This is the story of a Tulsa debutante who, as a result of a series of unlikely and often very bad life choices she made in the ‘90s, found herself in the midst of one of the most terrible crimes ever to take place in America. Thirty years ago, award-winning journalist Jon Ronson stumbled on the mystery of Carol Howe—a charismatic, wealthy former debutante turned white supremacist spokeswoman turned undercover informant. In 1995, Carol was spying on Oklahoma’s neo-Nazis for the government just when Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. Ever since then, Carol has haunted the imaginations of survivors and investigators because of a rumor that had begun to swirl: If her information had only been listened to, she could have prevented the worst domestic terrorist attack in US history. The question mystified Ronson. In The Debutante, he embarks on an investigative journey to seek the truth about the woman who grew up in a world of privilege and opportunity and whose teenage rebellion spiraled out of control, leading her to extreme radicalization. The Debutante takes a closer look at Carol’s world, where truth is shrouded and seldom guaranteed. Rare court tapes, diary entries, undercover ATF surveillance audio, and interviews with those who crossed paths with Carol depict a complex woman whose motivations have been hypothesized about for decades. With curiosity and insight at the forefront of his work, Ronson delivers a new perspective on the extraordinary story of Carol Howe. ONLY ON AMAZON MUSIC or AUDIBLE
Eoghan O'Sullivan • Irish Examiner • May 2, 2023
"The Debutante, like Ronson’s previous work, slowly reveals conspiracy theories relating to the bombing such as ‘John Doe 2’, a possible suspect who the police seemed to just stop investigating. The Debutante flows like an audiobook, with no interruptions."
Anna Leszkiewicz • New Statesman • Apr 26, 2023
"So far, so racist. Unambiguously so, you might think. But at some point, Howe supposedly turned informant on those in her orbit. Through interviews with experts, investigators and former members of these groups, one thing becomes clear: white supremacy thrives in packs. Even the lone wolf is never truly “alone”."
Patricia Nicol • The Times UK • Apr 23, 2023
"A new podcast series from Ronson is always noteworthy. Told across six chapters, in just over three hours, Ronson’s latest story is as much a fascinating physical and cultural journey into America’s restive recent past as an effort to unravel competing conspiracy theories. As a warrior for the truth, the fey-voiced Ronson cuts a singular figure: inquisitive and open-hearted rather than abrasive. But he gets results. …"
Fiona Sturges • Financial Times • Apr 18, 2023
"...in his new podcast The Debutante, Ronson, 55, picks up Howe’s narrative, tracking down those who knew her with his customary rigour and thoughtfulness."
Jude Rogers • The Guardian • Apr 15, 2023
"...his tone as always one of beguiling, often unnerving, childlike wonder...His wide-eyed approach to his subjects continues to work because he never sensationalises them and because of his rigour – he tracks down Howe’s old friends and ex-boyfriends and archive recordings to dig into her story. He also leaves some threads tantalisingly untied, respecting the audience’s ability to retain information. I can confirm the first two are brilliant."
Hollie Richardson • The Guardian • Apr 13, 2023
"Jon Ronson hosts another addictive series...A fascinated Ronson speaks to those whose lives collided with Howe’s..."