Things Fell Apart

4.8/5

Critic Rating

A series of strange, unexpected human stories from the history of the culture wars. If you've ever yelled at someone on social media about, say, cancel culture or mask-wearing, then you are a soldier in the culture wars - those everyday battles for dominance between conflicting values.


Critic Reviews

Score: 5

Alice Florence Orr • PodcastReview.org Apr 26, 2024

"(Season 2) Ronson asks thoughtful questions, offering his opinion only when necessary. Often, we don’t know how his subject got involved until near the end, giving us time to empathize with them."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Gregg Stockdale • The Podcast Geek Mar 24, 2024

"What drives people to extreme actions? Things Fell Apart is Jon Ronson's deep dive into the culture war. A world where the usual pillars of society move towards irrationality and call for violent acts."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Edward Wickham • Church Times Jan 26, 2024

"Always insightful, there is, nevertheless, much wishful thinking involved, as Ronson draws a line between a causal event and its result decades later. That line is necessarily dotted, as is the one that attempts to establish connections between events and circumstances in the United States and the UK. …"

See Full Review


Score: 5

Lauren Passell • Podcast The Newsletter Jan 15, 2024

"Season two is also uncomfortable...These stories are brilliantly woven, eye-opening, and telling of huge movements and tiny moments at the exact same time. But go one at a time when you’re in the spirits to be pulled down a bit. "

See Full Review


Score: 5

Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian Jan 13, 2024

"(Season 2)...much of what made the first season so special is here too. There’s the amiable interview style: his scalpel-sharp journalistic mind comes wrapped in disarming, diffident warmth. Having binged the entire season in one go – possibly not a good idea – I found myself feeling sad and frustrated."

See Full Review


Score: 5

James Marriot • The Times UK Jan 11, 2024

"(Season 2) Ronson navigates these hidden complexities brilliantly. As an interviewer he is sympathetic, wise and funny. Plus he’s combative when he needs to be. Things Fell Apart is exhilarating proof that nothing is more interesting than the complicated truth."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Charlotte Runcie • Telegraph UK Jan 10, 2024

"(Season 2) Listening to him can be a disarming experience, then, but the effect is certainly striking. ...combined with the talents of producer Sarah Shebbeare, this exquisitely put-together series repeatedly performs a remarkable magic trick... combined with the talents of producer Sarah Shebbeare, this exquisitely put-together series repeatedly performs a remarkable magic trick...utterly compelling, sensitive and troubling."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Eliana Dockterman • Time May 26, 2022

"He(Ronson) manages to outline our social ills without losing the humanity of his subjects. Somehow, he manages to find interviewees that are either inspiring or loathsome, depending on your political bent, but universally fascinating and complicated. The moral of this and the podcast’s other episodes are clear: nuance is lost in outrage."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Mara Davis • Paste Magazine Jan 11, 2022

"Jon Ronson does a brilliant job of rewinding topics like abortion, sex education, gay liberation and school curriculums. This series finds the strange and sometimes heartwarming examples of how things came to be. It’s a beautiful learning experience."

See Full Review


Score: 3

Mark Gorman • Mark Gorman Blog Dec 20, 2021

"I’m a big fan of Jon Ronson, having read several of his books and his two previous podcasts...It’s essentially an exploration of what he calls Culture Wars, but it’s not massively clear who the ‘wars’ are between or what he means by this. I’m feeling Ronson has maybe hit a bit of a dry stretch in his career and this podcast is amongst his weakest ever work. At times turgid and often uncertain as to the overall point he is trying to make. It’s all just a bit dull, frankly."

See Full Review


Score: 4.9

Lauren Passell • Podcast The Newsletter Dec 20, 2021

"Each of these stories will turn what you believe about America and its values on its head. It’s these teensy, seemingly random actions from the past that have defined who we are today, and much like The Butterfly Effect, you have to wonder where we’d be without them."

See Full Review


Score: 4.8

Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian Nov 13, 2021

"Ronson is also a brilliant interviewer, asking the toughest of questions in an amiable, amused way, disarming his interviewees and allowing them to put their own point of view. Because Things Fell Apart is a radio show, there are time restrictions, and each episode is cut and polished to perfection; carved and crafted, like a teeny Japanese netsuke sculpture. Every element matters, and this is a thoroughly satisfying listen."

See Full Review


Score: 5

James Marriot • The Times UK Nov 11, 2021

"Ronson, sensibly, goes looking for the culture wars’ pre-Twitter history. It’s all so bleak, isn’t it: the bad faith, the pettiness, the meanness, the casual cruelty. Bleak but fascinating."

See Full Review


Score: 5

Vince Mancini • Uproxx Jan 6, 2021

"It’s refreshing to hear someone simply back up and try to take a broader view. Asking “how can we understand this?”...Things Fell Apart is humane and engaging in all the ways Jon Ronson stories generally are,...They’re fine with just letting podcasts be radio, rather than trying to create some fancy new style of soundscape like American podcasts sometimes can."

See Full Review


More In Society

Dear Hollywood

Dear Hollywood

Go to Podcast

High Low with EmRata

High Low with EmRata

EmRata, Somethin’ Else, Sony Music Entertainment

Score: 3.8

Go to Podcast

Kerning Cultures

Kerning Cultures

Kerning Cultures Network

Score: 4.6

Go to Podcast