See an index of This Month in The Atlantic's History.
Also see Classic Reviews
Atlantic reviews of classic books. How did
The Atlantic review Charles Dickens'
Great Expectations in 1861? What did The Atlantic make of Lolita in 1958?
"A History of The Atlantic Monthly"
From a presentation given in 1994 by Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic's managing editor.
A note from the editors:
One of the advantages of being a monthly magazine rather than a daily newspaper is the more reflective tone the monthly cycle allows. Not hostage to the events
of the day, a monthly magazine's articles can step back from the fray to give a
more thoughtful perspective on current issues and happenings. Being a monthly,
however, can also be a disadvantage. The more leisurely pace sometimes
precludes our being as timely as weekly or daily publications.
The online medium changes all that. We can update our site weekly or daily.
This idea forms the basis for the Flashbacks feature. Flashbacks are previously
Atlantic Monthly articles that have been lent new relevance by
current events or by the current cultural or political climate.
We'll strive to continue posting new and timely Flashbacks. Read them
for perspective and background on the headlines. Or—when we post some of
our older pieces by historical figures such as Theodore Roosevelt, Frederick
Douglass, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mark
Twain, H.L. Mencken, or Gertrude Stein, to name a few—read them to hear voices from the past speaking on subjects that have continuing relevance in today's world. Think of Flashbacks as an ongoing dialogue of ideas: voices from
history and from the present conversing with one another.
The following (in reverse chronological order) are Flashbacks that have appeared on The Atlantic Monthly's Web site.
Do We Really Need a Vice President? (July 8, 2004)
Is the office of the Vice President merely "a resting place for mediocrities"? Arthur Schlesinger, Gerald Ford, Hubert Humphrey, and others weigh in.
The Paradoxical Case of Tony Blair (June 16, 2004)
Articles from 1996 to the present chronicle Tony Blair's career, from his meteoric ascent to his fall from favor.
Looking Back at Brown v. Board of Education (May 17, 2004)
Articles from 1954 and 1960 offer a look at how the Supreme Court's landmark desegregation ruling was initially received.
Transcripts of a Troubled Mind (April 29, 2004)
The short, sad life of Breece D'J Pancake, whose writings in The Atlantic brought to life the dissipated Appalachian world in which he was raised.
"Faster, Stronger, Smarter..." (March 31, 2004)
Articles from 1912 to the present consider how far we should go to refine
humanity through science.
"Drama in the Court!" (March 24, 2004)
Articles from 1898 to the present consider what's at stake when high-profile
court cases play out in the public eye.
"Money Into the Void" (March 3, 2004)
Is the exorbitant expense of space exploration worth it? Articles from 1895 to the present consider the merits.
"Almost as Japanese as Haiku" (December 31, 2003)
A collection of articles by Lafcadio Hearn, who, at the end of the nineteenth
century, set off for Japan, never to return.
The Sage and the Magazine (December 23, 2003)
A collection of writings by and about Ralph Waldo Emerson, two hundred years after his birth.
A Century of Flight
(December 17, 2003)
A collection of articles—including letters from the Wright brothers—reflects the evolution of air travel and how we perceive it.
Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Atlantic Monthly
(December 3, 2003)
Writings by and about Nathaniel Hawthorne offer insight into his life and work.
'Til Death Do Us Part?
(November 20, 2003)
Atlantic articles throughout the twentieth century show how society has reshaped and refined our hopes for happily ever after.
The Paradoxical Pope
(October 16, 2003)
Two Atlantic articles offer insight into the life and career of Pope John Paul II.
The Old College Try
(October 8, 2003)
Who gets in, and why? Atlantic articles from 1892 to the present consider the art, the science, and the gamesmanship of college admissions.
Pirates of The Atlantic (September 3, 2003)
A collection of writings from 1860s to the present, chronicling the exploits of the pirate world.
Getting Normal (August 13, 2003)
Articles from The Atlantic's archive on tobacco, amphetamines, Ritalin, and other drugs demonstrate that our dependence on psychotropic substances for self-improvement is not new.
Our Liberian Legacy (July 30, 2003)
Articles spanning the twentieth century take up the question of what the U.S. owes Liberia.
The Difficult Grandeur of Robert Lowell (June 18, 2003)
Writings by and about Robert Lowell offer insight into the life and poetry of a tormented legend.
Media Mergers (June 2, 2003)
In the wake of a new FCC ruling, a look back at three Atlantic articles from the sixties that ask, Who controls the media? and How big is too big?
The American Way of Beef (May 20, 2003)
Concern for the character of American beef, as articles from The Atlantic's archive show, is not new, and might demand an old-fashioned solution.
Dubious Ally (April 30, 2003)
Articles from the 1970s and 1980s shed light on the complex and problematic relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
The Cruel Wit of Evelyn Waugh (April 11, 2003)
Articles over fifty years trace the evolution of the bitter and controversial master of British farce, Evelyn Waugh.
Like Father, Unlike Son (March 26, 2003)
Articles from the 1980s and 1990s offer a look back at George Bush the
elder, who was a dramatically different leader from his strong-willed son.
Cooked Books (March 5, 2003)
How should we crack down on corporate corruption? Articles from the early twentieth century to the 1990s have considered the question from a variety of viewpoints.
Jazz at the Crossroads (February 26, 2003)
Articles on Wynton Marsalis and the evolution of jazz shed light on where jazz has been—and where it may be headed.
The Truth About Love (February 14, 2003)
A collection of Atlantic articles offers a counterpoint to the fairy-tale depictions of love so dominant at this time of year.
The Korean Quagmire (February 13, 2003)
Articles from the 1950s to the present offer perspective on America's role in the long history of tension between North and South Korea.
In Defense of the Forests (December 18, 2002)
In a collection of Atlantic articles, the pioneering naturalist John Muir extolled the wonders of our nation's forests and called for their protection.
The Battle over Bilingual Education (December 11, 2002)
Should non-native-speaking children be taught in English or in their own languages? Three articles offer varying perspectives on this divisive issue.
