January 1999

The Atlantic - January 1999

Toby Lester, “What Is the Koran?”; Anthony Walton, “Technology vs. African Americans”; Roger Shattuck, “When Evil is 'Cool'”; Carol Shields, “The Next Best Kiss”; and much more.

  • What Is the Koran?

    Researchers with a variety of academic and theological interests are proposing controversial theories about the Koran and Islamic history, and are striving to reinterpret Islam for the modern world. This is, as one scholar puts it, a "sensitive business"

  • Forgotten Benefactor of Humanity

    Norman Borlaug, the agronomist whose discoveries sparked the Green Revolution, has saved literally millions of lives, yet he is hardly a household name

  • The Liquid Earth

    Landslides and other "ground failures" cost more lives and more money each year than all other natural disasters combined, and their incidence appears to be rising. Nevertheless, the government devotes few resources to their study—and the foolhardy continue to build and live in places likely to be consumed one day by avalanches of mud

  • Going All Out for Chinese

    Some of the best Chinese food in the world is being served in Los Angeles's new Sino-suburbs

  • When Evil is "Cool"

    Our culture, in particular the institution of the university, has contrived over the past few decades to transform sin into a positive: transgression, a term that, as used by postmodern critics, refers to an implied form of greatness.

  • A Cataclysm of Thought

    In 1905 Albert Einstein, a twenty-six-year-old clerk, published five epochal papers. One was later awarded a Nobel Prize. Reading them today, our reviewer is thrilled by their genius

  • Dead Souls

    A prominent demographer warns that the spread of tuberculosis and AIDS in Russia will soon make Western hand-wringing over the pace of Russian "economic reform" seem quaint

  • Technology Versus African-Americans

    From the caravel to the cotton gin, technological innovation has made things worse for blacks. Will the information revolution be any different?

  • The Next Best Kiss

    In another time, in a more exuberant century, sadness was dignified; it was referred to as melancholy; it was described as autumnal in tone and tinged with woodsmoke. It was a real affliction, like color blindness or flat feet

  • Security Blanket

    Security Blanket -- by Guy Billout. The Atlantic Monthly; January 1999; Security Blanket; Volume 283, No. 1; page 87.

  • Senses of Place

    Atlantic contributors reflect on intersections of books and travel.

  • Lost in Post-Reality

    The national entertainment state threatens to transmogrify American life into a soap opera

  • 77 North Washington Street

    TOBY Lester, the author of this month's cover story, "What Is the Koran?," about historical scholarship and Islam, has for a decade cultivated a…

  • The Almanac

    Arts & Letters. This month, after waiting for years, scholars can gain broad access to the voluminous archives of one of the most important…

  • Word Court

    Madversarial. My perspective is that the correct transformation of the noun adversary into an adjective is to form adversative and not adversarial.…


The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."


What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.


Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.


Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.


How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

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