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Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon…

Them: Adventures with Extremists

by Jon Ronson

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This book was lots of fun to read, whilst also being quite disturbing. Jon Ronson is so great at exposing the ridiculousness of the extremist's viewpoints and the mundanity of their everyday lives in contrast to their views. So it's enjoyable, funny and readable on that level. It's also super interesting. It was first published in 2001, so it's interesting to see how these extremist have become more and more part of the everyday discourse in 2018. A few very prescient lines about irrational thought sweeping the land. And how brilliant that one of the central conspiracies discussed in it turns out to be pretty much true, but once investigated turns out to be a kind of dull, slightly embarrassing business networking event. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Feb 10, 2019 |
Picked this book up after reading (and loving) Ronson's [b:The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry|12391521|The Psychopath Test A Journey Through the Madness Industry|Jon Ronson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1364166270s/12391521.jpg|14262366]. Them is an enthralling journey to the edges of human sanity. Jon Ronson is very much a character in his own story, and the tale of how his conception of the book he's writing changes over time is just as fascinating as the stories of the men and women he studies. Ronson raises a lot of interesting food for thought about how we draw the lines between madness and sanity, between "disordered" and "normal" - and how blurry those lines can get. I adore his humanistic approach to journalism. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Them was a highly entertaining look at the extremists that exist within society. The book details the various conspiracy theories that exist (with a focus on the Bilderbergers) and Ronson goes into their society in an attempt to find out the truth behind it - with oddly startling results.

Ronson does not end the book by becoming on of them, but rather, rationalizes the strangeness of what is happening in a very logical way. I enjoyed this book because he viewed the theories in a manner that was not condescending. Yes, the ideas are rather crazy, but isn't there a grain of truth behind most of them?

Especially enjoyable were his conversations with Icke. Anyone who can make Icke out to be a sympathetic character has to be a fantastic journalist. :) ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Very twisty book as the author spends time with a Muslim Extremist, Ruby Ridge survivors, at Waco, with Alex Jones, the Klan, Aryan Nation, the IRA, and a few others getting into their headspace & ideas. Some seem crazy, some crazy like a fox, but many share their own conspiracy theories with Ronson and he attempts to track down the secret room full of "rulers of the world" that quite a few of these groups fear. Read by the author on audio which I fully recommend.

Side Note: This book was published not long before 9/11, I often found myself wondered as I listened to it if his focus would have been different or if he would have even attempted this after 9/11. ( )
  RivetedReaderMelissa | Mar 22, 2018 |
Does a good job of humanizing the (mostly American) fringe, including revealing facts about 'Ruby Ridge' that I never knew, while not loosing sight of that fact that these people are weird, very weird, and that's just for starters. Ronson succeeds in revealing how e.g. Alex Jones' world view might make sense to him and his followers --in other words, they are not 'just crazy'-- while not loosing sight of the fact that they are, well, a bit crazy (in the colloquial sense.) ( )
  dcunning11235 | Oct 17, 2016 |
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I think it bodes well for world peace that Friends is a success everywhere in the world. —Lisa Kudrow
When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were. It was us versus them, and it was clear who them was. Today we are not so sure who they are, but we know they're there. —George W. Bush, January 21, 2000
A plume of pearl-grey smoke rose into the sky, marking the spot where the twin towers used to stand—my view, and everything else, forever altered.... Now I am angry. I'm depressed. I'm weepy. I can't control my emotions at all. I want to hug strangers. I want to hurt other strangers. —Jay McInerney, September 15, 2001
for Joel
First words
One evening in 1999, I was in the bathroom at a lecture hall in Frome, Somerset, when David Icke, the subject of chapter six of Them, walked in.
Chapter 1. A Semi-Detached Ayatollah.

It was a balmy Saturday afternoon in Trafalgar Square in the summertime, and Omar Bakri Mohammed was declaring Holy War on Britain.
Preface (September, 2001)

In the hours that followed the heartbreaking attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., politicians and pundits offered their list of suspects.

(from 2002 Simon & Schuster edition)
"Bilderberg are very secretive," she said. "They don't want people looking into their business. What are you doing there?"

"I am essentially a humorous journalist," I explained. "I am a humorous journalist out of my depth. Do you think it might help if we tell them that?"

Chapter 4, "Bilderberg Sets a Trap!" (p.127)
"The good news," said Sandra, "is if you know you're being followed, they're probably just trying to intimidate you. The dangerous ones would be those you don't know are following you."

... "But that isn't logical," I said. "Big Jim Tucker is obviously not intimidated. I don't think they'd waste their time trying to intimidate us when it is quite obviously failing."

"You sound a little intimidated, if you don't mind my saying," said Sandra.

"Perhaps so," I said, "but I am not behaving in a visibly intimidated manner. From across the parking lot I do not seem to be intimidated."

Chapter 4, "Bilderberg Sets a Trap!" (p.129)
Indeed, every individual accused of reptilian pedophilia by David Icke had so far failed to sue, including Bob Hope, George Bush, ... Al Gore, and the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group.

"Why do you think that is?" David Icke had asked me when I interviewed him about this matter in London. Then he turned to my notepad and thundered, "Come on, Ted Heath! Sue me if you've got nothing to hide! Come on, George Bush! I'm ready! Sue me! I'm naming names! Come on, Jon! Why are they refusing to sue me?"

There was a silence.

"Because they are twelve-foot lizards?" I suggested, meekly.

"Yes!" said David. "Exactly!"

Chapter 5, "The Middlemen in New York" (p.150)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743233212, Paperback)

In Them, British humorist Jon Ronson relates his misadventures as he engages an assortment of theorists and activists residing on the fringes of the political, religious, and sociological spectrum. His subjects include Omar Bakri Mohammed, the point man for a holy war against Britain (Ronson paints him as a wily buffoon); a hypocritical but engaging Ku Klux Klan leader; participants in the Ruby Ridge and Waco, Texas, battles; the Irish Protestant firebrand Ian Paisley; and David Ickes, who believes that the semi-human descendants of evil extraterrestrial 12-foot-tall lizards walk among us. Despite these characters' disparities, they are bound by a belief in the Bilderberg Group, the "secret rulers of the world." In a final chapter, Ronson manages, with surprising ease, to penetrate these rulers' very lair. He writes with wry, faux-naive wit and eschews didacticism, instead letting his subjects' words and actions speak for themselves. --H. O'Billovitch

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:51 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In the tradition of Bill Bryson, a fascinating and frequently hilarious look at extremists around the globe, and the conspiracy theory that unites them. Journalist Jon Ronson, the mild-mannered but ironic observer, learns some alarming things about the looking-glass world of them and us. Are the extremists onto something? Or has Ronson become one of Them?… (more)

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