"The Cultural Meaning of the Kennedys" (December 4, 2002)
Articles by John F. Kennedy, Caitlin Flanagan, Thomas Mallon, and others offer insight into the Kennedy mystique.
"The Early-Decision Racket" Redux (November 20, 2002)
A look at the effect of a recent article by James Fallows on the world
of college admissions.
Mencken: America's Critic (November 6, 2002)
Articles by Jacques Barzun, Alfred Knopf, and H. L. Mencken himself offer an in-depth look at the controversial newspaper legend.
A Near Miss (October 24, 2002)
Articles on the Cuban missile crisis by Walter Lippmann, Jerome B. Wiesner, and Sheldon M. Stern remind us how close we came to disaster.
The Road to Reunification (October 3, 2002)
Articles spanning the past century chronicle Germany's long, tortuous path toward unity.
Iraq Considered (October 1, 2002)
Should the U.S. intervene in Iraq? Articles from 1958 to the present offer
a variety of perspectives.
The Byron Complex (September 12, 2002)
Jacques Barzun, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and others assess the controversial life and poetry of Lord Byron.
The War on Fat (September 4, 2002)
A trip through the Atlantic's archives offers revealing insights into American body politics.
Sacco and Vanzetti (August 23, 2002)
Articles by Felix Frankfurter, Katherine Anne Porter, and lawyer W. G. Thompson offer a look back at the controversial trial and execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.
Technology and Security (August 21, 2002)
Four recent Atlantic articles consider the drawbacks of relying too heavily on technology to protect us from terrorism.
Elvis One More Time (August 13, 2002)
In the years since his death, two Atlantic contributors have looked back at Elvis and his music, offering insight into who he was, and what Americans saw in him.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 9, 2002)
Atlantic articles from the forties through the nineties probe the haunting question: Was the atomic bombing of Japan necessary?
Unsolved Mysteries (August 8, 2002)
Two Atlantic articles written nearly a century apart testify to our ongoing fascination with unsolved crimes.
Iran on the Brink (August 1, 2002)
Articles by V.S. Naipaul, Robert Kaplan, and Reuel Marc Gerecht consider where Iran's political turmoil will lead.
Life, the Universe, and Everything (June 26, 2002)
Atlantic articles from the past two decades consider the quest for a comprehensive theory of the universe.
Attack of the Clones (June 5, 2002)
Articles by James Watson and Donald Fleming offer a look back at the evolution of the human-cloning debate.
Who Was Kipling? (May 24, 2002)
A sampling of writing from The Atlantic's past
offers a range of views on the many contradictions of Rudyard Kipling.
Delayed Childbearing (May 22, 2002)
In 1995, Gina Maranto warned of the repercussions of delaying
childbearing until one's thirties, and argued that society should
make it easier for women to have both children and a fulfilling
Stephen Jay Gould: Genesis vs. Geology (May 21, 2002)
The renowned evolutionary theorist Stephen Jay Gould died yesterday
at age sixty. In September 1982 he took on the creationists in the
pages of The Atlantic Monthly.
A Time to
Change (May 8, 2002)
Atlantic articles from the past forty years have considered
the troubles and the institutional weaknesses plaguing the Catholic Church.
The Public and Private Worlds of Charles Dickens (April 26, 2002)
Personal recollections, essays, and reviews by Edmund Wilson, David Lodge, and others, shed light on the life and career of Charles Dickens.
Previewing Le Pen (March 27, 2002)
"Using the slogan 'the French first,' Le Pen promotes a vision of France largely free of foreigners." In February, 1985, Daniel Cohen profiled French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen as "the fastest-rising political figure in the country."
Looking for Mr. Churchill (March 27, 2002)
Isaiah Berlin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and others
share their thoughts on Churchill as politician, author, world leader, and friend.
Lights, Camera, Action! (March 1, 2002)
Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael, Budd Schulberg, Raymond Chandler, and others weigh in on the state of American movies.
In Russia's Backyard (March 1, 2002)
This week the U.S. military arrived in the ex-Soviet Republic of
Georgia to help root out Muslim terrorists. In November, 2000, Robert
D. Kaplan took a close look at Georgia's violent past and present,
and its uneasy relationship with Russia.
Roosevelt in Retrospect (February 27, 2002)
A collection of turn-of-the-century Atlantic articles by and about Theodore Roosevelt sheds light on his roles as politician, outdoorsman, and scholar.
Security Versus Civil Liberties (February 6, 2002)
How can you address terrorism without undermining civil liberties? A variety of Atlantic articles take on this seemingly insoluble quandary.
Currents in Currency (January 2, 2002)
This week the euro makes its debut. Two Atlantic articles argue that currency consolidation is inevitable and that the number of currencies will dwindle.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Islam (December 12, 2001)
Is democracy compatible with Islam? Atlantic contributors from the early to the late twentieth century take up the question.
Arafat's Last Stand? (December 6, 2001)
Three Atlantic articles shed light on Arafat's precarious position.
Loving and Hating New
York (November 28, 2001)
Reflections on New York City from the turn of the century to the 1990s.
America's Bard (November 7, 2001)
A collection of writings by and about Walt Whitman, the free-spirited poet who championed democracy and America.
Ireland's Troubled North (October 31, 2001)
A collection of Atlantic articles on Northern Ireland helps put the current easing of political tensions in perspective.
Understanding Afghanistan (October 26, 2001)
Atlantic articles from the 1950s and the 1980s offer background and perspective on a nation in conflict.
Infectious Terrorism (October 19, 2001)
Atlantic articles from 1991 and 1974 warned of the dangers of biological and chemical terrorism.
The Battle Hymn of the Republic (September 18, 2001)
Americans today are finding new inspiration in Julia Ward Howe's anthem—originally published in The Atlantic in 1862 to rally Union troops.
Coming to Grips with Jihad (September 12, 2001)
What are the roots of Islamic fundamentalist rage against the U.S.? How did Afghanistan become a hotbed of international terrorists? Three Atlantic articles from the past decade look at the origins and consequences of jihad.
