The Elephant in the Room

  • by Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by Jon Ronson
  • 1 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

'But Hillary is a known Luciferian,' he tried.
'She's not a known Luciferian,' I said.
'Well, yes and no,' he said.
In The Elephant in the Room, Jon Ronson, the New York Times best-selling author of The Psychopath Test, Them and So You've Been Publicly Shamed, travels to Cleveland at the height of summer to witness the Republican National Convention. Along the way he reunites with an old acquaintance - the influential provocateur and conspiracy talk-show host Alex Jones - who draws him, unexpectedly, into one of the most bizarre presidential campaigns in American history.
From the private Winnebago where conspiracy theorists and fearmongers discuss key campaign decisions to a chance encounter with notorious political operative Roger Stone, Ronson's picaresque journey into Donald Trump's atmosphere introduces us to the people who orbit the campaign machine and discovers what makes them tick - and what ticks them off.
Whimsical, hilarious and often downright terrifying, The Elephant in the Room captures a defining moment in our time as only Jon Ronson could see it.

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Customer Reviews

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As Others See Us--

When I finish an audiobook and I get to the, "Audible hopes you enjoyed this...", I can usually say yes or no. At the end of "The Elephant in the Room", however, I found myself quite simply shuddering.
This is a stunning and terrifying account of some bits and pieces of the Trump campaign. It might be unpopular, but everything is taken from the words and sayings of Trump and Alex Jones themselves. Ronson goes to great lengths to clarify what actually is on record, in his usual inimitable style. As depressing and astounding as some of it is, the book is often funny. Even though I cringed mightily, Ronson had me smiling.
Make no mistake. The Left comes off as hateful as the Right, with knee-jerk dismissals, taunting, and even violent behavior. Still, what we've gotten into is bleak.
The book is short, but it's oddly poignant, and Ronson narrates with sublime and hilarious ease. Definitely worth the time, definitely worth the money.
But God Almighty! I'm ready for a bleach dip...
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- Gillian "SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!"

In a Parallel Reality

Jon Ronson is an eternal optimist who looks at the United States with an outsider's awe and an amusing feigned naïveté. Take "The Men Who Stare at Goats" (2004), his exploration of the US Army's attempt to get all touchy-feely in the 1980's and explore psychics. No, not psychological warfare. They were trying for mind control. Ronson's take on that colossal waste of resources was innocent wonder, accompanied with quiet debunking.

Ronson resurrects his guileless alter ego in "The Elephant in the Room: A Journey into the Trump Campaign and the Alt-Right" (September 27, 2016) to explore a group of presidential candidate Donald Trump's more visibly radical supporters: nativists, racists and climate change deniers, loosely inspired by Alex Jones of Info Wars dot com. Ronson was in a unique position to do that: in 1999, Ronson and Jones infiltrated Bohemian Grove, an elite camp for the ultra wealthy and powerful, bluffing their way in by the super spy technique of wearing J. Crew clothes and acting like they belonged. That took an admirable amount of chutzpah.

Jones trusts Ronson - well, as much as an actual raving conspiracy theorist can trust anyone, which is not so much. Until I listened to "The Elephant in the Room" I thought 'Infowars' was a concept, like 'psy-ops.' It turns out that Jones runs a group that married extreme conservative political ideology with beliefs in extraterrestrials and divine intervention, and that empire gave birth to nuclear war survival kits, Bill Clinton Rape Whistles, and Hillary for Prison T-Shirts. A lot of what Jones says in his videos and radio broadcasts comes out of Trump's mouth a few days later, unfiltered. I'd wondered where some of Trump's more extreme ideas and beliefs came from. Now I know.

Ronson's piece prompted me to take a look at Jones' website and watch a few of Jones' videos. Jones is a walking, talking paranoid delusion - but he's oh, so, persuasive. This is no smear job of Jones, though. It is a nightmare inducing, deeply disturbing look at the Alt-Right that he inspires.

Ronson is frightened by the potential that someone so controlled by the radical right could become president, but he was comforted by no great missteps by Hillary R. Clinton. That was before October 28, 2016, when FBI director James Comey channeled J. Edgar Hoover to try to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Ronson does his own narration, and he's great - as usual.

(The title of the review is a quote from a Slate Magazine article published on November 5, 2016, discussing how Trump perceived Barrack Obama's reaction to a heckler.)
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- Cynthia "Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always.""

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-26-2016
  • Publisher: Audible Studios