• It Came from Something Awful

  • How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office
  • By: Dale Beran
  • Narrated by: Dale Beran
  • Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (356 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author.

An insider's history of the website at the end of the world, which burst into politics and memed Donald Trump into the White House.  

The internet has transformed the ways we think and act, and by consequence, our politics. The most impactful recent political movements on the far left and right started with massive online collectives of teenagers. Strangely, both movements began on the same website: an anime imageboard called 4chan.org. It Came from Something Awful is the fascinating and bizarre story of 4chan and its profound effect on youth counterculture.  

Dale Beran has observed the website's shifting activities and interests since the beginning. 4chan is a microcosm of the internet itself - simultaneously at the vanguard of contemporary culture, politics, comedy, and language, and a new low for all of the above. It was the original meme machine, mostly frequented by socially awkward and disenfranchised young men in search of a place to be alone together.  

During the recession of the late 2000s, the memes became political. 4chan was the online hub of a leftist hacker collective known as Anonymous and a prominent supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. But within a few short years, the site’s ideology spun on its axis; it became the birthplace and breeding ground of the alt-right. In It Came from Something Awful, Beran uses his insider’s knowledge and natural storytelling ability to chronicle 4chan's strange journey from creating rage-comics to inciting riots to - according to some - memeing Donald Trump into the White House.

©2019 Dale Beran (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about It Came from Something Awful

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This book was way better than it needed to be.

All I was hoping for was a breakdown of what happened. What I got was some of the most astute cultural commentary I've read in years.

13 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

Excellent break down of such a nebulous and incomprehensible faction of our culture that I’m aware of but knew absolutely nothing about. This is important information about a these times when the pace is so quick that history blurrs with the present.

I’m a late 30’s millennial and am more equipped to live a life in the 1500’s. I designed that way. The sensationalism and spectacle of the internet isn’t for me but it being for most effects me every day in ways that can’t be ignored. This book opened my eyes to the posturing that surrounds me, and the ways it effects me, affects my mood, safety and future.

Well written. Easy on the ears. Agreeable in every way.

4 people found this helpful

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Brilliantly captures the dingiest roots of the alt-right movement; will not disappoint!

Absolutely jam-packed with fascinating info and offshoots about internet counterculture, while remaining simultaneously eloquent and borderline poetic. Highly recommend if the earlier inter-workings of internet discourse (spanning to apt-right vitriol) are remotely interesting to you. Highly recommend!

2 people found this helpful

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Should be required reading in the US

So informative. I don't know what the answer for this country is, but a good place to start is understanding how we got here. This book helps with that.

2 people found this helpful

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Probably a better book to read.


It's an important story. Where did all this come from? The Alt-Right, Pizzagate, QAnon, Gamergate. How did these all come about? What part did the White House Chief Strategist play into it? If you looking at American politics and the culture the last 10 years and didn't spend your time in nihilistic online message boards dedicated to Japanese anime?

However, it's not a great audio book. The story is buried under a dense framework of the philosophy/sociology Marcuse and Baudrillard. It's read by the author and every sentence is delivering in an "above all this" voice that makes the listening a chore.

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Must listen!

Great reporting, analysis, storytelling from researcher Dale Beran. Highly recommended listen and I'll probably get the book to read again. Whole new historical perspectives and rabbit holes you didn't know existed. Wonderful book!

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excellent book!

So much information, but written and read in a way that is understandable and riveting. I really appreciated the author's writing style and use of metaphor and simile. I feel like a window to a whole different way of seeing the events of recent history has been opened.

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Written by a user of the boards and you can tell

Written by a self-professed user of SA and you can tell. Good, useful, valuable perspective, but solipsistic without realising just how much exists beyond his perspective (at least that fits the subject matter?).
Would be better if he replaced the pop psychology and self-loathing with research and context instead of wry sarcasm.

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Fine Until the Tumblr Chapter

A very interesting historical analysis until the tumble chapter fairly late in the book. I was confused why it came so late in the relative chronological arrangement of the book (it comes after chapters around 2016 when tumble was much less popular at this time), but the chapter itself is very condescending, myopic, and historical. It gestures towards but glosses over the academic, queer, critical, etc. work that informed the trends he describes seeing in tumblr. Because of this, it seems like tumblr’s ideas are randomly made up by teens vs. an extension of broader philosophical and academic ideas and theories. So they sound ridiculous. This then makes me much more skeptical of his analyses in early chapters. I thought I sensed a strain of somewhat conservative thought early on (e.g. the frequent deadnaming of trans figures) but I have the author the benefit of the doubt. But now I’m not so certain. And I don’t think that then leads to an objective analysis of the main focus of the book.

1 person found this helpful

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A Flash In the Pan!

This book started off great, with the gritty origin story of message boards and obscure internet culture. But it end unceremoniously once the uninteresting stories of Milo and Bannon start taking up the majority of the story. A story of two people as dull as playdough.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Kevin Winston
  • Kevin Winston
  • 06-21-22

Excellent book

Absolutely brilliant, an amazing telling of contemporary internet history. Can't recommend this book enough