The Triumph of Terrorism
(September 11, 2001)
Who could have perpetrated this morning's attacks—and why? A collection of Atlantic articles gives insight into the terrorist mind—and how the U.S. may have encouraged and inflamed terrorist groups around the world.
The House of Wharton
(July 25, 2001)
The story of Wharton's association with The Atlantic, and a sampling of her poems, short stories, and critical reviews of her work.
Engines of Efficiency
(July 18, 2001)
At a time when President Bush is being pressured to crack down on the auto industry for building vehicles with poor gas mileage, a look back at two Atlantic articles about environmentally friendly cars that just might catch on.
Kind of Justice
(July 4, 2001)
This week Slobodan Milosevic faces the International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In April of last year Charles Trueheart took
an in-depth look at the tribunal, and how it might work to bring
Milosevic and his accomplices to justice.
Mark Twain in The Atlantic Monthly
(June 25, 2001)
The story of Twain's association with The Atlantic, and a sampling of his writings.
Power Without Plunder
(June 1, 2001)
A collection of recent Atlantic articles on energy technologies that make environmental—and economic—sense.
Pearl Harbor in Retrospect
(May 25, 2001)
Atlantic articles from 1948, 1999, and 1991 look back at Pearl Harbor from American and Japanese perspectives.
Reefer Madness (May 17, 2001)
The Supreme Court's ruling on Monday against medical uses for marijuana has energized debate about United States drug policies. In a 1994 article for which he received a National Magazine Award, Eric Schlosser argued that this country's laws against marijuana are both draconian and destructive.
The Rush to Deploy SDI (May 4, 2001)
In the April, 1988, Atlantic, Charles E. Bennett described how the Reagan-Bush Administration was "defying scientific opinion, bypassing internal Pentagon review procedures, stalling Congress, and pressuring the military in its effort to field a 'first generation' space-based missile defense within a decade."
China and the World
(April 4, 2001)
The Atlantic has reported on China for more than a century.
A selection of Atlantic articles from 1899 to the present puts U.S.-China relations in perspective.
Spy vs. Spy (March 20, 2001)
Robert Philip Hanssen, meet Aldrich Ames, Kim Philby, Greville Wynne, and Gordon Lonsdale. Atlantic articles from 1998, 1988, and 1966 consider the phenomenon of renegade intelligence agents.
The Heavenly Jukebox (February 21, 2001)
In last September's Atlantic, Charles C. Mann argued that most coverage of the Napster controversy has missed some basic points. Chief among them: the fight against Internet "piracy" is being led by a peculiar and grasping business—the recording industry—that should not be allowed to set the rules.
It's (Not) the Economy, Stupid (February 7, 2001)
In July, 1993, Charles R. Morris argued that Bill Clinton was elected on an untenable premise: namely, that it is the job of the President to manage the economy. Are our expectations for George W. Bush any different?
The Return of Ancient Times (February 7, 2001)
As Ariel Sharon becomes Israel's Prime Minister, many wonder if a hawk can be expected to pursue peace. In last June's Atlantic, Robert D. Kaplan suggested what Machiavelli and Yitzhak Rabin both knew: that peacemaking can require ruthlessness.
Israel Now (February 7, 2001)
In January of last year, Robert D. Kaplan, a former resident of Israel and a member of its armed forces in the 1970s, described how raw power and economic forces are redrawing the map of the Middle East.
Big Business in Ballots (December 8, 2000)
On the eve of the 1984 election, The Atlantic's Cullen Murphy reported on the increasing demand for "fast, secret, dependable" voting systems.
Ferocious Differences (December 6, 2000)
On December 1, Vicente Fox was inaugurated as Mexico's new President, with a left-leaning intellectual named Jorge G. Castañeda as his foreign secretary. In the July, 1995, Atlantic, Castañeda reflected on U.S.-Mexican relations.
Could Mad-Cow Disease Happen Here? (December 5, 2000)
New evidence of mad-cow disease on the Continent has the European Union scrambling to respond. Two years ago in The Atlantic, Ellen Ruppel Shell looked at Britain's horrifying experience and the lessons it should have taught.
Deadlock: What Happens If Nobody Wins (November 17, 2000)
In October 1980, Laurence H. Tribe and Thomas M. Rollins considered the possibility of a presidential election "that fails to elect."
Outsider Politics (November 1, 2000)
La Follette in '24, Wallace in '48, Anderson in '80. Atlantic articles on three precursors to Nader and Buchanan from the past century.
Israel Now (October 17, 2000)
In last January's Atlantic, Robert D. Kaplan, a former resident of Israel and a member of its armed forces in the 1970s, described how raw power and economic forces are redrawing the map of the Middle East.
An Acquired Taste (October 3, 2000)
In the July Atlantic, James Fallows examined how Al Gore became "America's most lethally effective practitioner of high-stakes political debate."
Yehuda Amichai, 1924-2000 (September 29, 2000)
Yehuda Amichai, who died last week in Jerusalem at the age of seventy-six, was Israel's pre-eminent contemporary poet. Two of his poems recently appeared in The Atlantic. Hear them read aloud by the translator Chana Bloch.
Can Selfishness Save the Environment? (September 13, 2000)
Atlantic articles from the past decade suggest that it could.
A Culture of Violence (September 13, 2000)
Is violence in the media to blame for the real violence committed by kids? And what about the psychological effects of violence on kids who live in fear of it? Atlantic articles by Scott Stossel and Karl Zinsmeister.
Was Democracy Just a Moment? (September 6, 2000)
As world leaders gather at the United Nations this week, the words "democracy" and "development" will be on many lips. In The Atlantic's December, 1997, cover story, Robert D. Kaplan argued that, despite our best intentions, democracy may not be the system that will best serve the world.
A Third Way for the Third World (September 6, 2000)
For the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, "the 'overarching objective' of development is to maximize what he calls people's 'capabilities'—their freedom to 'lead the kind of lives they value, and have reason to value.'" A review of Sen's Development as Freedom (December, 1999, Atlantic), by Akash Kapur.
