September 2008

James Fallows assesses the debating skills of McCain and Obama; Joshua Green offers a look at some revealing Hillary Clinton campaign memos; Lisa Margonelli on how termites could save us from global warming; Robert D. Kaplan on Burma; Caitlin Flanagan reflects on Patty Hearst's kidnapping and '70s-era Berkeley; Christopher Hitchens on Norman Mailer; Andrew Sullivan on gay marriage; Corby Kummer tries cooking school in the Greek Islands; and much more.


Rhetorical Questions

Who will win the presidential debates? What does each candidate’s use of words say about how he would govern as president? Can Obama’s rhetorical skills lift him to the heights of Lincoln, FDR, and Reagan—or will his speechmaking do him in? After watching all 47 (!) of the primary season’s debates, our correspondent has the answers—and some harsh criticism for the moderators.

Reconcilable Differences

Obama and McCain both say they want to usher in a new, less divisive brand of politics. Which of them has the better chance? Is bipartisanship still possible?

The Front-Runner’s Fall

Hillary Clinton’s campaign was undone by a clash of personalities more toxic than anyone imagined. E-mails and memos—published here for the first time—reveal the backstabbing and conflicting strategies that produced an epic meltdown.
Memos: A complete index to the internal communications referenced in "The Front-Runner's Fall"

Gut Reactions

The termite’s stomach, of all things, has become the focus of large-scale scientific investigations. Could the same properties that make the termite such a costly pest help us solve global warming? [Web only: Video: "How to Hunt for Termites"]

Lifting the Bamboo Curtain

As China and India vie for power and influence, Burma has become a strategic battleground. Four Americans with deep ties to this fractured, resource-rich country illuminate its current troubles, and what the U.S. should do to shape its future.
From the Archives: A look back at a 70-page supplement on Burma—covering arts, culture, politics, and more—written mostly by Burmese and published by The Atlantic in 1958.


My Big Fat Straight Wedding

What’s the difference between homosexuals and heterosexuals? In matters outside the bedroom, American culture and law are at last acknowledging that there is none.

The Calendar

Slightly Older Kids on the Block; marriage by decree; Harry Potter bares all

Primary Sources

Dread Pirate bin Laden; more than five for fighting; schizo in Gitmo

The Great Disruption

How scarcity, affluence, and biofuel production are wreaking havoc on food prices

Space Invaders

How preparations for tomorrow’s satellite wars could ruin life as we know it today


A Bit of Punctuation

Editor’s Choice: A new book showcases the jewelry of Ted Mueh­ling, whose earnest, untrendy work reaches the height of stylishness.

Girl, Interrupted

How Patty Hearst’s kidnapping reflected and ravaged American culture in the 1970s

Master of Conventions

Norman Mailer’s political journal of the summer of ‘68

Cover to Cover

A guide to additional releases: How the Reds won Russia; food in the Depression; Nigeria's oil curse; and more

Heart of Darwin

The places in and around London that shaped the naturalist as a young man
Sidebar: Statues of two 19th-century rivals battle it out in London's Natural History Museum

Dining with Dionysus

A cooking school in the Greek islands shows that simplicity plus necessity equals great cuisine. [Web only: Slideshow: "The Grecian Formula"]

Word Court

Wrong time to write right; expressing discretion


Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


What Makes a Story Great?

What makes a story great? The storytellers behind House of CardsThis American LifeThe Moth, and more reflect on the creative process.


Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

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


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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