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Letters to the Editor
Odious Rulers, Odious Debts Should the people of Iraq be forced to pay back money borrowed by Saddam? A Nobel laureate makes an urgent case for forgiveness
by Joseph Stiglitz
BRIEF LIVES: Defender of the Faith Why all Anglican eyes in London are nervously fixed on a powerful African archbishop
by Philip Jenkins
POST MORTEM: Bright Young Thing With a Blind Spot Diana Mosley (1910-2003)
by Mark Steyn
Primary Sources George Bush's new report card for government agencies; the odds of terrorist attack in the coming year; why marriage and high achievement don't mix—for men
THE WORLD IN NUMBERS:
Murder by the State
by Bruce Falconer
Columbia's Last Flight
The inside story of the investigation—and the catastrophe it laid bare
by William Langewiesche
The Structure of an Accident
Close-Up: Young Rumsfeld
William Langewiesche discusses the fundamental problems within NASA that led to the space shuttle's demise [Web only]
The Donald Rumsfeld of thirty years ago was a lot like the man we know today—a divisive figure who relishes bureaucratic combat, aims to shake up the established order, and is tenaciously committed to his own ideas and ambitions. But he was also a social moderate and a dove
by James Mann
The Atlantic College-Admissions Survey
James Mann talks about the political evolution and influences of Donald Rumsfeld [Web only]
"Calm down!" the deans and counselors say. Herewith our first annual exploration of the American college-admissions system
The New College Chaos by James Fallows
The Late-Decision Program by V. V. Ganeshananthan
What Makes a College Good? by Nicholas Confessore
The Selectivity Illusion by Don Peck
The Bias Question by Jay Mathews
Flashback: The Old College Try
Who gets in, and why? Atlantic articles from 1892 to the present consider the art, the science, and the gamesmanship of college admissions [Web only]
Pilgrim's Progress A poem by David Barber [audio]
Journey A poem by Erica Funkhouser [audio]
New & Noteworthy
A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow, by David L. Chappell; Madam Secretary, by Madeleine Albright; Goethe, Volume II, by Nicholas Boyle; The Scofield Study Bible, King James Version; The Afterlife, by Penelope Fitzgerald; Governor Reagan, by Lou Cannon
reviewed by Benjamin Schwarz
Mark Twain developed an enormous and subversive personality—but Fred Kaplan's new biography illumines it only in flickers
by Christopher Hitchens
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
"Because the contemporary white wedding is an event staged by a dozen subcontractors," our author writes, reviewing a new how-to guide for backing
out of an engagement, "the book includes ample advice about breaking the bad news to one's various vendors and possibly leveraging a broken heart into a refunded deposit"
by Caitlin Flanagan
'Til Death Do Us Part?
Princess of Discrimination
Atlantic articles throughout the twentieth century show how society has reshaped and refined our hopes for happily ever after. [Web only]
Shirley Hazzard's masterly descriptions and expertly drawn characters are in full evidence in The Great Fire—her first novel in more than twenty years
reviewed by Thomas Mallon
The Early Stories 1953-1975, by John Updike
reviewed by Scott Shibuya Brown
The Story of a War
The Iraq War: A Military History, by Williamson Murray and Major General Robert H. Scales Jr.
reviewed by Robert D. Kaplan
My Life as a Fake, by Peter Carey
reviewed by Michael Gorra
A Living, Breathing Hoax
Their Show of Shows
Peter Carey, the author of My Life as a Fake, talks about adding a dramatic new twist to an Australian literary legend. [Web only]
Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies, by Ted Chapin
reviewed by Corby Kummer
INNOCENT BYSTANDER: The Path of Brighteousness
The annals of semantic substitution—in which a name change
is proposed for an entire group of people, and everyone goes along—are not voluminous. Undaunted, some atheists are now giving it a try, calling themselves "brights"
by Cullen Murphy
FICTION: Yao's Chick
A short story by Max Apple
The Puzzler by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon
Word Court by Barbara Wallraff
Cover photograph: television image of Columbia liftoff, January 16, 2003 (AP Photo/NASA TV).
All material copyright © 2003 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.