Colombia: Out of the Jungle (August 31, 2000)
President Clinton traveled to Colombia this week to pledge U.S. support for the government's fight against drug trafficking. In May, Benjamin Ryder Howe reported in The Atlantic on the decades-long guerrilla insurgency that some fear could turn Colombia into a quagmire.
A Republic—If We Can Keep It (August 7, 2000)
"In effect," Senator Joseph Lieberman wrote in the July, 1998, Atlantic, referring to the campaign-finance scandals of the 1996 election, "what the law permitted in 1996 was as outrageous as any crime that was committed."
Supersonic Bust: The Story of the Concorde (August 1, 2000)
Since the crash of a Concorde near Paris last week, renewed attention has been focused on the aging supersonic jets. In January, 1977, Peter Gillman chronicled Britain's desperate push to develop the Concorde—an effort he described as "the most disastrous investment decision Britain has made since the war."
A Visionary Poet at Ninety (August 1, 2000)
Stanley Kunitz, at age 95, has been named the next poet laureate of the United States. In June 1996, when Kunitz was a mere 90 years old, David Barber reviewed his most recent collection, Passing Through. Plus, hear Kunitz read aloud two of his poems from The Atlantic's pages: "The Quarrel" and "King of the River."
Who Will Own Your Next Good Idea? (July 27, 2000)
A Federal court order may put the Napster online music service out of business, and the recording industry is cheering. In "Who Will Own Your Next Good Idea?" (September, 1998, Atlantic) Charles C. Mann offered an in-depth (and prophetic) report on how technology and politics are shaping the ownership of culture in the digital age.
Plus: See "Life, Liberty, and ... the Pursuit of Copyright?," an Atlantic Unbound Roundtable featuring Lawrence Lessig, John Perry Barlow, Mark Stefik, and Charles C. Mann; and "The MP3 Revolution," an Atlantic Unbound Digital Culture column by Charles C. Mann.
Time to End the Korean War (June 26, 2000)
On Sunday the world marked the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Korean War. Earlier this month the North and South agreed to seek an end to their hostility. Yet, as Bruce Cumings wrote in February 1997, "Fifty years later Korea is the best example in the world of how easy it is to get into a war and how difficult to get out."
The Wrong Man (June 22, 2000)
Texas death-row inmate Gary Graham faces execution on Thursday despite doubts surrounding his conviction. Last November, Alan Berlow reported on the disturbing likelihood that innocent people will be put to death in America.
Syria: Identity Crisis (June 13, 2000)
"It is Assad," Robert D. Kaplan wrote in February 1993, "not Saddam Hussein or any other ruler, who defines the era in which the Middle East now lives."
Our Real China Problem (May 24, 2000)
As Mark Hertsgaard reported in November, 1997, the real price of China's economic miracle has been a growing environmental crisis—one with global implications.
China and the World (May 24, 2000)
The Atlantic Monthly has reported on China for more than a century. A selection of Atlantic articles from 1899 to the present puts U.S.-China relations in perspective.
Blood and Justice (May 18, 2000)
Nat Turner and John Brown came to symbolize the radical struggle against slavery in the decades prior to the Civil War. Both were hanged for their actions. Both were at the center of intense controversy. A collection of Atlantic articles, from 1861 to 1922, commemorates the bicentennial of their births.
Return to Vietnam (April 26, 2000)
This month marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of Saigon. In the April, 1985, Atlantic, ten years after the end of the Vietnam War, William Broyles Jr. recounted his return to the country where he had fought, and his efforts to "come to terms with what we had done to Vietnam and what Vietnam had done to us."
The Intervention Question (April 7, 2000)
Atlantic articles from 1967 to 1996—by George McGovern, Ronald Steel, Jonathan Clarke, John J. Mearsheimer, and Robert D. Kaplan—take up the issue of American interventionism.
The Holocaust and the Catholic Church (March 15, 2000)
On Sunday, Pope John Paul II made an historic admission of the Church's sins, but without explicit mention of its role in the Second World War. In last October's Atlantic, James Carroll reviewed Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, by John Cornwell.
Thoreau's "Wild Apples" (March 8, 2000)
At the end of his life Henry David Thoreau was working on essays commissioned by The Atlantic. One of them, "Wild Apples," has recently resurfaced. David Barber reflects on Thoreau's last writings.
The Warring Visions of the Religious Right (February 29, 2000)
"We are the party of Ronald Reagan, not Pat Robertson," John McCain said on Monday in a campaign speech in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 1995, Harvey Cox, a prominent liberal theologian, traveled to Robertson's Regent University, in Virginia Beach, and made some surprising discoveries.
The Southern Captivity of the GOP (February 29, 2000)
As the battle for the 2000 Republican nomination shows, deep rifts exist within the Republican Party. In the June, 1998, Atlantic cover story, Christopher Caldwell argued that the GOP's "capture" of the South had alienated voters in other regions—even conservative voters.
Mideast Oil Forever? (February 24, 2000)
The recent rise in oil prices has many Americans looking to Washington for assistance. In April, 1996, Joseph J. Romm and Charles B. Curtis argued that new energy technologies could end our dependence on OPEC oil.
Criminal Computing (February 17, 2000)
This week the White House hosted a discussion on Internet security. Two recent Atlantic articles highlight the difficulties of protecting Internet users from the dangers of computer crime.
The Clinton Era (January 26, 2000)
A look back at Atlantic articles—by James Fallows, Thomas Byrne Edsall, Peter Edelman, and others—assessing Bill Clinton and his presidency.
Republicans and Abortion (January 26, 2000)
In the 1992 campaign, Republicans like George Bush (the elder) wanted to avoid the abortion issue, as William Schneider observed in "The Battle for Saliency" (October 1992). Will it be different for the younger Bush this time around?
