January/February 2012

American manufacturing and the jobs crisis, Robert D. Kaplan on John J. Mearsheimer, James Parker on R.E.M., Caitlin Flanagan on Joan Didion, and more

The Atlantic - January/February 2012

Editor's Note

The Anxiety Economy

In an age of globalization, it's a wonder we make anything in the United States at all.


The Conversation

Responses and reverberations


Making It in America

The story of Standard Motor Products, a family- run manufacturer in Queens, illuminates what it takes to survive in today’s economy—and why the jobs crisis will be so hard to solve.
State of the Union 2012: A special report on politics, jobs, and the economy

America at Work

Photographs from a year of economic uncertainty. (Selected by Alan Taylor)

Torturer’s Apprentice

The sickening parallels between today’s interrogation tactics and those used by the Inquisition reveal the dangers of yoking moral certainty to the machinery of torture.

Campaign Inc.

How a presidential election boosts the economy

Why John J. Mearsheimer Is Right (About Some Things)

The political scientist’s star has fallen in recent years, as critics have branded him an anti-Semite. But his doctrine of “offensive realism” serves as an incisive theory for understanding how states behave in an anarchic world.


Freed Press

Our correspondent teaches Libya’s budding reporters the ABC’s of ethics and objectivity—with mixed results.

Misfortune Teller

A statistics professor says he can predict crime before it occurs.

What We Don't Know About the Sun

How the central figure of our solar system could kill us—or erase our iPods.

The Haunted History of an Arctic Monastery

On a remote Russian archipelago, monks once served both God and Stalin.

Waiting for Mike Ditka

Thirty years after he saved Chicago, the fabled Bears coach is everywhere—and nowhere.

My Nutmeg Bender

The surprising intoxicant hidden in your spice rack

'Archery Is a Manly Game'

In Bhutan, carbon-fiber bows are becoming the weapon of choice for practitioners of the national pastime.

The Need for Speed

In the wake of a horrific crash, should air racing be allowed to continue?


The Graduates

Attending a business-school reunion in the Occupy age

America’s Rock Band

How R.E.M.’s almost-utterances allowed listeners to find their own meaning
Video: Parker traces the band's journey from art-school experimentation to high-budget stardom.


The Perfect Wife

The nicest star in Hollywood, plus the man who made what Americans looked at

The Autumn of Joan Didion

The writer’s work is a triumph—and a disaster.

Cover to Cover

How the West was photographed; willpower, explained; and more


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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