    181
  • 1 Stars
    163
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 01-04-19

Butterfly Effect meets Publicly Shamed

This is a great real life mystery that went somewhere different to what I expect. Well worth the listen.

'The Last Days of August' is somewhat a joining of who of Jon Ronson's previous works, 'The Butterfly Effect' and 'So You Have Been Publicly Shamed'.

In 'The Butterfly Effect' Ronson investigated the porn industry, looking at the changes that have come about due to the internet, and particularly due to the change from paid sites to a large amount of free sites.In 'So You Have Been Publicly shamed' Ronson looked at people who have been shamed online or cyber-bullied, due to innocent mistakes, poor jokes, or sometimes for genuine, monumental stuff ups. It looked at how the internet pile on is returning to the public shaming of old, and how in most cases it is not beneficial, useful, or proportional for the size of the stuff up.

Here Ronson combines the two elements to look at the public shaming and pile on of a porn actress, leading her to take her own life. This leads to her husband, Kevin, calling people out online and starting a cycle of shaming and bullying. Ronson investigates to find out where all this shaming and call outs started, and where it leads. He tracks down 'missing' people and slowly ekes out lots of contradictory information from the industry.

Was it really the twitter pile-on that started this?

Audible provide a warning in the blurb, It's at the start of the audio too, but I'll say it again here: this audio contains some very frank discussions on suicide, bullying, sex, porn etc. It does not shy away from it. It shines a light on some of the best and worst parts of the porn industry (more so the worst). It uses strong language. If you have a problem with any of that, this is not for you.

Ronson interviews the victim's husband, as well as many others involved in the industry - including many of those who undertook that public shaming. One of the main people blamed, Jessica Drake, is very clearly distraught at the thought she has something to do with it, and is sorry for any involvement. But those interviews lead to others which leads him down a trail deeper into the depths of the porn industry to find issues much greater than the cyber bullying of one person.

This is an audio program - sound effect, music, interviews, audio excerpts etc. It is not a straight reading of the text, like to might find with most of Ronson's books. Ronson narrates his own books, and here he leads the audio production. He is the guide between all the interviews and excerpts, the investigator following the leads to where they go.

The audio is generally really good. Occasionally the music is mixed a little too high, considering Ronson is fairly softly spoken. Several of the interviews are not the highest quality audio recording, and there are some live parts from industry events with crowd noises or cheering in the background, but generally it is of a good quality. There are also some interviews with August Ames prior to her death, which Ronson uses but obviously didn't make himself and thus would have had zero control over. All this considered, the audio is good quality and is mixed well together to make it very listenable (even if at times it's not easy to listen to, due to content).

Fans of Ronson, or fans of true mysteries will enjoy.

67 of 71 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a healing masterpiece

Thank you for putting The Last Days Of August together... It was extraordinary - a solid masterpiece that I feel I was specifically meant to hear at this point in my life. I personally survived that world (I'm an ex pornstar who was extensively bullied - along with my parents - by industry figures on the venue where you located Shazia Sahari's name - I had that venue, which is a racist and homophobic hate crime, in the court system all last year), and managed to leave with my sanity. Your piece provided closure for me on a few things I'd forgotten about. The interviews were amazingly honest and revealed the truth about more than I can convey in this review...
I would encourage anyone considering a career in pornography to listen to this. I'd also encourage anyone working within the industry OR who's left to listen to this as well.
Again - thank you.

53 of 57 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting Story

Tragic tale of a young lady. Well told and documented from all angles. appreciated the spoiler that the husband did not do it, that fact put the facts and my attention in the right mind set.
An in depth look into a dark but popular world along with the people involved, although this darkness is not limited to this world.
Still, a tragic ending to a life, many lives.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting

Intriguing story, highlights the complexity of human relations and interpretation of events. Definitely shows how emotion and time can change things. Also highlights how only knowing parts of stories changes how we see things.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Jon Ronson is a talented reporter, but there's no story here

I'm a fan on Jon Ronson, and this story of porn and social media should fall right in his wheelhouse. Instead, there's really no story here and ends up focusing on one man. It comes off as unfair and inconclusive. Not worth the investment of your time.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Dirty Little Secrets of Porn

As a person who has only ever been mildly interested in porn (ahem), I never really considered the private lives of the performers. I just assumed it was easy money for people who lacked the talent to break into mainstream movies. Now that I know the prevalence of mental illness, sexual abuse, and drugs in that industry, I doubt I'll casually browse the sites again anytime soon.

Jon Ronson has what I found to be an annoying whispery voice. It would have been better if he'd let his producer, Lena narrate it. When she talks at the end, it's a lot better.

If you ever been curious about the inner workings of this particular industry, this is worth listening to.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A sad tale

A sad tale of a beautiful girl who ended her life way too early. The story weaves between cyber bullying, murder, or mental infirmity. The story doesn't reach any real conclusion as to why she did what she did. Maybe Cyber bullying, maybe her husband had a role in her demise, maybe her mental state, or maybe a porn scene gone bad pushed her over the edge. You can't say for sure. Maybe a combination of all of the above. At the end you have to draw your own conclusion as to why. The book floats varying theories without really supporting any one assertion.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Mystery in the Dark Side of the porn industry.

Thoroughly enjoyed and was engaged with Ronson's work. Ive listened to some of his other things and found them okay. This one drew me in. Worth a listen whether you like porn or not. The mystery got me.

Good narration.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

A strange listen that accomplished nothing

I felt dirty listening to this at times. There really doesn’t feel like there is much of an actual story here. We’re left with a troubled girl and a guy who may or may not be a bad boyfriend/husband. Dissecting Kevin’s life doesn’t seem fair after the fact when the one person who could really comment isn’t here to do so. Jon Ronson and team does his homework well and covers all of the bases you’d expect but at the end of the listen there’s really nothing to tell except a broken girl committed suicide. There isn’t an eye opening moment that’s going to cure suicide in the porn industry, there’s no real moment that even answers what August’s motivation really was (outside of an accumulation of emotional trauma). We’re left dissecting Kevin who may be guilty of being an emotionally distant husband. I’m left at the end of this production asking why and wondering what was actually accomplished with this story. The only answer I’m left with is nothing.

42 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Rambles a bit, kind of tedious and overlong

Almost the entirety of this book implies that there will be some narrative or resolution, and there's really not. For being so meandering and constantly jumping from interview to interview, it didn't add much to the story. Large sections are unrelated to each other and could be left out. The only conclusion is basically "nobody really knows, but people in this industry tend to be pretty messed up."

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 01-10-19

The tragic story of a life lost way too soon

Totally engrossed in the story from start to finish.

Jon explores August’s complicated & relatively short life story and tragic death with gentle curiosity, sensitivity and empathy.

Great work by Jon & his team.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 01-07-19

Classic Ronson

If you enjoyed the butterfly effort this is a good side story. classic Ronson story telling. showing a story from all sides and ties up the loose ends nicely.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 01-05-19

Edgy and provoking

A courageous and riveting exploration of a short life and the complexity of ascribing any singular reason for its end.