Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation

Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation Review

From a rising star at The New Yorker , a deeply immersive chronicle of how the optimistic entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley set out to create a free and democratic internet—and how the cynical propagandists of the alt-right exploited that freedom to propel the extreme into the mainstream.

For several years, Andrew Marantz, a New Yorker staff writer, has been embedded in two worlds. The first is the world of social-media entrepreneurs, who, acting out of naïvete and reckless ambition, upended all traditional means of receiving and transmitting information. The second is the world of the people he calls "the gate crashers"—the conspiracists, white supremacists, and nihilist trolls who have become experts at using social media to advance their corrosive agenda. Antisocial ranges broadly—from the first mass-printed books to the trending hashtags of the present; from secret gatherings of neo-Fascists to the White House press briefing room—and traces how the unthinkable becomes thinkable, and then how it becomes reality. Combining the keen narrative detail of Bill Buford's Among the Thugs and the sweep of George Packer's The Unwinding, Antisocial reveals how the boundaries between technology, media, and politics have been erased, resulting in a deeply broken informational landscape—the landscape in which we all now live. Marantz shows how alienated young people are led down the rabbit hole of online radicalization, and how fringe ideas spread—from anonymous corners of social media to cable TV to the President's Twitter feed. Marantz also sits with the creators of social media as they start to reckon with the forces they've unleashed. Will they be able to solve the communication crisis they helped bring about, or are their interventions too little too late?

Title:Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation

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    Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation Reviews

  • Jenna

    If you're somehow unfamiliar with the alt-right and their extreme messages, you'll find this book a good place to start learning about them. I initially found this book interesting, as the author got ...

  • Neil Griffin

    Right before the election, I was sharing a meal with one of the smarter people I know. He's a little younger and a bit more online than I am, so sometimes our conversations go to places that surprise ...

  • Murtaza

    This is a difficult book to review. Depending on ones level of prior familiarity with the subject the author is discussing, it will feel either familiar or revelatory. For me it probably fell more in ...

  • Sandra

    We are presented with a torturously detailed narration centered around the usual suspects, Deplorable Twitter personalities, and written by (who better than) someone who truly detests them, and is not...

  • Mehrsa

    I've been reading a lot of these exposes recently as we all "normies" or the "un-redpilled" all of a sudden discover this community of the alt-right. This one is among the better of these books becaus...

  • Radiantflux

    24th book of 2020.This is the story of jewish Brooklyn New Yorker writer Andrew Marantz's three years hanging out with various online influencers of the Alt-Right. While the book was excellent at fles...

  • James

    When I first read Marantz' "The Virologist" four years ago I was immediately hooked. He became one of the New Yorker writers I was most interested in, along with Hua Hsu, Jia Tolentino, and Emily Nuss...

  • Meg - A Bookish Affair

    Great book but very frightening. With more information doesn't necessarily come more informed people. ...

  • Jon-Erik

    This is the book you want to read about the on-line underground.It is superior in everyday to the rantish Troll Nation or the too personal, too disorganized Troll Hunting. Trolls are just part of the ...

  • Mindo'ermatter

    No question the author personally struggled with this book, which combines several short loosely related pieces (some adapted from either previously published articles or as article preparations). The...