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JANUARY 1999 | Volume 283 No. 1
mcvs9901 picture What Is the Koran?

Most Muslims believe it to be the literal and unchanging Word of God. But Islam's holiest text has become the subject of new historical scrutiny, a process calling to mind the revolutionary critique of the Bible that began in the nineteenth century. It has been a theologically and politically delicate endeavor -- though in the minds of some critics not delicate enough.

by Toby Lester

The Liquid Earth

If asked to name America's deadliest and costliest form of natural disaster, many people would come up last with the disaster that should come up first: the landslide.

by Brenda Bell

When Evil Is "Cool"

In both the commercial milieu of popular culture and the serious precincts of higher criticism, the author warns, we must guard against the tendency to see evil as mere "transgression," or even as a kind of greatness.

by Roger Shattuck
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Notes & Comment: Technology Versus African-Americans
From the era of slavery through the computer age, the author argues, the story for America's black community has been "one negative encounter after another."
by Anthony Walton

Foreign Affairs: Dead Souls
The health of the Russian people is far worse than outsiders have realized.
by Murray Feshbach

Americana: Going All Out for Chinese
In the vast Sino-suburbia of California's San Gabriel Valley are restaurants that offer the best Chinese food outside China.
by Benjamin and Christina Schwarz

Humor, Fiction, & Poetry

seahorse picture Fan Letters
A poetry anthology
by Dana Stevens, Susan Donnelly, and Mary Jo Salter

Plea for Forgiveness
A poem
by Rodney Jones

seahorse picture The Next Best Kiss
A short story
by Carol Shields

  • Web-Only: A Likely Story
    An Atlantic Unbound interview with Carol Shields.

    seahorse picture "He Would Never Use One Word Where None Would Do"
    A poem
    by Philip Levine

    Security Blanket
    A drawing
    by Guy Billout

  • Arts & Leisure

    Travel: Senses of Place
    Eight Atlantic contributors evoke some favorite places associated with special books and writers.


    A Cataclysm of Thought
    Einstein's Miraculous Year: Five Papers That Changed the Face of Physics, edited by John Stachel
    by Alan Lightman

    Lost in Post-Reality
    Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality, by Neal Gabler
    by Nicholas Lemann

    Brief Reviews
    by Phoebe-Lou Adams

    Other Departments

    77 North Washington Street


    (Send a letter to the editor.)

    The January Almanac

    The Puzzler
    by Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon

    Word Court
    by Barbara Wallraff

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    All material copyright © 1999 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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