The Gun-Control Debate (January 20, 2000)
President Clinton wants $280 million to help enforce existing gun-control laws. Atlantic articles by James Q. Wilson, Wendy Kaminer, and Erik Larson offer three distinct perspectives on guns in American society.
Letter From Birmingham Jail (January 15, 2000)
The American Catholic bishops have asked the Vatican to name Martin Luther King Jr. a Christian martyr. As the country marks King's birthday, revisit the famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail," published in The Atlantic Monthly under the title "The Negro Is Your Brother."
Primary Issues (January 13, 2000)
The real first-in-the-nation contest is no longer in Iowa. Atlantic articles on the 1996 campaign, by David Frum and Jonathan Schell, examined the forces that have changed our political culture.
Twenty From the Twentieth Century (December 16, 1999)
Highlights from the past hundred years of The Atlantic—with W.E.B. DuBois, William James, John Muir, Robert Frost, Rebecca West, Albert Einstein, Robert Moses, Pablo Picasso, Martin Luther King Jr., Mrs. X, James D. Watson, and more.
Lions in Winter (December 14, 1999)
This week in Washington, Israelis and Syrians will sit down at the negotiating table. In 1993, Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari profiled the three aging leaders—Yitzhak Rabin, Hafez al-Assad, and Yasser Arafat—who then held the future of the Middle East in their hands.
Read 'Em Their Rights (December 8, 1999)
This week the Supreme Court announced it will reconsider the controversial 1966 Miranda decision, which gave suspects "the right to remain silent." In a 1966 Atlantic article, a criminal-law expert assessed the implications of the ruling.
Denmark Vesey, Forgotten Hero (December 1, 1999)
Who was Denmark Vesey, and why is there a sudden surge of interest in this little-known figure of American history? An Atlantic article from 1861 should help to explain.
Who Deserves to
Die? (November 12, 1999)
Odds are, Alan Berlow argues in the November Atlantic, that our criminal justice system has condemned innocent people to death in the recent past and will continue to do so unless significant reforms are made. Atlantic articles by George Bernard Shaw, Giles Playfair, and Judge Irving R. Kaufman consider the legitimacy of the death penalty as a form of punishment.
A Great Monopoly (November 10, 1999)
"America," Henry Demarest Lloyd wrote in March, 1881, "has the proud satisfaction of having furnished the world with the greatest, wisest, and meanest monopoly known to history." That was then. Does his exposé of Standard Oil speak to us today?
A Special Moment in History (October, 1999)
This week the earth's population reached 6 billion. In The Atlantic's May, 1998, cover story Bill McKibben warned that the fate of our planet will be determined in the next few decades, through our technological, lifestyle, and population choices.
The Population Surprise (October, 1999)
"Fifty years from now," Max Singer asserted in this recent Atlantic report, "the world's population will be declining, with no end in sight."
Once Again, Long Live Chairman Mao (October, 1999)
What is the legacy of Mao Zedong on the fiftieth anniversary of the People's Republic? In December, 1992, Orville Schell examined Mao's emergence as a pop-culture icon.
Cutting-Edge but Comfy (September, 1999)
The Brooklyn Museum of Art stands to lose all of its city funding because of its plans to exhibit the Saatchi collection of avant-garde London art, which Mayor Rudolph Guliani has deemed "sick stuff." Carol Kino's November, 1998, Atlantic article on the Saatchi collection and the rest of the contemporary London art scene shows where Rudy may be wrong.
Rhetoric of Freedom (September, 1999)
"Emancipation is the demand of civilization," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in April, 1862. "That is a principle; everything else is an intrigue." Atlantic articles by Emerson and Frederick Douglass comment on Lincoln's greatest decision, and his greatest legacy.
Genesis vs. Geology (September, 1999)
In September, 1982, Stephen Jay Gould explained why "creation science" is not science at all, but "a partisan (and narrowly sectarian) religious view."
The Military and the Nation (August, 1999)
After Kosovo, the nature of warfare and the meaning of national interest will never be the same. Two recent articles—by Robert D. Kaplan and Thomas E. Ricks—look at how the U.S. military is both shaping and adapting to a world without borders.
Deep Throat: An Institutional Analysis (August, 1999)
Bob Woodward's latest book, Shadow, considers the legacy of the
Watergate scandal and (once again) relies heavily on unnamed inside
sources. In May of 1992 James Mann, a Watergate-era reporter at The Washington Post, speculated about the motives and identity of "Deep Throat," the original unnamed inside source who brought down Nixon's Presidency and made Woodward's career.
Tracking Hemingway (July, 1999)
Atlantic articles from 1939 to 1983—by Edmund Wilson, Malcolm Cowley, Alfred Kazin, and others—track the strengths and weaknessnes of this American literary lion.
The Cultural Meaning of the Kennedys (July, 1999)
In January 1994, looking back on the thirtieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's death, Steven Stark pondered the transformation of a political family into entertainment superstars.
The Turn (July, 1999)
"Eventually [pilots] admitted that instinct was unreliable in clouds," William Langewiesche wrote in December 1993, "and that they needed special instruments to tell them what was happening to the plane. Without the instruments they went into mysterious banks and dived out of control."
The Hidden Side of the Clinton Economy (July, 1999)
Last week, as President Clinton toured pockets of poverty around the nation, many may have wondered where he's been for the past six years. "Relying on dubious measures that tell us good news," John E. Schwarz wrote in October of last year, "we have ignored the deepening erosion of the American Dream."
The Problem with Congress: (July, 1999)
Painfully often the legislation our politicians pass is designed less to solve problems than to protect the politicians from defeat in our neverending election campaigns. The Atlantic's January 1997 cover story, by Anthony King.
Too Representative Government
In May 1995, Steven Stark asked why Congress is held in such low esteem. His answer—that the more problems Congress tries to solve, and the more people it tries to please, the less popular it becomes—sounds all too familiar.
A Radical Plan to Change American Politics
"Because of our peculiar electoral law," Michael Lind wrote in the August 1992 Atlantic, "the American government is divided between two parties. The American people are not."
