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The Elephant in the Room

A Journey into the Trump Campaign and the "Alt-Right"
Narrated by: Jon Ronson
Length: 1 hr and 47 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Politics
4 out of 5 stars (50 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

'But Hillary is a known Luciferian,' he tried.
'She's not a known Luciferian,' I said.
'Well, yes and no,' he said.

In The Elephant in the Room, Jon Ronson, the New York Times best-selling author of The Psychopath Test, Them and So You've Been Publicly Shamed, travels to Cleveland at the height of summer to witness the Republican National Convention. Along the way he reunites with an old acquaintance - the influential provocateur and conspiracy talk-show host Alex Jones - who draws him, unexpectedly, into one of the most bizarre presidential campaigns in American history.

From the private Winnebago where conspiracy theorists and fearmongers discuss key campaign decisions to a chance encounter with notorious political operative Roger Stone, Ronson's picaresque journey into Donald Trump's atmosphere introduces us to the people who orbit the campaign machine and discovers what makes them tick - and what ticks them off.

Whimsical, hilarious and often downright terrifying, The Elephant in the Room captures a defining moment in our time as only Jon Ronson could see it.

©2016 Jon Ronson (P)2016 Audible, Ltd.

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I used a credit on this?

Great content and presentation, just way too short. I'm an idiot for not reading the notes but it's listed as a book, by a guy who writes books. I assumed it was book length.Itt's not. I'd almost consider it a podcast.

The content is great. I'm just disappointed that I feel I got a raw deal using a monthly credit on it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A reminder of the mistake made

Worth listening to despite the election result undermining some content. Ronson's narrative style is unusual but appealing.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 26-10-2016

As Others See Us--

When I finish an audiobook and I get to the, "Audible hopes you enjoyed this...", I can usually say yes or no. At the end of "The Elephant in the Room", however, I found myself quite simply shuddering.
This is a stunning and terrifying account of some bits and pieces of the Trump campaign. It might be unpopular, but everything is taken from the words and sayings of Trump and Alex Jones themselves. Ronson goes to great lengths to clarify what actually is on record, in his usual inimitable style. As depressing and astounding as some of it is, the book is often funny. Even though I cringed mightily, Ronson had me smiling.
Make no mistake. The Left comes off as hateful as the Right, with knee-jerk dismissals, taunting, and even violent behavior. Still, what we've gotten into is bleak.
The book is short, but it's oddly poignant, and Ronson narrates with sublime and hilarious ease. Definitely worth the time, definitely worth the money.
But God Almighty! I'm ready for a bleach dip...

45 of 55 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt S.
  • 22-03-2019

The Men Behind The Curtain

I loved this. It's the best reveal of a smoke filled backroom that we have today. The Trump machine has an ethical bank balance of zero. Disturbing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Terry Masters
  • 01-11-2016

Short but Good

This is an interesting, enjoyable listen, like Jon's books. It's a short essay on a topic surrounded by misinformation, half truths, apologists, etc.. Jon has a unique perspective and style, and his writing comes across as an exploration of that topic rather than a veiled agenda being pushed on the reader. For that reason alone, this essay is worth a listen. His take on Jones, Stone etc. are particularly good. My only complaint is that I finished the book wishing for a more in-depth exploration of the topic.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • 05-11-2016

In a Parallel Reality

Jon Ronson is an eternal optimist who looks at the United States with an outsider's awe and an amusing feigned naïveté. Take "The Men Who Stare at Goats" (2004), his exploration of the US Army's attempt to get all touchy-feely in the 1980's and explore psychics. No, not psychological warfare. They were trying for mind control. Ronson's take on that colossal waste of resources was innocent wonder, accompanied with quiet debunking.

Ronson resurrects his guileless alter ego in "The Elephant in the Room: A Journey into the Trump Campaign and the Alt-Right" (September 27, 2016) to explore a group of presidential candidate Donald Trump's more visibly radical supporters: nativists, racists and climate change deniers, loosely inspired by Alex Jones of Info Wars dot com. Ronson was in a unique position to do that: in 1999, Ronson and Jones infiltrated Bohemian Grove, an elite camp for the ultra wealthy and powerful, bluffing their way in by the super spy technique of wearing J. Crew clothes and acting like they belonged. That took an admirable amount of chutzpah.

