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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

4.4 (48 )
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4.5 (45 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lawrence Sydney, Australia 20/01/2016
    Lawrence Sydney, Australia 20/01/2016 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    Story
    "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...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bec Booton Melbourne, Australia 10/11/2015
    Bec Booton Melbourne, Australia 10/11/2015 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    64
    11
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin 08/08/2015
    Robin 08/08/2015 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "Thoroughly entertaining!"

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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    drew 17/04/2015
    drew 17/04/2015 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
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    Story
    "Great story!"

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


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • aaron
    los angeles, CA, United States
    26/09/12
    Overall
    Performance
    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!

    36 of 38 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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    The South
    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
    4/06/13
    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
  • 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
  • Ziloni
    17/07/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting and eye opening"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Really eye opening about the Randy Weaver family. The others were extremists, but even Ronson agrees that the Weavers really weren't that whacko and puts their story in a real context.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Anna
    London, United Kingdom
    23/12/12
    Overall
    "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
    17/02/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    4/08/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.
    24/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    24/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    15/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    Malvern, UK
    11/02/13
    Overall
    "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
    4/10/12
    Overall
    "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 Elizabeth
    16/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    23/12/12
    Overall
    "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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