Browse back issues of The Atlantic from 1857 to present
that have appeared on the Web.
From September 1995 to the present, the archive is essentially complete,
with the exception of a few articles,
the online rights to which are held exclusively by the authors.
A Muslim among Israeli settlers, the pearl at the center of an 80-year-old hoax, Marti Noxon putting women’s rage on TV, and pop culture’s response to Trump. Plus, Kissinger on AI and the end of humanity, an interview with Seth Meyers, the search for life on Mars, NRATV, and more.
The Sports Report: Malcolm Jenkins, praise for fair-weather fans, Floyd Landis takes down Lance Armstrong, and the mobster who bought his kid a hockey team. Plus the U.S. military’s plunging morale, James Fallows on reinventing America, a new era of fake videos, an interview with Issa Rae, and more.
The women who busted a con man, refugee detectives in Germany, and why cartoonists struggle with drawing Trump. Plus the problem with Nancy Pelosi’s effectiveness, BLM meets sci-fi, an interview with Cory Booker, fiction by Mary Morris, and much more.
Why the Chinese love Trump, Paul Manafort and the corruption of U.S. politics, how we will feed the new global middle class, and why you should boycott the GOP. Plus, Mark Bowden revisits the world’s most body-conscious man, Caitlin Flanagan on Modesty Blaise, the failure of American democracy, fiction by Will Mackin, and more.
Russia’s election-hack gamble, God’s plan for Mike Pence, and the case against college for everyone. Plus, exoneration without DNA evidence, Eva Moskowitz’s charter-school revolution, the jellyfish apocalypse, and more.
The crucial hours after a fraternity pledge’s fall, what Thoreau really saw, and the secrets of Google’s moonshot factory. Plus, the enduring appeal of Joni Mitchell, the science behind Mona Lisa’s smile, and more.
A damage report on the presidency by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Eliot Cohen, and Jack Goldsmith. Plus, Woody Allen’s lazy filmmaking, Joyce Maynard’s personal-essay domination, and why happy people cheat on their spouses.
A family’s secret slave in America, Richard Spencer’s transformation, skydiving from space, and a new approach to helping psychopathic children. Plus, Pixar’s decline, Trump’s potential impact on the economy, and more.
The Money Report: how online shopping makes suckers of us all, how Walmart tricks people into saving, the plan to end Europe, and late-night comedy’s role in the rise of Trump. Plus, apps for aid in a humanitarian crisis, and more.
Kellyanne Conway as the Trump whisperer, Pleistocene Park, why Silicon Valley is so awful to women, and what your therapist doesn’t know. Plus, what secularization has done to American politics, and more.
President Trump’s autocratic potential, a social-media mom’s empire, blue cities in red states, and luxury doomsday bunkers. Plus, what sexuality looked like in the Victorian era, how to fix Hollywood, and more.
The Tech Issue: The view from Silicon Valley, how social media is changing war, and breaking your internet addiction. Plus, a rare presidential endorsement, Jane Jacobs on the fragility of democracy, and much more
The Politics Issue: A presidential Ponzi scheme, sizing up the debates, Trump’s punk-rock appeal, and female-leader backlash. Plus, museums learn to love selfies, the failure of poetry, Ta-Nehisi Coates on O. J. Simpson, and much more.
Transplanting human heads to save lives, evaluating U.S. homeland security 15 years after 9/11, how the plight of the white underclass drives American politics, reclaiming critical inquiry in Vietnamese schools, and much more
The mystery behind Jesus’s (probably fake) wife, white nationalism in the GOP, the timepieces of the rich and famous (and powerful), a potential diagnosis on American politics, Liberia after Ebola, and much more
Several new discoveries suggest that our species didn’t arise from a single point in space. Instead, the entire continent was our cradle.
There is a decades-old origin story for our species, in which we descended from a group of hominids who lived somewhere in Africa around 200,000 years ago. Some scientists have placed that origin in East Africa; others championed a southern birthplace. In either case, the narrative always begins in one spot. Those ancestral hominids, probably Homo heidelbergensis, slowly accumulated the characteristic features of our species—the rounded skull, small face, prominent chin, advanced tools, and sophisticated culture. From that early cradle, we then spread throughout Africa, and eventually the world.
