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.
Chasing Joan Didion, flawed forensic science, Ukrainian refugees in Poland, and how politics poisoned evangelical churches. Plus losing Medgar Evers, the words that lead to mass murder, Tracy Flick, Werner Herzog, chewing gum, primates and patriarchy, and more.
Preparing for the end of Roe, Europe’s ex-royals, tour guides to a tragedy, and how social media shattered society. Plus Winslow Homer, the myth of the liberal world order, a new history of WWII, ending mom guilt, the price of privacy, and more.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, an inmate advocates for his own death, finding empathy for COVID skeptics, and new fiction by Paul Yoon. Plus Death Be Not Proud, a Beat Generation friendship, lessons from Harry Truman, and more.
How to find happiness: the satisfaction trap, friendship, and changing your personality. Plus the betrayal of Afghan allies, the myth of ‘the Latino vote,’ bald eagles, Sheila Heti, Method acting, lateness, and more.
Trump’s next coup, the myth of voter fraud, Peter Meijer’s lonely stand, and what happened to American conservatism. Plus moral panic, Johnny Cash, U.S. money laundering, Milton, civil-war prophecies, Hanya Yanagihara’s latest, and more.
The autocrats are winning, the antiquities cop, death comes to the boxing ring, and France’s God complex. Plus the end of trust, the advertising singularity, BBQ chips, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Mozart and forgiveness, new fiction by hurmat kazmi, and more.
The men killing America’s newspapers, how Slack upended the workplace, and the new meth. Plus how Facebook is a hostile foreign power, the engineers’ daughter, the collapse of music genres, Dostoyevsky, W. G. Sebald, nasty return logistics, and more.
Black TV writers and producers, converging megafires, America’s Atlantis, and the new Puritans. Plus portraits from Afghanistan, Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Peter Thiel, Nate Bargatze, Formula 1, guilt-free sex, and more.
One family 20 years after 9/11, how the creative class broke America, and remembering Emmett Till. Plus a 17th-century priest’s radical feminism, the problem with anti-racist self-help, morning people, why Millennials love dogs, Sally Rooney, Douglas Tompkins, and more.
Boris Johnson, the world Kodak made, six months in a meatpacking plant, and George Packer on the four Americas. Plus drinking alone, police unions, Top Gun, the war on Bollywood, an ode to procrastination, and more.
Why Confederate lies live on, Black America’s origin stories, Red Cross quarantine ships, Brett Kavanaugh, and new fiction from Morgan Thomas. Plus the Appalachian Elvis, Richard Wright, post-COVID fashion, Stacey Abrams’s fiction, flip phones, and more.
Return the national parks to the tribes, how we’ll remember the pandemic, a kidnapping gone wrong, and the women reinventing the Western. Plus American exclusion, Zoom justice, Andrew Yang, puberty TV, first ladies, giant closets, and more.
Private schools and inequity, fixing the internet, America’s reliance on special ops, and understanding long COVID. Plus new fiction by Paul Yoon, pandemic merch, Beirut after the blast, Kazuo Ishiguro’s radiant robot, Sam Sifton’s no-recipe recipes, and more.
Inheritance: Narratives of the enslaved, forgotten founder Prince Hall, the Voting Rights Act, and Anna Deavere Smith on forging Black identity. Plus Charles “Teenie” Harris, ultra-fast fashion, the Earth’s deep past, Caroline Shaw, hyperpop, nervous breakdowns, and more.
The pandemic endgame, the most American religion, and how Biden should hold Trump accountable. Plus Martellus Bennett, China’s rebel historians, new fiction by Te-Ping Chen, installment plans, suffragists, Martin Amis, and more.
The Tech Issue: The last children of Down syndrome, the most famous teens on TikTok, and can history predict the future? Plus therapy and parental alienation, why remote learning isn’t the only problem with school, Eddie Murphy’s return, the existential despair of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Adrienne Rich, and more.
The election that could break America, pro-Trump militant groups, niche sports and Ivy League admissions, and how China is rewriting global rules. Plus the last exit before autocracy, the making of Malcolm X, agony aunts, pandemic nesting, the Jefferson Bible, Kamala Harris’s ambition, British police shows, and more.
Making America again: The new Reconstruction, America’s plastic hour, and the flawed genius of the Constitution. Plus disaster and the modern city, Donald Judd, Black mayors remaking the South, Claudia Rankine, Hillary Rodham Clinton on women’s rights, and more.
How the virus won, America’s denial about racism, China’s AI surveillance state, what MasterClass really sells, and novelist Gayl Jones. Plus racial-progess myths, how protest works, Elena Ferrante’s latest, Erin Brockovich, looking for Frederick Douglass, Putin’s rise, and more.
Trump’s collaborators, the genius of supermarkets, the looming bank collapse, and unloved children. Plus new fiction by Andrew Martin, the end of minimalism, Big Tech and the plague, Kevin Kwan, Ai Weiwei on the pandemic, Lauren Groff on Florida, and more.
