by David Frum
Frum looks at the rising COVID cases among American rural areas and those that are hesitant to vaccination. He writes that "Compassion should always be the first reaction to vaccine hesitation. Maybe some unvaccinated people have trouble getting time off work to deal with side effects, maybe they are disorganized, maybe they are just irrationally anxious." But he wonders when and how this patience will end.
21 hours ago
by Caitlin Flanagan
In this piece of opinion, Flanagan looks at the Univerity of California's decision to remove standardized testing as an entry mechanism to its schools. She concludes that this decision is ultimately harmful to poor and working class families, who often make it into the system because of their standardized test scores rather than college-prep classes that don't exist in their schools.
4 days ago
by Alexander Manshel, Laura B. McGrath, and J. D. Porter
In this data-driven piece of reporting, the authors attempt to show how film and television influence literary publishing. They conclude that having a piece of writing adapted to the screen astronomically helps sales and reviews, but they also believe that it's not that different from the past, citing writers like Faulkner and Dickens who wrote for the theater as well.
10 days ago
by George Packer
George Packer writes that over the past four decades, "four narratives have taken turns exercising influence": "Free America" (conservatives), "Smart America" (metropolitan capitalists), "Real America" (rural populists), and "Just America" (social democrats). He believes that the country is divided down the middle with "Smart and Just on one side, Free and Real on the other."
13 days ago
by Kate Julian
Julian looks at the history of alcohol consumption in the United States, from the beer-drinking Pilgrims to the premade-cocktail-drinking office workers stuck at home during the pandemic. She attempts to give an objective view of the question: how much drinking is too much drinking?
19 days ago
by McKay Coppins
Although there have been a number of controversial political figures in the past couple years, Brett Kavanaugh remains high on the list. But Coppins reveals in this biography that before his nomination and hearings for the Supreme Court and his "descent into villainy that fall," Kavanaugh was an incredibly respected judge and across both sides of the isle and in his local community. Coppins looks at how the public perspective of him changed and questions how that might affect his future decisions in the Court.
54 days ago
by Clint Smith
Smith travels to monuments across the southern United States commemorating the Civil War. He attends a demonstration of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and contemplates the relationship of nostalgia and historical truth in the "myth of the Lost Cause." He writes that "it is not a public story we all share, but an intimate one, passed down like an heirloom, that shapes [White Southerners'] sense of who they are."
54 days ago
by Annie Lowrey
Lowrey writes a short profile of Andrew Yang, who was previously a Democratic candidate for the 2020 Presidential Primary, but who is now running to be the mayor of New York City. She reviews both his quirky demeanor that has captivated tons of New Yorkers, as well as his policies that seem to be receiving quite a bit of support.
58 days ago
by Brendan I. Koerner
John Patterson was abducted in 1974 while serving as an American diplomat in Mexico. Ransom letters were received from the "People's Liberation Army of Mexico," a group that nobody had previously heard about. Although it seemed like a typical occurrence that was rising in frequency those days, it turned out to be something else entirely. Koerner writes about this gripping story half a century later, where all the details are exposed for a satisfying conclusion.
58 days ago
by Grame Wood
Wood review the new book, "Blindfold: A Memoir of Capture, Torture, and Enlightenment" (Scribner) by Theo Padnos. Padnos crossed from Turkey into Syria as a freelance writer in 2012 and was subsequently taken hostage by members of al-Qaeda, where he was beaten and tortured until released almost two years later.
58 days ago
by Sarah Smarsh
Smarsh reviews two new books, "The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Bortherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown" (Viking) by Michael Patrick F. Smith and "Up to Heaven and Down to Hell: Fracking, Freedom, and Community in an American Town" (Princeton University Press) by Colin Jerolmack. Each look deeply at the oil industry from the perspective of the workers and the communities surrounding them.
58 days ago
by Liza Mundy
Mundy reviews two new books, "Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight" (Random House) by Julia Sweig and "The Triumph of Nancy Reagan" (Simon & Schuster) by Karen Tumulty. She looks at the backgrounds and roles of the two first ladies and contextualizes them within the modern era, drawing comparisons to Doug Emhoff and Jill Biden.
58 days ago
by Melissa Fay Greene
Stories are not just for entertainment; the stories we tell and how we tell them can influence our memory of the past, and therefore how we approach the future. Fay Greene weaves together narratives of people hit hard by the pandemic and academic research that may give us insight into how these events will affect our collective psyche. This year has been a difficult one; the questions now is how will it influence us going forwards?
