Author: Jon Ronson
Page Count: 334
This book is a fascinating little investigation into what goes on behind the scenes with extremists of all different shapes and sizes, from Islamic jihadists to white supremacists. Ronson is a bit like the Louis Theroux of investigative non-fiction, adopting a similar style and even having a similar sense of humour, though one works in documentary movies and one works in books.
What’s crazy here is the lengths to which Ronson goes in his efforts to track down fundamentalists from across the spectrum. There are times at which he was genuinely in danger, and even though I knew that he must have survived if he was able to write the book, it’s still a little touch and go.
Actually, this is one of Ronson’s earlier books, and there are a few bits here and there that make it feel dated. I mean, it was first published in 2001, which means that he must have written the thing in a pre-9/11 world. For a book that’s about extremism, that’s quite remarkable, although it also means that it’s kind of frozen in time. It works, and it still feels as relevant now as it would have done when it was first written.
So all in all, I was pretty impressed with this, and it’s definitely made me want to read some more of Ronson’s stuff. He has some recent releases that I’ve had my eye on for a while, and eventually I’d like to work my way through his back catalogue. He really is a very talented writer, and I don’t think he gets the credit that he deserves because he works in non-fiction instead of writing novels.
Would I recommend this? Definitely, especially if you’re interested in the ongoing fight against extremism in all of its many forms. You’re going to struggle to find a book that’s better than this at what it does. Happy reading!