Jones trusts Ronson - well, as much as an actual raving conspiracy theorist can trust anyone, which is not so much. Until I listened to "The Elephant in the Room" I thought 'Infowars' was a concept, like 'psy-ops.' It turns out that Jones runs a group that married extreme conservative political ideology with beliefs in extraterrestrials and divine intervention, and that empire gave birth to nuclear war survival kits, Bill Clinton Rape Whistles, and Hillary for Prison T-Shirts. A lot of what Jones says in his videos and radio broadcasts comes out of Trump's mouth a few days later, unfiltered. I'd wondered where some of Trump's more extreme ideas and beliefs came from. Now I know.

Ronson's piece prompted me to take a look at Jones' website and watch a few of Jones' videos. Jones is a walking, talking paranoid delusion - but he's oh, so, persuasive. This is no smear job of Jones, though. It is a nightmare inducing, deeply disturbing look at the Alt-Right that he inspires.

Ronson is frightened by the potential that someone so controlled by the radical right could become president, but he was comforted by no great missteps by Hillary R. Clinton. That was before October 28, 2016, when FBI director James Comey channeled J. Edgar Hoover to try to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Ronson does his own narration, and he's great - as usual.

(The title of the review is a quote from a Slate Magazine article published on November 5, 2016, discussing how Trump perceived Barrack Obama's reaction to a heckler.)

21 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • DanBudda
  • 02-12-2016

Buckle up, kiddies. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.

The last two minutes say it all. But do yourself a favor and just listen to this short, interesting tale of Jon's. If you're a fan of Jon's, as I am, you know you're in for a narrating treat. He was a great, quirky voice. And, yeah ok, the British accent that American's love is there, too. But it's the story you need to hear. Trump supporters, the honest ones, and you know who you are, please listen and reflect on what you hear. We are all still American's first. For now. And let us all pray that remains to be true. For the record, I was a Bernie guy but voted for Hillary. If this audiobook doesn't scare you, please write in your review why not. I'm looking for a reason not to worry about my country. Help me out. Thanks.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Gretchen SLP
  • 31-10-2016

Chilling, Enlightening, Required Reading

If you're like me and never even heard the term "alt-right" until this wretched election cycle, this book is for you. I recommend it without hesitation. Fortunately, due to its brevity, you'll be able to finish it well before Election Day, when you will make possibly the most important choice you've ever had to make as a voter, and the United States will reveal to the rest of the world just what kind of country we are. Thank you, Jon Ronson, for applying your trademark blend of wry humor, keen insight, and scrupulously honest journalistic ethics to this invaluable project; thank you to Audible for making it available on such short notice; and most of all, thank you to my friends and followers on Twitter who recommended it as a must-listen. You certainly were right. God bless us and keep us, every one.

10 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas Pineros Shields
  • 14-12-2016

Terrifying Must-Read for Trump's New Order

This short trek behind the scenes of the 2016 RNC reveals how organized hate has become institutionalized power. Trump's love affair with "deplorables" was not an accident but an intentional effort to draw the media attention to him and to win the presidency. The response of the left and its online hate also receives its deserved critique. I found myself learning to appreciate Glenn Beck of all people.

7 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • aidan
  • 12-06-2019

A good look at the alt-right movement

Once again Jon takes center stage in a great first hand coverage of his events with Alex Jones and others whom Trump interacted with during his 2016 campaign

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  • Kelly W.
  • 15-05-2019

Classic Ronson

Really enjoyed this ... Ronson has very interesting perspectives and well researched topics ... the mix of comedy and serious topics always keeps me interested!

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  • Thomas
  • 09-05-2019

Another fantastic Jon Ronson dispatch!!

