The Mistress of Sydenham Plantation

The famous novelist’s tale of an elderly Southerner, oblivious to what the war had cost her.

The Case of George Dedlow

An absurdist short story about a Union doctor—which many Atlantic readers erroneously believed at the time to be nonfiction.

The Brothers

Set in a wartime hospital, a short story about a family with a poisonous secret

A True Story, Word for Word as I Heard It

The Man Without a Country

The famous short story about an Army officer who learns, too late, to love his country

The Story of a Year

One of the earliest pieces published by the author, who was 21 years old at the time

Cover to Cover

The Glory of Oprah

Why the “talkinest child” understands women and the power of television better than anyone else

The Greatest Gossip

Plus a history of the Bank of England

The Rockford Style

Eastwood? McQueen? Why James Garner is the real star of his era.

Books of the Year 2011

The Atlantic’s literary editor picks the five best of the crop.

Night Sky


The Anti–James Bond

A new film adaptation of John leCarré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy prompts a look at the various incarnations of his greatest character, George Smiley.

Police and Poetry

New York's crime drop; T. S. Eliot's dark days

Family Portrait

The secret of Modern Family’s runaway success: it’s just a sitcom.

Maple Gall

“Your Total Strike Feeling”

Rather than the slackers or ironic celebrants, bowling camp attracts the strivers.

Kansas City Bets on Culture

If you build a shiny new performing-arts center, will the creative class come?


Ladies’ Man

David Lodge’s new novel of H. G. Wells’s very active love life

Everything Old

Our obsession with musical nostalgia is strangling pop.

Woman by the Way

The Shame of College Sports

A litany of scandals in recent years have made the corruption of college sports constant front-page news. We profess outrage each time we learn that yet another student-athlete has been taking money under the table. But the real scandal is the very structure of college sports, wherein student-athletes generate billions of dollars for universities and private companies while earning nothing for themselves. Here, a leading civil-rights historian makes the case for paying college athletes—and reveals how a spate of lawsuits working their way through the courts could destroy the NCAA.

Great American Cynic

Ambrose Bierce’s astringent prose style reflects the severity of his vision.


Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more


Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.


What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world



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