The Elephant in the Room: A Journey into the Trump Campaign and the “Alt-Right” by Jon Ronson

Gonzo journalist Jon Ronson has gone into some strange lions’ dens in the past, investigating the deep end of everything from extremists to psychopaths.  Perhaps it was inevitable that his path should bring him into this particular flavor of crazy.

The surprising bit for me was how he ended up here.  It seems that he had a hand in accidentally starting the career of popular conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who also happens to have access to Donald Trump’s inner circle.  Gee, color me surprised by that revelation.  This book follows Ronson’s attempt to rekindle his damaged relations with Jones in an attempt to get a peek inside that circle, and what he learned as a result of sticking his finger in the proverbial light socket.

While not Ronson’s best book, and definitely one of his shorter ones, it is timely.  With just under two weeks until the 2016 presidential election, this one’s going to generate some quick sales and then probably die off, and I’m sure he expects that to some extent.  I suspect he hopes he’ll reach his audience with some kind of a “Hail Mary” warning against Trump, but I feel like this one’s a case of preaching to the converted.  It rehashes a lot of what we already know just from keeping up with the news, and it doesn’t go deep by any stretch of imagination.  And the focus isn’t Trump.  It’s largely about Alex Jones, so the idea is that when you see how scary his followers are (which include Trump), you’ll have a completely different metric for how to measure Trump himself.

Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times and make sure your tinfoil hat is secured.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

3 stars


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