What can you do? He's the best at what he does! Here he goes into the heart of the Alt-right media and uses empathy, humor and careful observation to send us back something true and important. Thank you, Mr. Ronson, keep up the brilliant work!

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  • Mooma
  • 31-10-2016

Bit short for a whole credit

Very interesting, well written and read. However, a whole credit for 1hr 45mins is a bit rich.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim Vaughan
  • 04-09-2017

A Brief History of Trump - Short but Classic Ronson

I love Jon Ronson's quirky, seeming innocent reporting of really disturbing phenomena, and TEITR is no exception. Penned before the US election, it ends on an upbeat note, imagining the impossibility of a Trump victory, and the confidence that the innate multiculturalism of young Americans would prevail and reject the mad racist rhetoric of the Trump campaign.

As always, Ronson explores the weird and bizarre like the "fake news" conspiracy theories spread by the people behind Trump, in particular the radio show campaigner Alex Jones and sinister Trump advisor Roger Stone. The virulence of the lies they spread, and the fact that the latter previously acted as lobbyist for several blood thirsty dictators, along with Trumps campaign manager makes for disturbing listening.

This is a very short book, and I took advantage of Audibles 40% sale to get it for a few quid, however I would have felt cheated at the full price, though it is an enjoyable listen. It confirmed my every prejudice, about the dangerous fictions of the far right, which is always satisfying, and is made even better because Jon Ronson reads it himself in his own inimical style. I recommend it but buy it at sale prices.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • BoB
  • 30-11-2016

A great storyteller

I always hear Jon Ronson's voice when I read his work anyway. It is an absolute joy to hear him actually do it. Funny and thought-provoking.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Si
  • 04-11-2016

Rushed?

Perceptive and very funny, as usual, but far too short. Surely there's more dirt to dish on Trump than this. Obviously rushed out in time for the election, after which point it's to be hoped that Trump's name takes a back seat in US politics.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr Shinealight
  • 18-11-2016

Ronson remixes a greatest hit for this US election essay.

Now that the titular Elephant has left the room and is heading for the roomier accommodations provided by the Oval Office, Ronsons warning arrives too late for me. Not that I could do much about the election result.

It's fine and standard Ronson fare, but not worth a whole credit.
It's very short and having read 'Them' and most of the news articles he cites, I didn't feel I got my money's worth. I should probably have bought the more equitably priced ePub 50 page version. I'll be returning this and will wait patiently for his next full length excursion.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott Seivwright
  • 26-10-2016

Wow!! Jon does it again.

Jon gets inside the velvet curtain of the alt right. And it is very sad. Insight to Alex Jones and Trumps relationship is Huge.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • dp litchfield
  • 10-06-2019

Ronson is a master<br />

I just wish I had read this when it was written. still very insightful as a glance inside the trump ground swell and the alt right in general.

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  • Alex
  • 30-05-2019

Another Smash Hit (If you are a Ronson fan)

my first time listening to Ronson was his podcast the butterfly effect, I was so balled over that I went back to read/listen to his entire catalogue. Every single one an amazing gonso journalism tale of inquiry into various worlds with a central message. This is no exception, if I had one critique it would be that this one does not has as much of a theme running through the "book", it would be hard-pressed with the time limit on this. Although this lack of a central narrative may leave some readers wanting.

Summary: If you are not a Ronson fan this is not for you as there isn't as much to parse over going on 3 years after trump's election. However if you are a Ronson fan sit back and enjoy another tale to the catalogue

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-03-2019

Ronson's Take on Trump Campaign

Ronson gives his usual investigative take on Trump's campaign and the wider political forces surrounding it with his inimitable investigative style.
It's probably not long enough to merit a credit, but if the price is reduced, definitely pick it up.

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  • Tim P.
  • 09-01-2018

Good but short

As others have commented, this is usual Ronson stuff and leaves you wanting more.

It is very short and not as good as his Porno podcasts, but worth a listen and also makes me want to listen to ‘Them’ also by Jon Ronson. Which I guess is what it’s all about.

Surely this will be revisited and updated now the election result is known and we await books like Michael Wolff’s.