I spent most of the last few series of “The Mark Thomas Product” wondering just how far he’s going to have to go before someone actually kills him. This book provokes the same reaction.
The cover sums it up better than I can: “Is there really a secret room from which a tiny elite rules the world, and if so, can it be found? THEM: ADVENTURES WITH EXTREMISTS is a romp into the heart of darkness involving twelve-foot lizard-men, PR-savvy Ku Klux Klansmen, Ian Paisley, Hollywood limousines, kidnapped sex slaves, David Icke, and Nicolae Ceausescu’s shoes. While Jon Ronson attempts to locate the secret room, he is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew at a Jihad training camp, and witnesses CEOs and leading politicians undertake a bizarre owl ritual in the forests of northern California.”
I’d read the Ian Paisley section of a few years ago in the ‘Independent’ magazine, so I had a good idea of what to expect, style-wise: dark humour, more from letting the subject of his writing speak for themselves, rather than actually satirising them directly — Louis Theroux style. However, I hadn’t realised how connected the entire book would be: I was expecting a series of similar unrelated tales of encounters with other figures. Instead this book is more of a travelogue as Ronson tries to discover whether or not the Bilderberg Group really
rule the world. (The Paisley chapter is actually almost out of place). The story is wonderfully told, although surprisingly sympathetic towards many of the characters.
There was apparently an accompanying Channel 4 series that I really need to see now…
[review backfilled here from 2002 blog post]