Chuck Klosterman
July 29, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Chuck Klosterman, author of Killing Yourself to Live, recommends Jon Ronson’s Them: Adventures With Extremists.

British writer/filmmaker Ronson is the best kind of long-form journalist: inherently curious, relentlessly self-aware, and — perhaps most important — keenly cognizant of his own biases. This 2002 collection of Ronson’s detailed experiences with hardcore conspiracy theorists is often hilarious (his profile of an ex-BBC sportscaster who now insists that most world leaders are literally blood-drinking lizards) but also mildly alarming (his examination of the very real Bilderberg Group). The reason it works so effectively: Ronson never condescends to any of his subjects, nor does he actively marginalize their words or actions. At least on the surface, he takes everyone seriously — so if any of these people seem insane, it’s probably because they can’t help it.

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