Women and Politics (June, 1999)
The 2000 election season may be remembered for the candidacies of Elizabeth Dole and Hillary Rodham Clinton. But the story has a prequel that began long, long ago, in what may seem like a country far, far away. Atlantic articles on women and politics from 1903 to 1999.
China's Andrei Sakharov (June, 1999)
In May, 1988, one year before the violent crackdown in Tiananmen Square, the American sinologist Orville Schell profiled Fang Lizhi, the Chinese astrophysicist who was an inspiration for the student democracy movement.
The Godfather of Sprawl (May, 1999)
On the seventieth anniversary of Jones Beach, the legacy of Robert Moses is as controversial as ever. Atlantic articles by Moses from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s offer a glimpse into the mind of this father of the postmodern American landscape.
The State of Israel (May, 1999)
Israel has rarely been free of political and cultural turmoil, as a look back at Atlantic articles from the past century reminds us.
Second Thoughts on the Second Amendment (May, 1999)
"If the war against crime has replaced the Cold War in popular culture," Wendy Kaminer wrote in the March, 1996, Atlantic, "a private storehouse of guns has replaced the fallout shelter in the psyche of Americans who feel besieged."
Can We Live Without War? (May, 1999)
"The plain truth," William James wrote in the December, 1904, Atlantic Monthly, "is that people want war." Fifty years and two World Wars later, Vannevar Bush asked Atlantic readers, "Can Men Live Without War?" Today, at the close of our bloody century, could the answer possibly be "yes"?
Cuban Baseball (May, 1999)
In July and August of 1984 the Cuban national baseball team made its first-ever visit to the United States. On Monday the Cubans returned, playing the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Bruce Brown's history of Cuban baseball (from the June, 1984, Atlantic) helps explain the enduring appeal and strength of baseball in Cuba.
Saving the World from Ourselves? (April, 1999)
What is the relationship between America's domestic problems and its foreign policy? Between our own history and our efforts to shape the history of other nations? Recent Atlantic articles by Ronald Steel and Benjamin Schwarz offer some answers.
The Story of a Gun (April, 1999)
"The details are painfully familiar: an angry teenager arrives at school one morning and opens fire on teachers and students. But the story holds a grim lesson." So wrote Erik Larson in the January, 1993, Atlantic. As the rampage in Littleton, Colorado demonstrates, Larson's article is still on target.
Living With Fallout (March 28, 1999)
What happens when people are exposed to nuclear radiation? Three articles
from the 1970s through the 1990s consider
the health and policy implications.
Conflict in the Balkans (March, 1999)
"The Balkans," Robert D. Kaplan wrote in the July, 1989, Atlantic, "could shape the end of the century, just as they did the beginning." Ten years later, NATO is waging war against Yugoslavia. Atlantic articles from 1913 to 1995 help put the conflict in perspective.
Balkan Epic (March, 1999)
In 1937 the novelist Rebecca West traveled to the Balkans in search of a better understanding of that region's historical conflicts. Her classic account of that journey, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, appeared first in The Atlantic Monthly in 1941.
the Kurds? (February, 1999)
Two Atlantic articles from the past decade—one by Robert D. Kaplan, the other by Laurie Mylroie—put the "Kurdish problem" in perspective.
Shakespeare (February, 1999)
Everybody's talking about Shakespeare in Love. But did Shakespeare actually write the plays and poems he's famous for? In 1991 The Atlantic published a debate of sorts on the topic.
A Moderate's Role (February, 1999)
The late King Hussein managed for more than four decades to maintain power and authority in Jordan—a daunting task, given the country's complex social and political makeup. In 1981 The Atlantic published a close look at the forces at play in Hussein's kingdom. It remains accurate today.
Social Insecurity (January, 1999)
Three years ago The Atlantic's editors called for straight talk about Social Security. A year later Peter G. Peterson took up the challenge and asked, "Will America Grow Up Before It Grows Old?"
The Clinton Era (January, 1999)
A look back at Atlantic articles—by James Fallows, Thomas Byrne Edsall, Peter Edelman, and others—assessing Bill Clinton and his presidency.
Kerouac and the Beats (November, 1998)
Atlantic articles by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs, and Atlantic reviews—including the magazine's 1957 review of On the Road.
Into Orbit—and Beyond (November, 1998)
How did The Atlantic report on John Glenn's first flight into orbit? A look at how far we've come since the earliest days of the space program.
Ballbark Memories (October, 1998)
As the historic 1998 season heads into its final days, here's a look back at some memorable baseball moments from The Atlantic's archives.
Recipe for a Depression (September, 1998)
In July, 1996, a pair of Atlantic articles warned that bipartisan economic policy, combined with global forces of the past twenty-five years, could lead to an economic collapse. Were the authors right?
"First Wave at Omaha Beach" (August, 1998)
Steven Spielberg is being hailed for his unsparingly realistic portrayal of the D-Day invasion, in Saving Private Ryan. S.L.A. Marshall's account in the November, 1960 Atlantic is equally powerful.
Great Books (July, 1998)
The Modern Library has had its say. Why not take a look back at what The Atlantic Monthly has had to say over the years about some of the greatest literary works of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?
Gone With the Wind (July, 1998)
In 1973, Gavin Lambert told of the fortuitous circumstances that brought this would-be American epic to life, and a group of critics—including Stanley Kauffmann, Judith Crist, and Arthur Schlesinger Jr.—attempted to explain its perennial popularity.
Our Real China Problem (June, 1998)
"What happens in China," Mark Hertsgaard wrote in The Atlantic last November, "is central to one of the great questions of our time: Will human civilization survive the many environmental pressures crowding in on it at the end of the twentieth century?"
Nuclear Warnings (June, 1998)
Lest we forget, in the wake of nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan, here are two first-hand accounts of the devastation of Hiroshima—vivid reminders of what nuclear weapons do to human beings. Plus, a few words from Albert Einstein.
