July/August 2004

James Fallows, "When George Meets John"; Joshua Green, "Dumb and Dumber"; Mark Bowden, "Pompadour With a Monkey Wrench"; Joshua Micah Marshall, "Kerry Faces the World"; Robert D. Kaplan, "Five Days in Fallujah"; Benjamin Wittes, "Enemy Americans"; William F. Buckley, Jr., "Aweigh"; P. J. O'Rourke, "I Agree With Me"; fiction by Robert Olen Butler; and much more.

The Atlantic - July/August 2004

Also in this issue

Letters to the editor

Other articles in this issue


What you know if you've seen the show live...




[with audio]


When George Meets John

A viewer's guide to this fall's version of "asymmetric warfare"— the presidential debates.

Dumb and Dumber

Why are campaign commercials so bad?

Pompadour With a Monkey Wrench

Al Sharpton's goal has never been the presidency; he wants to become the leader of Black America. Problem is, that job no longer exists.

Kerry Faces the World

What would a John Kerry foreign policy look like? In some ways a lot like one the current President's father could endorse

Five Days in Fallujah

Our correspondent accompanied the first unit of Marines to assault Fallujah after the murder and mutilation last April of four American civilians.
Interviews: Journalist Robert D. Kaplan joined U.S. Marines as they stormed Fallujah, and returned to share his impressions

Enemy Americans

Jose Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi are American citizens. The Bush Administration has claimed the right to imprison them indefinitely without charge or trial, on the grounds that they are "enemy combatants" in the war on terror. Does a new kind of war require new kinds of laws?


A master and commander decides, after a lifetime on the water, that he will no longer go down to the sea


Lessons of Abu Ghraib

One shocking thing about the photographs is that for some people they weren't shocking

Plan of Attack

The United States is not just facing an insurgency in Iraq—it's facing "netwar," the newest kind

The Pragmatist

The UN's Lakhdar Brahimi understands that neither peace nor justice may be possible in Iraq

Olympic Elite

The world's most athletic nations

I Agree With Me

When was the last time a conservative talk show changed a mind?

Saddam’s Fate

Since his capture, last December, Saddam Hussein has been held by the U.S. military. He is no doubt wondering about his eventual fate, and so are others.

Primary Sources

A report card on Iraq; why gambling is good for business; the Muslim passion for Mel Gibson; winners and losers in the modern marriage pool


New & Noteworthy

Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom, by Rhys Isaac; Hatchet Jobs, by Dale Peck; The North American Prairie, by Stephen R. Jones and Ruth Carol Cushman; The Crow Indians, by Robert H. Lowie; War Under Heaven, by Gregory Evans Dowd; Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?, by David Fromkin; The First World War, by Hew Strachan; Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy, by David Stevenson; The Killing Ground, by Tim Travers

The Kids Are All Right

Teens aren't as warped as some of the books about them

The Old Man

Even for educated readers, Leon Trotsky survives as part kitsch and part caricature. But the reissue of a majestic biography reveals him as he always was—a prophetic moralist

Odd Couple

Susan Sontag and Pauline Kael: a curious combination

Laff Tracks

Four Souls, by Louise Erdrich.

The Terrors

One of the foremost scholars of Soviet history assesses an ambitious new biography of Stalin


Wonders Never Cease

Updating Philon of Byzantium's famous list

Organize Your Life!

The modern condition is to be overwhelmed by everything. Now comes David Allen, who can teach even you how to stop stewing and start doing

One Swell Party

Cole Porter's real secret was not the gay life a new film biography will highlight. It was how he made his songs

The One in White

"Captain," I say, "you've got about two hundred Mexican soldiers waiting for you in the plaza."
Interviews: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler talks about tapping into different points of view and writing "from the place where you dream."


Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?


Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.


The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air



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