A TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEAR
‘Engaging and visceral … Reads like a thriller’ Financial Times
‘Riveting and often deeply disturbing … A punch to the stomach’ Sunday Times
‘Ebner has done some gutsy, thought-provoking research’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Fascinating and important’ Spectator
By day, Julia Ebner works at a counter-extremism think tank, monitoring radical groups from the outside. But two years ago, she began to feel she was only seeing half the picture; she needed to get inside the groups to truly understand them. She decided to go undercover in her spare hours – late nights, holidays, weekends – adopting five different identities, and joining a dozen extremist groups from across the ideological spectrum.
Her journey would take her from a Generation Identity global strategy meeting in a pub in Mayfair, to a Neo-Nazi Music Festival on the border of Germany and Poland. She would get relationship advice from ‘Trad Wives’ and Jihadi Brides and hacking lessons from ISIS. She was in the channels when the alt-right began planning the lethal Charlottesville rally, and spent time in the networks that would radicalise the Christchurch terrorist.
In Going Dark, Ebner takes the reader on a deeply compulsive journey into the darkest recesses of extremist thinking, exposing how closely we are surrounded by their fanatical ideology every day, the changing nature and practice of these groups, and what is being done to counter them.
Ebner has done some gutsy, thought-provoking research **** * Sunday Telegraph * Engaging and visceral ... At times, Ebner's undercover work reads like a thriller ... Going Dark pulls back the facade of invulnerability and remorselessness that extremists promote with glossy propaganda, to understand those they recruit * Financial Times * Riveting and often deeply disturbing ... Her aim is to expose the way extremist groups manipulate their members in the hope that this will prevent others from being radicalised by them. Her book is a call, too, for policy-makers to rethink their response to extremism ... A punch to the stomach * The Sunday Times * Fascinating and important ... Going Dark shows how diverse groups feed off each other, using similar tactics to create social bubbles while exploiting the weakness - or reluctance - of social media firms to control their hate-filled content. It underlines the dangers of ignoring the threat of far-right terror, the normalisation of violence-inciting ideologies and the fearsome power of technology to inspire copycat attacks * Spectator * A chilling, compulsive investigation into online extremist groups * Standpoint * A thorough and shocking exploration of how the internet has facilitated the spread of extremism ... Ebner depicts the vast and rapid spread of online extremism, and the challenge we face in fighting it * City AM * Julia Ebner advises governments and organisations on online extremism and hate speech. To complete her investigations of online fanatics, she assumes a variety of identities and goes undercover in a dozen tech-savvy extremist groups ... Absorbing and intelligent ... Ebner doesn't just analyse these things, she takes real risks to witness them up close. The result is a work that is terrifying because it is non-fiction. * Irish News * Julia Ebner's description of infiltrating extremist groups - and her first hand account of how their ideology is turned into violent action - is chilling ... [she] deserves a medal * Lord Harris of Haringey, House Magazine * Julia Ebner has not only teased out and explained the common denominator in extremist movements, she has done so in a way that is humanising, engrossing and alarming. Going Dark is not just an overdue, almost exhaustive journey of research into the lives of extremists, it is a public service -- Nesrine Malik, author of We Need New Stories A scintillating journey into a secret world that is impacting our everyday lives in ways we are only just starting to grasp. Simultaneously immersive and analytical, Ebner's adventures in the dark crevasses of the internet shows how fascism works today - and what needs to be done to stop it -- Peter Pomerantsev, author of This is Not Propaganda Going Dark makes for terrifying reading, but it's all the more essential for that, exposing just how closely we're surrounded by fanatical ideology every day of our lives, and how that ideology is being countered * Stylist *
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