In Part 3, “Reconciliation & Its Alternatives,” we feature Danielle Allen’s dazzling treatise, “The Road From Serfdom,” along with a call from James Mattis to remember and refine the principles of patriotism and national purpose. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the brilliant creator of Hamilton, makes the case for the indispensability of art in a polarized time. And Adam Serwer, one of the great chroniclers of the Trump era, offers a dissent to the idea that we should prize a return to civility, and argues against reconciliation as a substitute for truth-telling.
Elsewhere in this issue, you will find essays, reports, and interviews from some of our best writers: Megan Garber, Sophie Gilbert, David Frum, Graeme Wood, Adrienne Green. The multitalented Amanda Mull launches her new column, “Material World,” and we’ve reserved our back page for the singular James Parker.
Our immodest hope is that this special issue, appearing on newsstands exactly 162 years after our first issue, will provide at least a partial road map for a country stuck in a cul-de-sac of its own making.
CERTAIN FEATURES OF THE ATLANTIC have remained constant over the preceding 162 years—our commitment to publishing carefully considered narrative and strongly worded argument, for instance. Some things change periodically, though, including our design, and even our nameplate itself. This month marks the beginning of a new era for The Atlantic’s design. After much deliberation and experimentation (and trepidation), we have decided to replace our traditional cover logo—our flag—with a simple, declarative A. This dramatic new exterior look is matched by a reimagining of our interior aesthetic.
Earlier this year, we asked two of the great book and magazine designers of our time, Peter Mendelsund and Oliver Munday, to serve as The Atlantic’s creative leaders. Their mandate was to rethink everything about the way we present ourselves to the world, and they immediately set out to challenge our habits and assumptions. Their first step was to immerse themselves in our archives, in order to understand the evolution of our design language across the years. Their second step was to propose a bold change to our cover nameplate. The A, they argued, is classic, confident, and iconic. We already use the A across many of our platforms—the Atlantic app shows up on smartphone home screens as an A.
The redesign of our print magazine is the first phase of a redesign that will soon stretch across all of our journalism—you will shortly be seeing our new design concepts manifesting themselves on your screens, for instance.
The crucial goal of the Atlantic’s renovation is to help readers better understand our words, through clarity in typeface and design, and through investment in superior photography and illustration. Peter, Oliver, and their enormously talented team commissioned our first unique typeface—we call it Atlantic Condensed—built on the typeface first used in 1857. And they have weeded away many of the interior design features that have accreted over the decades. The goal of this effort is to make The Atlantic visually arresting, classically informed, and radically modern, all at the same time. Peter, Oliver, and their design team have achieved something remarkable, I believe. I hope you will agree.