Them: Adventures with Extremists

By JF, 10 July 2001

JF reviews Them: Adventures with Extremists

Jon Ronson’s done something really, really cool. In the on-going battle between him and Louis Theroux – the one for best faux-naif TV journalist – he’s just pulled ahead. You’ve probably seen evidence of this on TV; by the time you read this article the series accompanying his new book Them: Adventures with Extremists, a series entitled ‘The Secret Rulers of the World’, will have come and gone. But if it passed you by, fret not, for the book is better. In it Ronson presents his despatches from five years’ worth of hanging out with nutters of one flavour or another, nutters that include David Icke, the Rev. Ian Paisley, the victims of Ruby Ridge and acquaintances of Timothy McVeigh’s. What’s wonderful about Them is that it doesn’t try – or even pretend to try – to ridicule these people; rather, by encouraging them to speak clearly, and for themselves, Ronson draws some kind of sense out of the bucket of justified paranoias that is the world of the conspiracy theory. A clearer picture of this increasingly crucial cultural force I’ve yet to see.


Them: Adventures with Extremists // Jon Ronson // Picador // May 2001 // 352 pages (hbk) // ISBN 0-330-37545-8 // £16.99