But some scientists are now arguing that this textbook narrative is wrong in its simplicity, linearity, and geography. Yes, we evolved from ancestral hominids in Africa, but we did it in a complicated fashion—one that involves the entire continent.
A major new study questions the common wisdom about how we should choose our careers.
Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, remembers asking an undergraduate seminar recently, “How many of you are waiting to find your passion?”
“Almost all of them raised their hand and got dreamy looks in their eyes,” she told me. They talked about it “like a tidal wave would sweep over them,” he said. Sploosh. Huzzah! It’s accounting!
Would they have unlimited motivation for their passion? They nodded solemnly.
“I hate to burst your balloon,” she said, “but it doesn’t usually happen that way.”
What Dweck asked her students is a common refrain in American society. The term “Follow your passion” has increased ninefold in English books since 1990. “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” is another college-counseling standby of unknown provenance.
The class divide is already toxic, and is fast becoming unbridgeable. You’re probably part of the problem.
1. The Aristocracy Is Dead …
For about a week every year in my childhood, I was a member of one of America’s fading aristocracies. Sometimes around Christmas, more often on the Fourth of July, my family would take up residence at one of my grandparents’ country clubs in Chicago, Palm Beach, or Asheville, North Carolina. The breakfast buffets were magnificent, and Grandfather was a jovial host, always ready with a familiar story, rarely missing an opportunity for gentle instruction on proper club etiquette. At the age of 11 or 12, I gathered from him, between his puffs of cigar smoke, that we owed our weeks of plenty to Great-Grandfather, Colonel Robert W. Stewart, a Rough Rider with Teddy Roosevelt who made his fortune as the chairman of Standard Oil of Indiana in the 1920s. I was also given to understand that, for reasons traceable to some ancient and incomprehensible dispute, the Rockefellers were the mortal enemies of our clan.
Tim Piazza fought for his life for 12 hours before his Beta Theta Pi brothers called 911. By then, it was too late.
At about 3 p.m. on Friday, February 3, Tim Piazza, a sophomore at Penn State University, arrived at Hershey Medical Center by helicopter. Eighteen hours earlier, he had been in the kind of raging good health that only teenagers enjoy. He was a handsome, redheaded kid with a shy smile, a hometown girlfriend, and a family who loved him very much. Now he had a lacerated spleen, an abdomen full of blood, and multiple traumatic brain injuries. He had fallen down a flight of stairs during a hazing event at his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, but the members had waited nearly 12 hours before calling 911, relenting only when their pledge “looked fucking dead.” Tim underwent surgery shortly after arriving at Hershey, but it was too late. He died early the next morning.
Just as the Russian leader has unleashed his intelligence and security services, the American president has kneecapped and undermined his own.
It was going to be Donald Trump’s “easiest” meeting, at least according to Trump himself. After a week of tense exchanges with allies in Brussels and then the U.K., the U.S president would head to Helsinki for his first formal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Then on Friday, right as the president was settling down to tea with the Queen, the indictments came; the Justice Department accused 12 officers of Russian intelligence with specific crimes related to meddling in the 2016 election—the one U.S. intelligence says the Russians wanted to throw to Trump.
If Trump is worried this will cast a pall over the summit, American intelligence officials have plenty of other reasons to worry about the meeting. Notwithstanding any indictment-related awkwardness, the summit will still be a gift to Putin—an unearned opportunity for him to break out of his immediate struggles and achieve a variety of otherwise impossible goals. Indeed, through a number of aggressive and provocative actions that appeared to provide short-term wins, Putin has nonetheless gotten himself trapped. His country is heavily sanctioned, economically weak, overextended, and lacking in allies. His unprovoked land grab in Crimea, attack on neighboring Ukraine, electoral interference in the U.S. and Europe, assassination of opponents, support to Syria’s bloody dictator Bashar al-Assad and constant lies have left him ostracized in much of the developed world. He can no longer offer his people wealth or the vision of a better future. He instead relies on the tools of oppression and scapegoats to blame for his failures. The dynamic is unlikely to change anytime soon.
