‘Them: Adventures With Extremists’ – Book of the Week

By now you should all know what a massive Jon Ronson fan I am. I have already written two reviews of ‘The Psychopath Test‘ and ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed‘, and I adored both of these books. Again, I did really enjoy this book, but I would not say it is as strong as the other two.

Ronson talks to a wide variety of characters to get a total understanding of different kings of extremists. He talks to an Islamic Fundamentalist, various KKK (Ku Klux Klan) branches, and even members of the Bilderberg group. He explores lizards ruling us in the form of Beyonce and Queen Elizabeth II. Gun lobbying white supremacists. Jihadis looking to take down the British government. These earlier topics were so interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning about them.

Although I did enjoy the novel, as I stated before I felt that it was not as strong as his other texts. Perhaps this is an unpopular opinion, but I felt some of the chapters were weaker and a bit repetitive. There are a few chapters dedicated to the Bilderberg group, which was relatively interesting but there was not enough substance to justify that much time. I would have liked more chapters on the KKK or Sharia Law advocates as these are the real extremist groups I think people were hoping to read about when they saw this novel. However, what is good about Ronson’s books is that the chapters are all separate stories, and so if one does not take your fancy then you can easily skip ahead to the next chapter.

Ultimately though I do recommend this book as it gives an interesting insight into the lives of these extremists. In true Ronson style, it is approached with a light-heartedness that does not make this a heavy read. He never truly mocks these extremists, rather tries to understand them, all while under the threat of them finding out that he is Jewish. His kind and respectable manner enables the extremists to trust him and we see a side of them that the world does not get to see.

This was only a short review as I think my blog content is a little Ronson heavy! Just wanted to share my opinion with you guys. What did you think of the book? And do you have any recommendations for me? Please let me know in the comments below!

To buy the book on amazon, click the image below:

‘Them: Adventures With Extremists’, £6.48, Amazon

 

Free Audible Download Link:

 

If you are interested then Amazon has given me the opportunity of offering you guys a 30 Day Free Trial with Kindle Unlimited! It’s like Netflix but for eBooks! There are over 1 million ebooks and audiobooks and you get to read an unlimited amount. The first 30 days is absolutely free with the link below, and after that it is only £7.99 a month, however you get to cancel at any time if you are unhappy with the service (which I highly doubt). That’s only £7.99 per month for unlimited books and audiobooks! And the first month is free? Unbelievable. You don’t even need a kindle! You can just download the free app onto your smartphone or tablet. If  you are ready to KindleUnlimited and Chill then just click the link below:

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Lots of love, Evie x

‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ – Book of the Week

 

Anyone who is a regular to this blog knows that I am a massive fan of Jon Ronson. After reading ‘The Psychopath Test’ (the detailed and enthusiastic review for that is here) I went and bought all of his books and downloaded his podcasts. My next book of choice was ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’. Again, a similar thing  happened when I started reading this book, I realised it sounded familiar. “Oh yes!” I thought, “I have already seen him do a Ted Talk on this topic.” The TedTalk also stuck in my mind, and so I will link to it below:

 

Although he explores many medias, Ronson mainly focuses his attention on online shaming- in particular Twitter. How people can tweet a misworded joke and end up being hated by the entire world. Death threats and rape threats thrown at them, and real-life ramifications such as being fired. Online shaming and exposure is even more relevant now than it was in 2015 when this novel was published as people like beauty-guru Laura Lee, director of Guardians of the Galaxy James Gunn, and more recently even beloved comedy-actor Kevin Hart have been under fire as people have dug up offensive tweets from years ago. It has started a debate around how long can someone have a dodgy tweet held against them? Should someone be fired for saying something offensive years ago, or do we forgive them? Who even deserves forgiveness? Is a racist tweet worse than a homophobic/sexist tweet? Ronson touches on these issues and more in his book. He also looks to empathise with the shamed. He gives context to their misworded tweets and gives advice on how to ride the shaming train and come out unscathed. He looks into the mob-mentality of public shaming and the psychology of being embarrassed. He researches cases where people have felt so ashamed for their acts that they have committed suicide (for example, Ashley-Madison is a site for people looking to start an affair. It was hacked and the names and details of thousands of users were leaked).

I recommend this book to anyone else who is as aware of the rise in online scandals and shaming and wants to explore the debates surrounding it. I would love to hear of your thoughts down below!

Love from, Evie x

‘The Psychopath Test’ – Book of the Week

I came across Jon Ronson about two years ago when I happened to click on a Ted Talk of his entitled ‘Strange answers to the psychopath test’. I have always had an interest in psychology, made stronger when I studied it at A-Level, and so in intrigued I clicked on it. Psychopathy, it turns out, is something I thought I knew more about than I did. It turns out that Psychopaths aren’t all violent serial killers or crazed sex offenders, and there is an estimated 1 in 100 (or 1 in 25 if you believe the psychologist in Shane Dawson’s latest YouTube series- which I highly recommend). They blend into society and could be you or me. In Ronson’s book, he explores the realm of psychopathy but also various other mental illnesses. He looks at the child psychology crisis; about how children are being diagnosed with ADHD and Austism at an alarming rate. He looks at anxiety and how on can not possibly be both a Psychopath and also suffer from GAD. Ronson talks to diagnosed psychopaths, psychologists, neurologists, journalists, sceptics and a variety of others to present a well-rounded exploration of the topic.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, what is ‘The Psychopath Test’? Well, the name of the book is in reference to the Hare Psychopathy Test which is the formal test which is being currently used to define if people are Psychopaths or not. There are 20 items on the checklist, and with each item you will be awarded either 0, 1, or 2 points. At the end you count up the points and if you score 30 or above you are considered a Psychopath. Of course, this system carries many flaws (as Ronson explores) and should be carried out by a trained professional, but I will add the checklist below as I know you are dying to find out if you are a Psychopath:

  1. Glibness/ Superficial charm
  2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
  3. need for stimulation/ prone to boredom
  4. Pathological lying
  5. conning/ manipulative
  6. lack of remorse or guilt
  7. shallow affect
  8. callous/ lack of empathy
  9. parasitic lifestyle
  10. poor behavioural controls
  11. promiscuous sexual behaviour
  12. early behaviour problems
  13. lack of realistic, long-term goals
  14. impulsivity
  15. irresponsibility
  16. failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  17. many short-term marital relationships
  18. juvenile delinquency
  19. revocation of conditional release
  20. criminal verstility

I do absolutely recomend this book if you are as interested by Psychology as I am. It packs in so much information and knowledge, while also maintaining an investigative and engrossing style. Below I will add the original YouTube video I watched. This video has one of the many stories in the book in it, so if you find it intriguing then there is a lot more where that came from.

Let me know down below your score from the test! And also mention in the comments if there are any books you recommend.

Lots of love, Evie x