65 days ago
by David Treuer
Treuer's argument is exactly as his title implies: the United States federal government should transfer the ownership and management of National Parks to a "consortium of federally recognized tribes." The lands on which the Parks reside often have a bloody history, with Native Americans forced out of their homelands either by political pressure or outright war. Treuer argues that "transferring the parks to the tribes would protect them from partisan back-and-forth in Washington" and ensure the America's natural gem remains strong and a symbol for what the future might bring.
66 days ago
by Caitlin Dickerson
Dickerson tries to pick apart the adage that America is a "nation of immigrants" by arguing that it has clearly preferred immigrants of certain races and countries throughout its history. She says that creating inclusive immigration policies would "not be returning to traditional American values," as many politicians claim, "but establishing new ones."
67 days ago
by Paul Yoon
Maksim, a sixteen year old boy and the narrator of the story, lives on a farm in the most eastern coast of Russia, northwest of the Sea of Japan across from the island of Sakhalin. The farm is full of poor immigrants from all over the region, all speaking different languages. He was left alone with his uncle, who has just died - or rather, murdered under suspicious circumstances. Maksim sets off on a journey to find his father, now a guard at "the camp" at Sakhalin, and to say two things: to tell his father that he doesn't need him and to ask if there is anybody else in his family.
83 days ago
by Laura Shapiro
Shapiro reviews Sam Sifton's new book, "The New York Times Cooking No-Recipe Recipes." Sifton is a New York Times editor "who masterminds NYT Cooking" and sought to write a cookbook that lessens the need for exact measurements and champions improvisation.
91 days ago
by Judith Shulevitz
Shulevitz reviews Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel, "Klara and the Sun," a work of science fiction following the narrative of a child's "Artificial Friend." Shelevitz paints the book as both entertaining to read and a cutting satire of modern society. By following the perspective of a robot, it also looks deeply at the peculiarities of human nature and emotions.
92 days ago
by Helen Lewis
Lewis reviews Jordan Peterson's new book, "Beyond Oder: 12 More Rules for Life." Peterson initially became famous for his honest pursuit to help young males form their identity in a culture that is rejecting the traditional characteristics of manhood (Peterson rejects them himself). But Peterson soon became part of the larger culture war of "cancel culture" and "freedom of speech" that seems to grip opposite sides of our polity. Fame and attention led Peterson down a windy road, and Lewis reviews how his actions and writing influenced public debate.
93 days ago
by Mark Bowden
Bowden, the author of the wildly famous books "Black Hawk Down" and "Killing Pablo," writes a short history of how Special Ops has taken a central role in military intervention on the global stage. Although it occupies only 2% of the defense budget, Special Ops has been the driving force behind some of the most high-profile operations in recent years. Bowden outlines its roots with Ronald Raegan and its culmination in Barack Obama's Presidency. Although he predicts it will "likely remain a primary way America projects force" in the 21st century, it clearly has its own set of risks and shortcomings.
96 days ago
by Caitlin Flanagan
There are over 1,600 independent schools across the United States. Although they are not uniquely American, they are often representative of our freedom of religion, individualism, and liberty. But in this piece of reporting, Flanagan shows how they are evolving into a mechanism for the wealthy elite to ensure their kids have direct access to the nation's best colleges. America proclaims itself to be a meritocracy, where grit and effort will secure success, but the existence of private schools alludes to a much grimmer reality.
97 days ago
by Anne Applebaum and Peter Pomerantsev
In this article, Applebaum and Pomerantsev analyze how the internet changed from an open environment of small communities and networks to a hierarchical structure where the vast majority of traffic passes through a few monopoly-like companies, whose algorithms determine what their users want. They look at the rise of disinformation and how the current regulatory environment removes any liability from the platforms that host them. They then propose a few ways we could think of a different internet, with companies regulated and held accountable for their side-effects, as well as ideas on how to rebuild the "social sphere" of our democracy.
98 days ago
by Meghan O'Rourke
The immediate effects of COVID-19 have been very apparent. But there's another side to the infection that can last way after the emergency room. O'Rourke interviews a number of doctors researching the reasons for what she labels "long COVID" and what that means for medicine more broadly.