Goldwater and the Conservative 1960s (June, 1998)
As Matthew Dallek argued in the December, 1995, Atlantic, from the perspective of the 1990s Barry Goldwater's rise to prominence was the political story of the era.
The 1964 Election (June, 1998)
In a rare political endorsement, Atlantic editor Edward Weeks threw the magazine's support behind Lyndon Johnson—and had some harsh words for Senator Goldwater.
Seeing Ourselves in Seinfeld (May, 1998)
"Comedy," Francis Davis wrote in the December, 1992, Atlantic, "is something television now does better than any other medium, including the movies."
Israel at 50 (April, 1998)
Atlantic articles from 1919 to 1993—including "The Kingdom of the Spirit," by David Ben-Gurion—trace the origins and history of the Jewish state.
Indonesia's Search for Order (March, 1998)
Asia and the world have changed dramatically since Suharto came to power—but the fundamental questions facing Indonesia remain the same.
Remembering Martha Gellhorn (March, 1998)
An Atlantic contributor for more than three decades, she was one of the century's most admired and courageous journalists.
Our Interests in the Gulf (February, 1998)
Is going to war against Iraq in America's national interest? Two articles on the 1991 Gulf War put the current crisis in perspective.
Castro's Cuba and the Pope (January, 1998)
Three recent Atlantic articles shed light on the place, the president, and the pontiff.
A Kinder, Gentler Iran? (January, 1998)
As the U.S. puzzles over new overtures from Teheran, a look back at Atlantic articles by Robert D. Kaplan, Edward Shirley, and V. S. Naipaul.
How the World Works (December, 1997)
East Asia's financial woes have prompted claims of victory for American-style capitalism. But as James Fallows argued in December, 1993, Asia was actually following our example.
Taking Stock (November, 1997)
A bit of Wall St. wisdom from J. K. Galbraith—and a dash of levity from "Brutus."
Prophets of the Computer Age (October, 1997)
In light of new breakthroughs, two prescient Atlantic articles—Vannevar Bush's "As We May Think" and Martin Greenberger's "The Computers of Tomorrow"—seem all the more remarkable.
Educational Measures (September, 1997)
There's much more to the questions about standards and testing than most politicians would have us believe.
Indian Passages (August, 1997)
A hundred and forty years of Atlantic articles about India reveal as much
about the world's evolving view of India as they do about India itself.
Nations of the World, Unite! (August, 1997)
The League of Nations fell victim to America's aloofness. Does the United
Nations face the same fate?
Striking a Balance? (August, 1997)
Strikes like that of UPS garner a lot of attention, but what is their effectiveness as a voice for the working class and as an instrument for settling its grievances?
Hong Kong's Future, Then and Now. (July, 1997)
Speculation over Hong Kong's future has intensified since the handover to China. But how did the future look in 1957, 1967, and 1991?
Our Place in Space. (July, 1997)
As Sojourner crawls across the Martian landscape, a look back at Atlantic articles tracing our long preoccupation with the extraterrestrial.
Swiss Banks, Nazi Plunder. (June, 1997)
Some damages are irreparable, some losses unrecoverable. Atlantic articles on the legacy of the Nazi past.
Weird Sports. (May, 1997)
A collection of recent Atlantic sports writing that should give you a few ideas about how -- or how not -- to spend your leisure time.
John Muir's Yosemite. (May, 1997)
From the journals of a young amateur naturalist who changed our relationship to the land.
The Paradoxical Case of Tony Blair. (May, 1997)
Why Britain's new Prime Minister is "a freak of political nature."
Enigma of the Balkans. (April, 1997)
Articles by Peter Ustinov, Robert Kaplan, and others who have reported on Albania for The Atlantic.
Henry James and The Atlantic Monthly. (April, 1997)
A retrospective collection from The Atlantic's past.
Department of Dirty Tricks. (March, 1997)
"The business of intelligence has its ugly side." Thomas Powers tells the story of former CIA director Richard Helms.
Markets and Medicine. (March, 1997)
A new study questions the efficiency of for-profit hospitals. Michael Crichton and Arnold S. Relman weigh in on the commercialization of health care.
Moving Toward the Clonal Man. (March, 1997)
Is this what we want? Nobel-prize winner James D. Watson took on the issue more than a quarter-century before Dolly was "born."
China's Gilded Age. (March, 1997)
"How China after Deng's death can combine a capitalist economy with its legacy of communism is anybody's guess."
Black History, American History (February, 1997)
A look back at seminal essays by Atlantic
contributors Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and
Martin Luther King Jr.
Cold War, Part II? (February, 1997)
NATO is set to expand into Eastern Europe. Does the West have
reason to fear Russia? Atlantic articles discuss the history
and possible future of NATO.
Dubious Donations (February, 1997)
A consideration of campaign-finance reform . . . by Theodore Roosevelt.
More News About Breast Cancer (February, 1997)
In light of recent findings by the National Institutes of Health, we're
revisiting David Plotkin's June, 1996, cover story and readers'
Death, Legal and Illegal (January, 1997)
The issue of doctor-assisted suicide has at last
reached the Supreme Court. In this 1974 Atlantic article Catholic
theologian Daniel Maguire considers the legal and moral ramifications of "mercy
Military (December, 1996)
Explorations, both past and present, of the
military's efforts to redefine itself in a rapidly changing world.
Ghosts of Christmases
Past (December, 1996)
Three Christmas stories published in The Atlantic near the turn of the century.
The Historical Jesus (December, 1996)
In the December, 1986, cover story, titled "Who Do Men Say
That I Am?", Cullen Murphy surveyed trends in the study of the "historical
Jesus" and found scholarship that "is among the least antiquarian of historical
or theological pursuits."
Central Africa (November, 1996)
Several past articles put the most recent Rwandan
refugee crisis in perspective and evaluate various approaches to offering
assistance and intervention.
Crime and Punishment (November, 1996)
The crime rate is the lowest it's been in years.
Are we finally conquering the problem? Or are we about to experience the
biggest crime wave yet?
