Contents | April 2001
The Atlantic Monthly | April 2001
In This Issue
oung people at today's elite colleges and universities bear no resemblance to the disaffected student revolutionaries of recent decades. Workaholic, happy to toe the line, they seem convinced of—and content with—the order of the universe. How in the world did they get this way? David Brooks ("The Organization Kid") investigates. Brooks is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard. His book Bobos in Paradise (2000), which heralded the rise of bourgeois-bohemian culture, was reviewed in The Atlantic last June.
In the heart of downtown Butte, Montana, lies a lake of sulfuric acid a mile and a half across and 900 feet deep. A legacy of decades of open-pit mining, it may hold the key to the city's revitalization, reports the Atlantic correspondent William Langewiesche ("The Profits of Doom"). Langewiesche's profile of the wine critic Robert Parker appeared in the December Atlantic.
Twenty years ago John W. Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Transcripts of recordings made by Richard V. Allen ("The Day Reagan Was Shot"), Reagan's national security adviser, disclose for the first time the discussion that ensued in the White House in the hours immediately following the event. Allen is an international business consultant in Washington, D.C.
Steve Olson ("The Genetic Archaeology of Race") reports on the rocky history of the Human Genome Diversity Project, whose goal of tracing human history through genetic variation may be our best hope of disarming racism once and for all—if the project survives its critics' attacks. Olson has written for numerous publications, including Science, The Washingtonian, and The Washington Monthly. He is at work on a book about the genetic history of humanity.
Jim Shepard ("The Gun Lobby") teaches in the English department at Williams College. He has written five novels, including Nosferatu (1998), and a collection of short stories, Batting Against Castro (1996).
Alicia Ostriker ("The Kiss of Judas") teaches English and creative writing at Rutgers University. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Little Space: Poems Selected and New (1998), was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Passengers intending to misbehave on a transatlantic flight, be forewarned: you could find yourself making an unplanned stopover. Wayne Curtis ("Uncivil Aviation") reports from Bangor, Maine, an unofficial holding pen for travelers subdued after a bout of air rage. Also in Notes & Dispatches this month: Jeffrey Tayler, from the Russian Far East, on a border region's economic rapprochement; Witold Rybczynski, from Scranton, Pennsylvania, on a re-created landscape by Frederick Law Olmsted; Francine Prose, from Padua on how preserving art for the future can ruin it for the present; and Tyler Maroney, from Gibraltar, on the latest twist in the custody battle over the Rock.
Skirting American patriotic revisionism and guides in powdered wigs, the Englishman Geoffrey Wheatcroft ("A Revolutionary Itinerary") takes readers on a more nuanced tour of the historic battlefields of Massachusetts and New York. Wheatcroft, the literary editor of the weekly Spectator from 1977 to 1981, is a frequent contributor to The Guardian, The Observer, and The New York Times, as well as The Atlantic.
Imagine trying to cook a meal in the dead of winter using only fresh foods found locally—in the northern parts of the country. The Atlantic senior editor Corby Kummer ("In Lockstep With the Seasons") follows in the footsteps of cooks who subject themselves to such limits and finds they may be on to something.
What goes into making a good rocking chair? Marshall Jon Fisher ("The Ergonomic Rocking Chair") visits the workshops of a handful of renowned studio-furniture artists who have transformed rocking into a science. Fisher is a co-author, with his father, David E. Fisher, of Tube: The Invention of Television (1996).
Given the scope of a life, most biographers are obliged to regard their subjects with a wide-angle lens rather than a microscope. Juliet Barker ("A Year in the Life") surveys John Worthen's The Gang: Coleridge, the Hutchinsons, and the Wordsworths in 1802, a group biography offering a detailed look at an extraordinary moment of creative collaboration. Barker is the author of The Brontës (1994) and Wordsworth: A Life (2000).
Three decades after her death, little note is taken of Carson McCullers, whose first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, made her a celebrity at the age of twenty-three. Frances Kiernan ("No Apologies Necessary") considers a new biography of McCullers by the Le Monde editor Josyane Savigneau. Kiernan, a fiction editor of The New Yorker for fifteen years, is the author of Seeing Mary Plain: A Life of Mary McCarthy (2000).
The radical Oxford academic Alan Taylor made a career of dissent, earning himself a reputation as a brilliant gadfly. Paul Kennedy ("The Nonconformist") reviews Kathleen Burk's Troublemaker: The Life and History of A.J.P. Taylor, the latest biography of modern European history's most troubling contrarian. Kennedy is the Dilworth Professor of History and the director of international-security studies at Yale University.
Copyright © 2001 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; April 2001; In This Issue - 01.04; Volume 287, No. 4; page 8.