109 days ago
by James Parker
Philip Roth is among the greatest American novelists. Although he died just three years ago, Blake Bailey has published a comprehensive biography, personally selected by Roth himself. Parker distills the main points out in this review and reflects on Roth's writing.
109 days ago
by Cullen Murphy
"The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" has made us constantly question if our own civilization holds the same fate as Rome. In this article, Murphy references the book and draws parallels between the decline of democracy then and now. She suggests that the capitol attack won't bring down our civilization, but that maybe it's a symptom of change that will be difficult to reverse.
109 days ago
by Rania Abouzeid
It seemed like a sick, existential joke when a massive explosion went off in downtown Beirut in the summer of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was sending the globe into a crisis not seen for years. Abouzeid had an apartment severely damaged by the blast. In this article, she gives a short backstory on Lebanon's government and how its inaction both caused the blast and resulted in a sluggish response in its wake.
110 days ago
by Amanda Mull
As businesses and organizations across the country fight with the loss of customers and patrons, they had to open possibilities for other revenue streams. Curiously, even as clothing retailers have been hit "harder than bars and restaurants," many turned to making T-shirts. Mull believes that the T-shirt acts as a cultural symbol to profess what we care about, but that no matter how interesting they may be, efforts like these simply "can't get a business through a pandemic."
110 days ago
by Shadi Hamid
In the opening article to this issue, Hamid argues that as religion has declined significantly in American in the last two decades, an "ideological intensity" has risen. Political debates have turned into "metaphysical questions," which put two sides against each other. Both sides, however, believe they are fighting over the true meaning of America. Hamid believes we have transformed our loyalty to our religious believes into loyalty to America as a nation.
114 days ago
by Peter Brannen
In this fascinating geological history of the Earth, Brannen discusses how different levels of CO2 in the atmosphere changed sea levels, ice caps, deserts, rainforests, and life itself. Although it is a scientific history of our world, it's also a stark warning for the future that may await us.
130 days ago
by Vann R. Newkirk II
Newkirk begins his article with a letter to his mother, who was born a year before the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and who died in late 2020. He wonders at the progress she saw in her lifetime, and the steps backwards that were also taken. He then transitions to a history of how the Act was won and challenged throughout the past century, as well as how we can secure voting rights and a just democracy for all Americans into the future.
131 days ago
by Clint Smith
Following the abolition of slavery, the Federal Writers' Project sent people across the country to interview former slaves. It was an ambitious project, meant to build the historical record and understand what life was like under slavery. But it also had its downfalls; family members of former slave masters were sometimes sent to do the interviews. Smith argues that no matter its pitfalls, it was ultimately a virtuous effort, and we should replicate it today to make sure we document the generations that lived through the Civil Rights movement.
133 days ago
by Jerry Useem
The term "nervous breakdown" seems to come from another era of American history, during the drastic changes in modern life of the 20th century. But Useem suggests that in today's world with a global pandemic, wildfires, home schooling, strenuous elections, and everything sent instantaneously to the phone in our pockets, we might need to bring the term back and learn how to disconnect from our obligations for just a little while.
141 days ago
by Te-Ping Chen
Xaiolei left her family and her small town in China when she was only sixteen to move to Shanghai. She now works in a flower shop in an upscale neighborhood of the city. She is intrigued by a wealthy man who repeatedly comes in with the same order. One day, he leaves an expensive fountain pen in the store, so Xaiolei embarks on an excursion to return it to him.
147 days ago
by Anna Deavere Smith
Deavere Smith recounts her own story of going off to Beaver College in the 1960s, a historically all white women's school in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She writes about her experiences in the midst of affirmative action, what her relationship to other black women at the school was like, and how it all relates to the uncertainty of today.
158 days ago
by Derek Thompson
In his review of James Suzanne's "Work: A History of How We Spend Our Time", Thompson breaks down our current minds into "two modes of thinking: productivity mind and leisure mind." He emphasizes that leisure defines how fulfilling we see our lives in the modern world. It has changed drastically over time, has Suzman outlines in his book.
163 days ago
by Barbara Demick
Demick reviews Yang Jisheng's new book "The World Turned Upside Down: A History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution." The author had previously published "Tombstone," which looked at the mishaps of the Great Leap Forward coinciding with the Western view of Chinese history by revealing confidential information that he had access to because of his role in government.