QAnon and conspiracies, the phantom papyrus, Russian election hacking, and the summer of Snowden. Plus sadcoms, the U.S. as failed state, and birds, with essays by Caitlin Flanagan, Thomas Lynch, Vann R. Newkirk II, and more.
The anxious child, the lawyer whose clients didn’t exist, fighting America’s opioid epidemic, and H. R. McMaster on what China wants. Plus friendship with Philip Roth, ending the office dress code, Joey Votto, Calder’s art, Robert Stone’s novels, and more.
How to destroy a government, tackling giraffes, and does Reiki work? Plus a Colorado murder, capitalism’s addiction problem, Michael Pollan on coffee, “premiocrity,” fallibility, weirdos, Hilary Mantel, and more.
The 2020 disinformation war, David Brooks on the nuclear family, #MeToo and the abortion-rights movement, and new fiction by Samantha Hunt. Plus trusting Nate Silver, the Supreme Court’s enduring bias, climate change and peer pressure, an ode to cold showers, and more.
The miseducation of the American boy, John Hendrickson on Joe Biden’s stutter, 20,000 feet under the sea, and a thriving conservative-Catholic community in Kansas. Plus Charlize Theron, Silicon Valley’s failure to deliver, the myth of free shipping, how flamenco went pop, and more.
A fierce debate is raging within the U.S. Marine Corps about what comes next.
On March 9, 1862, the Union warship Monitormet its Confederate counterpart, Virginia. After a four-hour exchange of fire, the two fought to a draw. It was the first battle of ironclads. In one day, every wooden ship of the line of every naval power became immediately obsolete.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. If the battle of the ironclads settled once and for all the wood-versus-iron debate, Japanese carrier-based aircraft settled the battleship-versus-carrier debate by sinking the cream of America’s battleship fleet in a single morning.
On April 14, 2022, the Ukrainians sank the Russian cruiser Moskva with a pair of Neptune anti-ship missiles. And that success posed an urgent question to the world’s major militaries: Has another age of warfare just begun? After 20 years spent fighting the post-9/11 wars, the United States military’s attention is again focused on a peer-level adversary. The Pentagon hasn’t been thinking this way since the Cold War, and it is attempting a profound transformation. Today, fierce debate attends this transformation, and nowhere more acutely than in the Marine Corps.
When a currency’s value is based on belief alone, it’s liable to evaporate.
Carnage in the cryptocurrency market is nothing new. Over the past decade, even as the value of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether has risen sharply, crashes have been a regular feature of the market. (There’s a reason HODL—“Hold on for dear life”—is a mantra among crypto believers.) But even by crypto standards, the destruction of value over the past six months—and in particular, over the past few weeks—has been staggering.
Since November, something like $1.5 trillion in cryptocurrency value has been erased. Bitcoin and Ethereum, the market’s bellwethers, are both down about 60 percent from their peaks. And most strikingly, the so-called stablecoin Terra and its sister token, Luna, which together were valued at about $60 billion six weeks ago, imploded in a matter of days and are now essentially worthless.
The U.S. is more dangerously divided than any other wealthy democracy. Is there a way back from the brink?
Until a few decades ago, most Democrats did not hate Republicans, and most Republicans did not hate Democrats. Very few Americans thought the policies of the other side were a threat to the country or worried about their child marrying a spouse who belonged to a different political party.
All of that has changed. A 2016 survey found that 60 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of Republicans would now balk at their child’s marrying a supporter of a different political party. In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, the Pew Research Center reported that roughly nine out of 10 supporters of Joe Biden and of Donald Trump alike were convinced that a victory by their opponent would cause “lasting harm” to the United States.
Educators need a plan ambitious enough to remedy enormous learning losses.
Starting in the spring of 2020, school boards and superintendents across the country faced a dreadful choice: Keep classrooms open and risk more COVID-19 deaths, or close schools and sacrifice children’s learning. In the name of safety, many districts shut down for long periods. But researchers are now learning that the closures came at a stiff price—a large decline in children’s achievement overall and a historic widening in achievement gaps by race and economic status.
The achievement loss is far greater than most educators and parents seem to realize. The only question now is whether state and local governments will recognize the magnitude of the educational damage and make students whole. Adults are free to disagree about whether school closures were justified or a mistake. But either way, children should not be stuck with the bill for a public-health measure taken on everyone’s behalf.
This article was featured in One Story to Read Today, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a single must-read from The Atlantic, Monday through Friday. Sign up for it here.
A shadow box above Rebecca’s dining-room table, hanging there since 2006, displays an autographed copy of the Pirates of the Caribbean script—signed by Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, and Johnny Depp. Though Rebecca, at age 36, is emphatically no longer a Depp fan, she says she keeps the script on her wall as a conversation starter. If someone asks about it, maybe she’ll go into the full story, rather than pretending she never liked Depp. “Also it’s not like it’s his smug little face,” she told me.
