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William Langewiesche
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Articles from The Atlantic Monthly

  • A Two-Planet Species? January/February 2004
    The right way to think about our space program.

  • Columbia's Last Flight, November 2003
    The inside story of the investigation—and the catastrophe it laid bare.

  • The Crash of EgyptAir 990, November 2001
    Two years afterward the U.S. and Egyptian governments are still quarreling over the cause—a clash that grows out of cultural division, not factual uncertainty. A look at the flight data from a pilot's perspective, with the help of simulations of the accident, points to what the Egyptians already know: the crash was caused not by any mechanical failure but by a pilot's intentional act.

  • Peace Is Hell, October 2001
    Every six months the Pentagon sends nearly 4,000 soldiers to Bosnia and brings the same number home. To see how it's done is to understand why the Pax Americana has stretched the mighty American military to the limit.

  • The Profits of Doom, April 2001
    One of the most polluted cities in America learns to capitalize on its contamination.

  • The Million-Dollar Nose, December 2000
    Robert Parker, the straight-talking American wine critic, is revolutionizing the industry -- and teaching the French wine establishment some lessons it would rather not learn.

  • Eden: A Gated Community, June 1999
    The story of a single-minded businessman turned environmentalist who bought a thousand square miles of Chile, determined to establish a wilderness park. He thought Chile would be grateful.

  • The Lessons of ValuJet 592, March 1998
    As a reconstruction of this terrible crash suggests, in complex systems some accidents may be "normal" -- and trying to prevent them all could even make operations more dangerous.

  • Slam and Jam, October 1997
    For all the reports of equipment failures and "close calls" and controller burnout, the nation's air-traffic-control system is in fact far less precarious, in terms of safety, than people imagine it to be. The real threat to the system's integrity has as yet received little attention.

  • Turabi's Law, August 1994
    Islamic government may be the future for a number of Middle Eastern and North African states. The experience of Sudan -- the second radical Islamic state after Iran -- suggests that it will be no panacea.

  • The Turn, December 1993
    At the very heart of winged flight lies the banked turn, a procedure that by now seems so routine and familiar that airline passengers appreciate neither its elegance and mystery nor its dangerously delusive character.

  • Vacations in the Sahara, November 1993
    Where the intrepid may find majestic solitude -- and 8,000 years of human history.

  • The World in Its Extreme, November 1991
    A Sahara Journal: Travels through a parched Islamic land so vast, so wild, so desolate, so complex, that it defies comprehension or measurement.

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