163 days ago
by McKay Coppins
Raised as a Mormon and deeply connected with the Church's modern dilemmas, Coppins provides a short history lesson of the Mormon Church framed for the modern day. He contemplates its unique place in American culture and politics, its struggle with race and identity, and sets the stage for it's possible futures in the coming years.
163 days ago
by Ed Yong
The COVID-19 global pandemic has brought an unprecedented focus from the scientific community towards a single goal: understanding and stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus. Within mere months, we had began to understand SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease, which led to incredibly fast vaccine production. But a hyper-focus on the pandemic has also caused other research to be ignored. Only time will tell how this affects us in the future.
199 days ago
by Rachel Monroe
The world of TikTok is growing, fueled by adolescents and teens that spend hours a day on its platform as both consumers and creators. It originally started off with less of a "celebrity" vibe than many of the other social medias, like followers on Instagram for example, but the popularity of a couple teens with simple dance videos, such as Charli D'Amelio, has changed the face of the platform. Is it a completely new form of entertainment or is it simply exposing the teen culture than has been here all along?
211 days ago
by Graeme Wood
"Megahistories" are growing in popularity, Authors like Jared Diamond and Yuval Noah Harari have published publicly acclaimed histories that span various disciplines, incorporating techniques and methods from the natural sciences. In this article, Wood interviews Peter Turchin, another author in this sphere that is gaining an audience - whether they agree with him or not. Turchin believes that history is cyclical and uses data to show that we are heading into a dark future.
234 days ago
by Francesca Mari
Mari reflects on the rise and fall of her father's small, independent business. After working in the repair shop and sales floor of Harmony Audio Visual, he became co-owner and eventually bought out the founder, making the business his own. Through reliable customers and great customer service, his shop endured various federal administrations and contradicting pieces of legislation. But the current global pandemic and economic crisis has closed many small business across the country, while large conglomerates and monopolies have increased their earnings. Will America be able to preserve what was once the bedrock of our nation?
235 days ago
by Erika Christakis
Christakis argues that schooling during the pandemic has merely exacerbated issues that existed within our educational system before the virus made its way across the world. Although there are serious implications of remote learning for students coming from difficult financial backgrounds, Christakis has evidence that some students are much better of with this less stressful form of learning. Can we use what we are learning about education now to fix our system coming out of the crisis?
237 days ago
by Derek Thompson
How cities can provide running water, electricity, transportation, and almost anything we can imagine to millions of its inhabitants is incredible. However, Thompson makes it clear that this was not always the case; throughout the process of industrialization in the 19th century, cities were hotspots for disease and unable to respond efficiently to natural disasters. Today, we are seeing cities that are struggling with COVID-19, and maybe we need a new way to design and think about cities for public health as populations continue to grow.
294 days ago
by George Packer
If the demand for change stemming from the COVID-19 crisis and the Black Lives Matter movement are symbolic of a shift in the voting majority, then Joe Biden may win the November elections. If that's the case, Packer argues that he may be the person who can lead America into another Progressive age. He cites the three eras of reform in the 20th century (the reaction to industrialization, the New Deal, and the Civil Rights movement) and argues that now could become another great era.
300 days ago
by Danielle Allen
We are all well-aware of the Constitution's three-fifths compromise: namely that in order to get the support of Southern States, the founders decided to count slaves as "three fifths" of a person when counting the population of a state - crucial when voting time came around. Danielle Allen's great-great-grandfather was a slave subject to this absurd rule, but she loves the Constitution nonetheless. How could this be?
302 days ago
by Adam Serwer
We are on the precipice of a new wave of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as racial justice more broadly across the country. Serwer takes this moment in history and compares it to a set of similar moments in the past, specifically the end if the 19th century during the Reconstruction movement. Will we learn from both the achievements and mistakes if that era to build a better and more just world in the current one?
303 days ago
by Adam Harris
A wave of Black mayor's in Southern cities are taking big steps in achieving long-needed justice. COVID-19 and protests around the murders of various Black people at the hand of police officers, most notably George Floyd, have opened unprecedented moments for change. But often, the mayors are up against State governor who look to stop and dismantle any structural changes and preserve the old order.
304 days ago
by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Clinton warns that the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing a step back in women's rights, which can be seen in the fact that more women have lost their jobs than men since the start of the pandemic - even given that women are more likely than men to do low-wage work. She reflects on a speech she gave as first lady, and pushes for radical change.
304 days ago