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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743233212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743233217
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Them, British humorist Jon Ronson relates his misadventures as he engages an assortment of theorists and activists residing on the fringes of the political, religious, and sociological spectrum. His subjects include Omar Bakri Mohammed, the point man for a holy war against Britain (Ronson paints him as a wily buffoon); a hypocritical but engaging Ku Klux Klan leader; participants in the Ruby Ridge and Waco, Texas, battles; the Irish Protestant firebrand Ian Paisley; and David Ickes, who believes that the semi-human descendants of evil extraterrestrial 12-foot-tall lizards walk among us. Despite these characters' disparities, they are bound by a belief in the Bilderberg Group, the "secret rulers of the world." In a final chapter, Ronson manages, with surprising ease, to penetrate these rulers' very lair. He writes with wry, faux-naive wit and eschews didacticism, instead letting his subjects' words and actions speak for themselves. --H. O'Billovitch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

U.K. journalist Ronson offers a look into the world of political, cultural and religious "extremists" who dwell at the edges of popular culture and the conspiracy theorists who love them. His only criteria for groups' inclusion as extremists is "that they have been called extremists by others," which may explain why the Anti-Defamation League is profiled along with the modern-day KKK, radical Northern Ireland Protestant spokesperson Dr. Ian Paisley and a former BBC sportscaster who believes the world is ruled by a race of alien lizards. The best as well as most timely and unsettling of these essays follows Omar Bakri Mohammed, a radical Islamic militant, on his often bumbling effort to organize British Muslims into a jihad. (Bakri was arrested after September 11.) Ronson's journalism is motivated less out of a duty to inform the public than a desire to satisfy his own curiosity. At the heart of the book is Ronson's quest to find the Bilderberg Group, a secret cabal said to meet once a year to set the agenda of the "New World Order." Fortunately for the reader, his efforts lead somewhere: an informant tracks Bilderberg to a golf resort in Portugal; later, a prominent British politician and Bilderberg founder discusses it on the record. Once viewed up close through Ronson's light, ironic point of view, these "extremists" appear much less scary than their public images would suggest. It is how he reveals the all-too-real machinations of Western society's radical fringe and its various minions that makes this enjoyable work rather remarkable. (Jan.)Forecast: In the U.K., Ronson's book was accompanied by a five-part BBC documentary, which helped make him into a star. If he can capitalize on media appearances here, this may turn into a quick cult hit.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Most of all, I suppose, I write about mysterious worlds. I write about them in as human a way as I can. These worlds have included powerful secret societies like Bohemian Grove and The Bilderberg Group (I infiltrated them in my book Them), extremist communities - Islamic militants, politically correct Klansmen (also in Them), people who believe the world is ruled by 12-foot shape-shifting lizards (Them), and Military Intelligence chiefs who believe it possibe to pass through walls and kill goats just by staring at them (The Men Who Stare At Goats). In Goats, I also look at how these crazy ideas have mutated themselves and live on in the War on Terror.
These are funny stories about unfunny things.

Customer Reviews

This book was fun and I recommend it to anyone interested in Them.
Jason L. Bryant
It's rare to come across a book that's original, genuinely important - and very funny too.
Mike D
It has grown exponentially even since this book came out, which was about 10 years ago.
SW

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 76 people found the following review helpful By D. Bakken on February 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jon Ronson spent a couple years looking for, interviewing and hanging out with people who are viewed by the mainstream as "wackos" or extremists. This book is the result of those years and it is one of the most entertaining and informative books I've read in years.
The subject of the first chapter is Omar Bakri Mohammed, the so-called leader or Islamic Fundamentalists in Britain. After reading the chapter though, you get the feeling that Omar is all talk. He uses Jon for rides and makes him pay for things because he is broke and does not own a car. Conversations between Jon and Omar also prove that Omar isn't nearly as bad as he wants to be.
Later chapters cover Ruby Ridge, the David Koresh incident in Waco, David Icke vs. the ADL and people who believe that a small group of men rule the world (Bilderberg Group.)
Through every chapter, Jon manages to fit in and is able to interview his subjects in a very relaxed manner, thereby allowing them to speak freely with him.
-- The Klu Klux Klan leader who won't allow his Klansmen to use the "N" word.
-- David Icke, who believes that we are descendents of 12 foot tall aliens who now control us through select leaders.
-- A writer for a conspiracy magazine who thinks everyone is following them or hiding something from them.
-- Rachel Weaver, daughter of Randy Weaver (Ruby Ridge), who in great detail tells Jon the story from her point of view. (A sad story, no matter what side you may take)
There are so chapters that don't quite fit in with the rest, but they are interesting anyway. In between laughs, you'll be discover that most extremists are not that different from me or you, they just took it further.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Mike D on December 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It's rare to come across a book that's original, genuinely important - and very funny too. But Them, a series of interconnected essays by one of the UK's most important alternative journalists, is all these things, and it succeeds not merely because of its unexpected timeliness (Ronson's profile of Omar Bakhri Mohammed, Britain's very own Bin Laden, was actually written four years ago) but because the author, unlike other humorous journalists, gets out and does some first-hand investigation. In Bakhri's case, this extended to engaging in a (beautifully-observed) year long association with the extremist that saw Ronson - a self-proclaimed liberal Jew of no strong religious or political convictions - become the would-be revolutionary's unpaid chauffeur and make frequent visits to his home. The strikingly off-key relationship that developed between the two is tellingly portrayed in deftly-paced vignettes:

'Next morning I sat in Omar's living room while Omar played with his baby daughter.

'"What's your daughter's name?" I asked him.

'"It is a difficult name for you to understand," said Omar.

'"Does it have an English translation?" I asked.

'"Yes," said Omar, "it translates into English as 'The Black Flag of Islam'."

'"Really?" I said. "Your daughter's name is The Black Flag of Islam?"

'"Yes," said Omar.

'"Really?" I said.

'There was a small pause.

'"You see," said Omar, "why our cultures can never integrate?"''

Ronson, indeed, succeeds remarkably well in humanising the men (and they are, with only one exception, men) he writes about, and his book, though undoubtedly hilarious, is never played principally for laughs.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Randy Stafford VINE VOICE on October 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
With an open mind and some charming naivete, Ronson went on an expedition to find not only those who obsess about the secret masters of the world but, just maybe, the masters themselves.

Like others who have actually done honest fieldwork amongst these political exotica, Ronson meets a lot of kind, polite, and charming people -- as long as you happen to be the right race or creed. Many are reasonable and tolerant too -- at least when they don't have any power to realize their visions.

From the vast zoo of modern conspiracy theory, Ronson mostly concentrates on the ZOG/Bilderberg/Trilateralist/Satanist clade which is usually associated with the right wing. But his years of research turn up some surprises.

In pre-September 11th London, Ronson hangs out with Omar Bakri, self-described as Osama bin Laden's man in London. In America, we meet Thom Robb, Grand Wizard of some Klan sect in a world rife with internecine sniping, egomaniacs, and FBI informers. His claim to fame? He wants his disciples to follow his self-help program -- oh, and stop using the "N-word". With Jim Tucker, reporter for the notorious and defunct _Spotlight_ newspaper, he attempts to infiltrate the annual meeting of the legendary Bilderberg Group. Then there's ex-British sportscaster David Icke who insists that, when he talks about a conspiracy of world ruling reptilian space alien Illuminati, he really means space aliens and not Jews.

And Ronson doesn't find extremism just among the conspiracy mongerers. The infamous actions of the U.S. government at Ruby Ridge are recounted as well as the press' general inability to see a distinction important to the Weavers and their supporters -- racial separatism as opposed to racial supremacy.
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