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Them: Adventures with Extremists Audiobook

Them: Adventures with Extremists

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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

What the Critics Say

"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 Rating

4.3 (630 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Anna London, United Kingdom 23/12/2012
    Anna London, United Kingdom 23/12/2012
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    "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
  •  
    J. Casey UK 17/02/2015
    J. Casey UK 17/02/2015 Member Since 2011
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    "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

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 04/08/2015 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "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
  •  
    Ryan R. 24/06/2015
    Ryan R. 24/06/2015 Member Since 2014
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    5
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    "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
  •  
    Miss E J Bertenshaw 24/07/2015 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "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
  •  
    Ant St Albans, United Kingdom 15/12/2013
    Ant St Albans, United Kingdom 15/12/2013 Member Since 2014

    I dance around and sing a song and know that I can do no wrong.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Vaughan 11/02/2013
    Jim Vaughan 11/02/2013 Member Since 2012
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    "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".

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jamo London 04/10/2012
    jamo London 04/10/2012
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    "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

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria 16/05/2015
    Victoria 16/05/2015 Member Since 2014
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    "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.
    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.
    Also, it's funny.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz Oxford, United Kingdom 23/12/2012
    Liz Oxford, United Kingdom 23/12/2012 Member Since 2016
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    "Fascinating"

    Jon Ronson is great at giving a real sense of sanity to these tales. Highly recommended.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
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  • aaron
    los angeles, CA, United States
    26/09/12
    Overall
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    Story
    "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!

    35 of 36 people found this review helpful
  • Nothing really matters
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    24/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Lil Pinchands
    AUSTIN, TX, United States
    30/09/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  • Diane
    Louisville, KY, United States
    04/06/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • karen
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    25/08/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Dubi
    New York, NY
    13/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • TM
    Chicago, IL United States
    12/09/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Silly, but Serious"
    Any additional comments?

    I've been a huge fan of Louis Theroux for many years, and to me Jon Ronson's book strikes the same tone as one of Louis' shows.

    By building a rapport with people who have very extreme beliefs and opinions, they are humanized. One can even empathize to a degree. This is a much more productive policy than simply demonizing or disregarding them.

    In most extremists there is a grain of something real that should be considered and built in to our own thinking. However, that is not to overlook the fact that many of these people are essentially delusional and even dangerous.

    That is the most important aspect of Jon's book and Louis' shows - whilst opening our minds to empathize and relate, they also illuminate where the reasonable become unreasonable and the understandable become outrageous. And best of all this demarkation is often hilarious and self-evident when exposed by a reasonable person repeating the ludicrous words back to the ludicrous people who just spoke them.

    It is genius and a service to the world in my opinion.

    I am sure that Jon's book would have lost much of the humor and nuance had it been read by another narrator, so well done Jon.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • kim
    brookline, MA, United States
    15/05/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Love Jon Ronson"
    What did you love best about Them: Adventures with Extremists?

    A romp through crazy town with a great host. Also learned some things.


    What other book might you compare Them: Adventures with Extremists to and why?

    Jon Krakauer without the yuks. They like the same subjects.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I loved the descriptions of bohemian grove and the men urinating on trees!


    Any additional comments?

    His books are great and I am going to read all of them at some point. I love that he is the narrator. Self narrations really adds allot in my opinion. Good narration can make or break an audiobook in my opinion.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mary
    Fond du Lac, WI, United States
    26/01/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bad reading of a good book"
    What made the experience of listening to Them: Adventures with Extremists the most enjoyable?

    The content was good, but the reading made listening to this audiobook painful


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The first hand accounts of extremists


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    His accent was strange and his reading was stiff. The pronounciations were bizarre. Antisemite was pronounced Anti sea mite, which I have never heard before. When someone who the author was interviewing laughed, the author made a weird "ha ha" sound. It was like fingernails down a chalkboard. Producers should really dissuade authors from reading their own books.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    The content is really good, but I almost stopped listening to it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Diane
    United States
    21/07/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not my favorite Jon Ronson book"

    I'm a huge fan of Jon Ronson but I didn't find this book as interesting as some of his others. His writing, as always, is clever and the book was well-researched but I didn't find the subject matter that compelling. Extremists - conspiracy theorists, wing-nuts, paranoid crazy people - are fascinating in small doses, but after a while they get boring.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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