That face is everywhere right now, on account of Depp’s ongoing and highly public lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard. The case is complicated, and the testimony is rife with sordid, disturbing details. In short, Depp has taken Heard to court for defamation over a 2018 essay she published in The Washington Post that identified her as a victim of domestic abuse and sexual violence. Heard also made abuse allegations when she filed for divorce from Depp in early 2016, and was granted a restraining order against him.
Of the show’s big cast departures, this one will hurt the most.
From Kate McKinnon’s first sketch on Saturday Night Live in 2012, it was evident she’d be a star. Appearing in a Pantene commercial as Penélope Cruz, alongside then-host Sofía Vergara, McKinnon delivered Cruz’s Castilian Spanish accent with a winking twist. While Vergara focused on highlighting all of the healthy, easy-to-say ingredients, such as “aloe,” McKinnon as Cruz was left to outline the harmful, difficult-to-say ingredients the shampoo didn’t contain, such as “ammonium laureth sulfate.” McKinnon clearly relished the opportunity to build a character around that pronunciative challenge—a spirit that served her well, carrying her through 10 years of notable celebrity impressions and oddball characters, such as the senior-cat-adoption advocate Barbara DeDrew and veteran actor Debette Goldry.
Hundreds of thousands of deaths, from either tobacco or the pandemic, could be prevented with a single behavioral change.
It’s suddenly become acceptable to say that COVID is—or will soon be—like the flu. Such analogies have long been the preserve of pandemic minimizers, but lately they’ve been creeping into more enlightened circles. Last month the dean of a medical school wrote an open letter to his students suggesting that for a vaccinated person, the risk of death from COVID-19 is “in the same realm, or even lower, as the average American’s risk from flu.” A few days later, David Leonhardt said as much to his millions of readers in the The New York Times’ morning newsletter. And three prominent public-health experts have called for the government to recognize a “new normal” in which the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus “is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more.”
Facing the painful parts of life head-on is the only way to feel at home with yourself.
“How to Build a Life” is a weekly column by Arthur Brooks, tackling questions of meaning and happiness. Click here to listen to his podcast series on all things happiness, How to Build a Happy Life.
Some years ago, a friend told me that his marriage was suffering because he was on the road so much for work. I started counseling him on how to fix things—to move more meetings online, to make do with less money. But no matter what I suggested, he always had a counterargument for why it was impossible. Finally, it dawned on me: His issue wasn’t a logistics or work-management problem. It was a home problem. As he ultimately acknowledged, he didn’t like being there, but he was unwilling to confront the real source of his troubles.
A new viral outbreak is testing whether the world has learned anything from COVID.
Updated at 9:51 a.m. on May 20, 2022
Yesterday afternoon, I called the UCLA epidemiologist Anne Rimoin to ask about the European outbreak of monkeypox—a rare but potentially severe viral illness with dozens of confirmed or suspected cases in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal. “If we see those clusters, given the amount of travel between the United States and Europe, I wouldn’t be surprised to see cases here,” Rimoin, who studies the disease, told me. Ten minutes later, she stopped mid-sentence to say that a colleague had just texted her a press release: “Massachusetts Public Health Officials Confirm Case of Monkeypox.”
The virus behind monkeypox is a close relative of the one that caused smallpox but is less deadly and less transmissible, causing symptoms that include fever and a rash. Endemic to western and central Africa, it was first discovered in laboratory monkeys in 1958—hence the name—but the wild animals that harbor the virus are probably rodents. The virus occasionally spills over into humans, and such infections have become more common in recent decades. Rarely, monkeypox makes it to other continents, and when it does, outbreaks “are so small, they’re measured in single digits,” Thomas Inglesby, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told me. The only significant American outbreak occurred in 2003, when a shipment of Ghanaian rodents spread the virus to prairie dogs in Illinois, which were sold as pets and infected up to 47 people, none fatally. Just last year, two travelers independently carried the virus to the U.S. from Nigeria but infected no one else.
A new HBO documentary portrays the actor Evan Rachel Wood’s attempts to get justice for alleged abuse.
One of the visual conceits of Phoenix Rising—a new two-part HBO documentary about the actor Evan Rachel Wood’s allegations of abuse at the hands of the rock musician Marilyn Manson—is a series of animated sequences that portray Wood as a cherubic, Alice-like doll and Manson as a macabre monster whose darkness infects and imprisons her. It’s a curiously heavy-handed choice, as though Wood’s raw testimony weren’t enough. In reality, her recounting of the things she says Manson did to her is profoundly, indelibly disturbing.
Over the course of an on-and-off, almost-five-year relationship that started in 2006, Wood says, Manson whipped her with a Nazi whip; shocked her wounds using an electric sex toy; had sex with her while she was passed out; and forced her to drink his blood while he drank hers. She suspects he drugged her repeatedly. Wood describes alleged abuse so traumatic that, at one point, “I felt my brain change. I felt it almost calcify. And the world is never the same.”