Book Review: Them

The world is full of conspiracies and when you meet the people that really believe them, the truth gets blurry. Jon Ronson’s account of his time with extremists; from the Ku Klux Klan, to Islamic fundamentalists and his attempts to infiltrate the Bilderberg group ; is funny, weird and revealing.

It’s funny because Ronson is such an engaging writer. In an almost unfiltered way  he brilliantly juxtaposes the ordinary details of a scene with the eccentricities of the characters and the bizarreness of their beliefs which leaves you laughing at absurd situations which you then realise are deeply disturbing.

It’s weird because cults and conspiracies whether of the David Icke variety or that of the participants in the Bohemian Grove, it’s just weird. Everyone is weird but these people show no restraint, they revel in their weirdness – their weirdness filters have been removed and whether from irony or insanity they live out the weirdness.

It’s revealing because there are groups of powerful men meeting in private deciding stuff and there are people who believe that these groups must be stopped and the way to do it is through violence. There are cover ups and media manipulation and there are people who believe things that aren’t true. Them was written in 2001 but with the alt-right, Donald Trump and post-truth this book has found its zeitgeist and is well worth reading for that reason.

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