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Them: Adventures with Extremists

by Jon Ronson

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1,591479,097 (3.78)94
*Britain's funniest and most insightful satirist investigates the world of 'them' and 'us'*Is there really, as the extremists claim, a secret room from which a tiny elite secretly rules the world? And if so, can it be found? "Them: Adventures with Extremists" is a romp into the heart of darkness involving 12-foot lizard-men, PR-conscious Ku Klux Klansmen, Ian Paisley, Hollywood limousines, the legend of Ruby Ridge, Noam Chomsky, a harem of kidnapped sex slaves, David Icke, and Nicolae Ceausescu's shoes.While Jon Ronson attempts to locate the secret room, he is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, and witnesses CEOs and leading politicians undertake a bizarre pagan owl ritual in the forests of Northern California. He also learns some alarming things about the looking-glass world of them and us. Are the extremists right? Or has he become one of Them?… (more)
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» See also 94 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Fascinating and frequently very, very funny ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
I can't decide if he was playing dumb for rhetorical purposes, or he did zero research. The book is on the edge of irresponsible because of how clueless the narrator is about things he could have found out by reading anything about Nazism, the Klan, or any other group he discusses. He ended up giving Alex Jones a lot of press, which turned out badly for everyone. ( )
  trishrobertsmiller | Jan 24, 2022 |
2020 UPDATE:
Totally forgot I'd read this four years ago. I stand by my review below, with the exception of the last line. Ronson somehow manages to ferret out some of the most fascinating people, that I have to keep reading his stuff.

ORIGINAL 2016 REVIEW:
I'm giving this one the benefit of the doubt with three stars. It's like it's not quite sure if it wants to be funny or poignant or eye-opening. In the end, it's a little bit of all three.

I've read a couple of Ronson books now, and I have a few more shelved to read, but I'm finding my biggest frustration is that his books really don't seem to go anywhere. They're more anecdotes that move to different ones before looping back to the earlier one before jumping into a third. There never seems to be an official conclusion, more of an abandonment of each story.

Let's see what the next one holds. It may be my last. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
I think I'm a simpleton because I have no idea what hell is going on. Is the author for real? Is this an elaborate joke? What the f*ck is going on? I want to believe this is fiction but is it? ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
I felt like re-reading this wonderful book. I love how Ronson can make Extremists look like complete and utter fools, my favourite part was when he uncovered that the KKK were reading self-help books and openly practicing their teachings and don't even get me started on David Icke's shape-shifting reptilian theory 😂
⭐⭐⭐⭐ ( )
  MandaTheStrange | Oct 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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)
Quotations
"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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*Britain's funniest and most insightful satirist investigates the world of 'them' and 'us'*Is there really, as the extremists claim, a secret room from which a tiny elite secretly rules the world? And if so, can it be found? "Them: Adventures with Extremists" is a romp into the heart of darkness involving 12-foot lizard-men, PR-conscious Ku Klux Klansmen, Ian Paisley, Hollywood limousines, the legend of Ruby Ridge, Noam Chomsky, a harem of kidnapped sex slaves, David Icke, and Nicolae Ceausescu's shoes.While Jon Ronson attempts to locate the secret room, he is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, and witnesses CEOs and leading politicians undertake a bizarre pagan owl ritual in the forests of Northern California. He also learns some alarming things about the looking-glass world of them and us. Are the extremists right? Or has he become one of Them?

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