Payday Lending: Will Anything Better Replace It? , The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans, How Warren Buffett’s Son Would Feed the World, and more...

This Month from The Atlantic

May 2016

The secret shame of the American middle class, fake children in Thailand, why luck matters, Bernie Sanders vs. a socialist, and more

Cover Story

The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans

Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I’m one of them.

Neal Gabler


Payday Lending: Will Anything Better Replace It?

The practice is slowly being regulated out of existence. But it’s unclear where low-income Americans will find short-term loans instead.

Bethany McLean

How Warren Buffett’s Son Would Feed the World

Howard G. Buffett has spent most of his life as a farmer, with little financial support from his father—until recently. Now he runs a multibillion-dollar foundation dedicated to ending global hunger.

Nina Munk

The Hell After ISIS

Even as the militant group loses ground in Iraq, many Sunnis say they have no hope for peace. One family’s story shows why.

Anand Gopal

Fiction: The Wall

A short story about family and class

Helen Phillips


Why Luck Matters More Than You Might Think

When people see themselves as self-made, they tend to be less generous and public-spirited.

Robert H. Frank

How Islam Created Europe

In late antiquity, the religion split the Mediterranean world in two. Now it is remaking the Continent.

Robert D. Kaplan

The Socialist Case Against Bernie

Eugene Puryear explains why Sanders isn’t revolutionary enough.

Molly Ball

Big in Thailand: Fake Kids

Middle-class women treat the “child angels” as though they’re real, taking them to get blowouts at salons and even giving them their own seats at restaurants.

Audrey Wilson

San Francisco’s Plan to Bury a Freeway

The city is transforming an old, major road into a new public park.

Nate Berg

Is Grit Overrated?

The downsides of dogged, single-minded persistence

Jerry Useem

How to Boast on the Sly

A guide to bragging better

Matthew Hutson

When Cars Fly

How driverless vehicles could change meetings, manufacturing, safety, and more

Ian Bogost

The Curse of Being Cool

Popular teens are likely to become irresponsible young adults. A very short book excerpt.

Ron Fournier

The Culture File

The Greatest Poet Alive

The feral genius of Australia’s Les Murray

James Parker

How Animals Think

A new look at what humans can learn from nonhuman minds

Alison Gopnik

Death and Don DeLillo

In his 17th novel, life is preserved by cryonic freezing while the apocalypse looms.

Meghan Daum

What Prison Takes Away

The oldest known incarceration memoir by an African American indicts a system that destroys souls.

Reginald Dwayne Betts

A Dark Collage of Fear and Beauty

A short book review of The Fox Was Ever the Hunter

Ann Hulbert