The Russian leader knows Trump needs to walk away claiming victory. That gives the Kremlin an advantage.
What happens when The Art of the Deal meets the Kremlin playbook? Given that, as one depressed NSC staffer put it to me, “our job is to build a bridge between the real world and the president’s,” the real risk is not that Donald Trump actually gives away the farm to Vladimir Putin when they meet in Helsinki next week—it’s what happens in Washington if he tries.
The sport’s top tier is organized around the goal of producing a tiny group of elite players, at the expense of kids’—and parents’—well-being.
In the late 1970s, when he was 10, Rob Nissen played for the only soccer team available to kids in his middle-class, New Jersey town. “It cost $20 to join, and you got a T-shirt and you played,” said Nissen, who today is a book publicist, still in New Jersey. On Saturdays, he would put on his white canvas Keds and head over to the one park in town that was big enough to accommodate an actual game. No girls’ teams waited on the sidelines—only boys played soccer. Soccer has come a long way in America. Today, millions of American boys and girls play it. It’s a shift that has delighted many: the sport’s fanatics, parents who don’t want their children getting tackled on football fields, and the kids themselves, who often develop a lifelong passion for the sport.
When they were invented, the vessels promised to revolutionize travel and industry. But they soon settled into life as an entertaining diversion. An Object Lesson.
The first hot-air balloons drew huge crowds, inspiring onlookers to cry, laugh, even faint. One witness wrote, “Since these exhibitions, there seems to prevail a kind of aerial phrenzy among us. The term ‘balloon’ is not only in the mouth of everyone, but all our world seems to be in the clouds.” For some, the new invention was the culmination of Enlightenment science, the pinnacle of human ingenuity. Grand schemes abounded: using balloons to carry mail, to improve cartography, to bombard enemy fortifications. Then, almost overnight, the fervor subsided as everyone sobered to the fact that these vehicles, which couldn’t be steered, were largely useless.
Balloons have always moved minds better than they’ve moved bodies. The upward lift mimics the feeling of ideas drifting into the mind. The haphazard flight path suggests the possibility of being whisked to some faraway world—to Oz, for instance. But today, people are far less likely to have ridden in a balloon than to have read about one in fiction.
More meme accounts are going private. Their owners say it’s a new way to gain followers on a crowded platform.
Over the past six months, some of Instagram’s biggest meme pages—like Shithead Steve, with more than 2.5 million followers, howitlook.s (8 million), couplesnote, (8.2 million) greatercomedy, (5.3 million), Pubity (5.1 million), and more—have locked down their accounts, forcing non-followers to request access in order to view their content.
“I’m getting real SICK of private meme pages,” one Twitter user posted on Monday. “There’s no logical reason for these insta meme pages to be on private,” another says. “Can we all start boycotting private meme pages on IG ???” begs another.
But while followers may hate it, going private is a new way for professional and semi-professional Instagrammers to stay afloat in a crowded market on an increasingly volatile platform.
What a growing body of research reveals about the biology of human happiness—and how to navigate the (temporary) slump in middle age
This summer, a friend called in a state of unhappy perplexity. At age 47, after years of struggling to find security in academia, he had received tenure. Instead of feeling satisfied, however, he felt trapped. He fantasized about escape. His reaction had taken him by surprise. It made no sense. Was there something wrong with him? I gave him the best answer I know. I told him about the U-curve.
Not everyone goes through the U-curve. But many people do, and I did. In my 40s, I experienced a lot of success, objectively speaking. I was in a stable and happy relationship; I was healthy; I was financially secure, with a good career and marvelous colleagues; I published a book, wrote for top outlets, won a big journalism prize. If you had described my own career to me as someone else’s, or for that matter if you had offered it to me when I was just out of college, I would have said, “Wow, I want that!” Yet morning after morning (mornings were the worst), I would wake up feeling disappointed, my head buzzing with obsessive thoughts about my failures. I had accomplished too little professionally, had let life pass me by, needed some nameless kind of change or escape.