Portraits of Picasso (October, 1996)
Picasso was a dominating presence in twentieth-century art. The same was
true for his personal relationships, as is shown in the new Merchant-Ivory film Surviving Picasso. The Atlantic has run three cover-story profiles of Picasso over the years—in 1957, 1964, and 1988—all of which we've gathered here.
Atlantic Autumn (October, 1996)
Autumn is again upon us, bringing fresh delight in woodsmoke, hot cider, tart apples, colorful foliage, and crisp cold air. Atlantic contributors have waxed poetic about the season over the years, and we thought you'd enjoy a fall sampler.
The '96 Olympics (August, 1996)
In "High Hurdles and White Gloves" an athlete of the First Olympiad
recounts the spectacle that was the Athens Games of 1896.
Turmoil (July, 1996)
The recent bombing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, may force
the United States to rethink its level of engagement in the unstable Middle
East. Three Atlantic authors tackle the issues of politics, oil, and the Persian Gulf.
Honors: "In the Strawberry Fields" (June, 1996)
Eric Schlosser's November, 1995, article on migrant farmworkers in the
California strawberry industry received a prestigious Sidney Hillman
Foundation award for magazine writing. Here's the article, along with
Schlosser's remarks upon accepting the award.
Can The Tobacco Industry Regulate Itself? (June, 1996)
The nation's largest tobacco manufacturer has said it will join the fight
to prevent underage smoking in exchange for one thing: autonomous
regulation. A 1965 article shows why this is an all-too-familiar
Property Pirates (June, 1996)
As the U.S. government reproves China for its disrespect of intellectual-property rights, we may do well to remember that our own past
record in that area has been less than impeccable.
Natural Selections? (May, 1996)
With limited resources, how do we decide which species to protect? And
does protecting one species justify harming another? These questions of
"stewardship" were addressed in a 1992 Atlantic article by Charles
Mann and Mark Plummer.
Perpetual Controversy (April, 1996)
A collection of articles from the beginning of the century and from the 1990s shows that immigration—and
how to deal with it—has long been an American preoccupation.
Mutilation (April, 1996)
Nineteen-year-old Fauzia Kasinga made the headlines when she sought asylum
in this country to avoid female genital mutilation in her homeland of Togo.
An October, 1995, Atlantic article discussed the prevalence of FGM
in the United States and described one woman's crusade to combat it.
Prayer vs. Pills (March, 1996)
The Supreme Court recently upheld a ruling against a Christian-Scientist
couple whose diabetic son died when they denied him insulin treatment.
Should parents be held liable for the failure of prayer to heal a
dangerously ill child? An April, 1995, article by Caroline Fraser considered
One China? (March, 1996)
Taiwan has affirmed its commitment to democracy in the face of Beijing's
saber-rattling. Where do U.S. interests lie? We look back at U.S.-China
relations during the past century, with articles by John K. Fairbank,
Orville Schell, and others.
The Middle East:
Peace in Jeopardy? (March, 1996)
Atlantic articles from 1969, 1985, and 1993 help put hopes for Middle East peace in historical perspective.
Day (February, 1996)
A look at Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln--three presidents whose legendary stature has inspired contributions to The Atlantic since the magazine's inception.
Flat-Tax Proposals (January, 1996)
Steve Forbes's recent proposal for a flat income tax sparked heated debate. In
August, 1952, the Dean of Harvard's Law School warned against a similar
plan that was then before Congress.
Snow (January, 1996)
Atlantic Managing Editor Cullen Murphy looks at the crucial and
largely unrecognized roles that snow plays in our lives.
Education (December, 1995)
A sampling of Atlantic articles from the 1890s to the 1990s that have
discussed the education and empowerment of African-Americans.
Twentieth-Century Witnesses (December, 1995)
A collection--featuring two autobiographical essays by Conor Cruise
O'Brien and an article on the children of Ulster by Robert Coles--that
traces the story of Ireland's troubles in this century.
Trials (November, 1995)
Two articles from 1946 consider the precedent set at Nuremberg
fifty years ago.
The State of
Israel (November, 1995)
Articles from 1949 to 1993, by David Ben-Gurion and others, look at various aspects of the spiritual and national project that is Israel.
Budget (October, 1995)
Can it be done? Should it be done? Writings on these questions from the
past sixty years.
The Trial of the
Century? (October, 1995)
The O.J. Simpson trial may have been the media event of the decade, but
was it the "Trial of the Century"? In 1927 the Sacco-Vanzetti verdict
sparked international protest and raised questions that are still timely.
A collection of articles on Sacco-Vanzetti and the American legal system.
Should We Outlaw
Smoking? (August, 1995)
Articles dating back to 1860 rhapsodize about the joys of smoking, lament
the difficulties of quitting, point to the correlation between smoking and
lung cancer, and explain why we smoke in the first place.
A Century of
Gardens (July, 1995)
Four articles from different time periods discuss the pleasures of gardens and
Alcott (July, 1995)
Until recently, her literary reputation was synomous with
that of Little Women. But a very different facet of her work has come
to light. Herewith four short stories from The Atlantic Monthly
that demonstrate Alcott's little-known penchant for romantic fantasy.
No Hard Feelings? (July, 1995)
President Clinton has finally established full diplomatic relations with Vietnam. Recent Atlantic articles explore Americans' ambivalence toward such a move.
Affirmative Action (May, 1995)
Is affirmative action Reverse Racism? McGeorge Bundy, Stanley Fish, and
others offer differing viewpoints.
Can We Afford a Tax
Cut? (May, 1995)
How much tax relief can we afford? It's not a new question. See articles
culled from the past five decades, including Lester Thurow's "Getting
Serious About Tax Reform" (1981).
Debate (May, 1995)
Welfare "as we know it" may be headed for extinction. Two articles,
including Irving Kristol's 1971 treatment of the subject, offer past
The Decline of
Film? (March, 1995)
Movie critics Pauline Kael and Michael Sragow comment on the state of the art.
See the following collections of Atlantic articles on some of the major political and social issues of the day:
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