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.
The crisis in democracy: articles by Anne Applebaum, Stephen Breyer, Jeff Rosen, David Frum, Amy Chua, and others. Plus the price of sports protests, what getting shot taught Elaina Plott about American politics, the brutal truth about climate change, why #brands are not our friends, James Parker on Rick and Morty, and more.
How courtrooms are inhospitable to female trial lawyers, the nasty scientific feud over what killed the dinosaurs, and how your brain deceives you. Plus the rise of Latino populism, Caitlin Flanagan on ‘Lolita,’ American poetry’s next generation, what your work emails reveal, YouTube’s gun guru, and more.
The Health Report: America isn’t prepared for the next plague, the life-expectancy gap between black and white Americans, and when children say they’re trans. Plus William Langewiesche on a B-2 stealth raid in Libya, the formula for team chemistry, the dangers of distracted parenting, Jean-Michel Basquiat, weird DNA, and more.
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
She had her whole future mapped out when she met Ted Cruz, starting with her dream job in Washington. This is the story of what came after.
A whole new world—that is what Ted Cruz wanted to give her.
It was the spring of 2001, and Heidi Nelson was planning her nuptials to the man she’d met just over a year earlier. On Christmas break from Harvard Business School, she’d encountered the cocky and cerebral Cruz in Austin, Texas, where they were both working on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. He was “super-smart” and “really fun” and looked like a “1950s movie star.” “It was love at first sight,” she told me.
They filled those three weeks with movies and dinners and drives. Then he took her to the airport, where she’d get on a plane back to Boston. Call me every day when your day is done, she instructed him. And he did call her, every day that spring, at about 3 or 4 a.m. Later that summer, Ted gave her a strand of pearls. Probably fake, she still thinks, but they were from Bergdorf Goodman. And this was special: She’d mentioned once that she liked to go to Bergdorf’s, to look at the china and other delicate things behind glass, and he’d listened.
The one thing you probably understand about quantum physics is actually a poor metaphor for the modern state of the field.
I have suggested before that the one thing “everyone knows” about quantum mechanics is that the quantum world is fuzzy and uncertain. Actually, there’s another thing, too. “Everyone” has heard of Schrödinger’s cat.
That’s why there are so many jokes about it. Schrödinger is driving along when he is pulled over by a policeman. The officer looks the car over and asks Schrödinger if he has anything in the boot.
“A cat,” Schrödinger replies.
The policeman opens the boot and yells, “Hey! This cat is dead!”
Schrödinger replies angrily, “Well, he is now.”
As physics jokes go, it’s not so bad. At the least, it illustrates what a good job Schrödinger did in finding an image catchy enough to become a cultural meme.
The telephone swept into Americans’ lives in the first decades of the 20th century. At first, no one knew exactly how to telephone. Alexander Graham Bell wanted people to start conversations by saying, “Ahoy-hoy!” AT&T tried to prevent people from saying “hello,” arguing in Telephone Engineer magazine that it was rude.
But eventually, Americans learned to say “hello.” People built a culture around the phone that worked. Etiquette magazines tried to prevent women from inviting people over for dinner via telephone, then gave in. The doctor got a phone, so the pharmacist got a phone. It didn’t happen quickly, but it happened. And once it was done, during my childhood, these social customs sat between me and this raw technical artifact—the handset, the curly cord connecting it to the base, the wires running across the nation, coming together in vast switching stations, amplified, multiplexed, and then branching back out to the other cities, other neighborhoods, other blocks, other houses.
The official narrative will resonate differently inside and outside of the kingdom.
Seventeen days after the disappearance of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, authorities in Riyadh finally confirmed his death. According to the Saudi version of what happened, Khashoggi died after a fist fight between him and several men at the consulate in Istanbul. Authorities announced the arrest of 18 Saudi nationals, as well as the dismissal of top officials, including an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The gaps in this story are as significant as the announcement itself.
Saudi authorities did not reveal the location of Khashoggi’s body, which lends credence to the narrative attributed to Turkish officials over the past two weeks. Even before Turkish authorities were allowed to search the consulate and the residence of the consul general, they suggested that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate. They reached this conclusion based on video footage that showed Khashoggi entered the building but never came out. In an interview with Bloomberg, the crown prince, widely known as MbS, insisted that Khashoggi left the consulate—but if that were true the Saudis could have produced a body.
Youth isn’t a good proxy for support of political correctness, and race isn’t either.
On social media, the country seems to divide into two neat camps: Call them the woke and the resentful. Team Resentment is manned—pun very much intended—by people who are predominantly old and almost exclusively white. Team Woke is young, likely to be female, and predominantly black, brown, or Asian (though white “allies” do their dutiful part). These teams are roughly equal in number, and they disagree most vehemently, as well as most routinely, about the catchall known as political correctness.
Reality is nothing like this. As scholars Stephen Hawkins, Daniel Yudkin, Miriam Juan-Torres, and Tim Dixon argue in a report published Wednesday, “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape,” most Americans don’t fit into either of these camps. They also share more common ground than the daily fights on social media might suggest—including a general aversion to PC culture.
They live thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface. They eat hydrogen and exhale methane. And they may shape our world more profoundly than we can imagine.
Alexis Templeton remembers January 12, 2014, as the day the water exploded. A sturdy Pyrex bottle, sealed tight and filled with water, burst like a balloon.
Templeton had just guided her Land Cruiser across the bumpy, rock-strewn floor of Wadi Lawayni, a broad, arid valley that cuts through the mountains of Oman. She parked beside a concrete platform that rose from the ground, marking a recently drilled water well. Templeton uncapped the well and lowered a bottle into its murky depths, hoping to collect a sample of water from 850 feet below the surface.
Wadi Lawayni is enclosed by pinnacles of chocolate-brown rock, hard as ceramic yet rounded and sagging like ancient mud-brick ruins. This fragment of the Earth’s interior, roughly the size of West Virginia, was thrust to the surface through an accident of plate tectonics millions of years ago. These exotic rocks—an anomaly on Earth—had lured Templeton to Oman.
We don’t choose our siblings the way we choose our partners and friends. Of course, we don’t choose our parents either, but they usually make that up to us by sustaining us on the way to adulthood. Brothers and sisters are just sort of there. And yet, when it comes to our development, they can be more influential than parents. This holds whether they are older and cool, or younger and frustrating; whether we follow in their footsteps, or run screaming in the other direction.
Part of siblings’ sway has to do with their sheer presence. Eighty-two percent of kids live with a sibling  (a greater share than live with a father), and about 75 percent of 70-year-olds have a living sibling.  For those of us who have brothers or sisters, our relationships with them will likely be the longest of our life.
What are we to make of the deathbed confession of the political operative Lee Atwater, newly revealed, that he staged the events that brought down the Democratic candidate in 1987?
In the spring of 1990, after he had helped the first George Bush reach the presidency, the political consultant Lee Atwater learned that he was dying. Atwater, who had just turned 39 and was the head of the Republican National Committee, had suffered a seizure while at a political fund-raising breakfast and had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. In a year he was dead.
Atwater put some of that year to use making amends. Throughout his meteoric political rise he had been known for both his effectiveness and his brutality. In South Carolina, where he grew up, he helped defeat a congressional candidate who had openly discussed his teenage struggles with depression by telling reporters that the man had once been “hooked up to jumper cables.” As the campaign manager for then–Vice President George H. W. Bush in 1988, when he defeated Michael Dukakis in the general election, Atwater leveraged the issue of race—a specialty for him—by means of the infamous “Willie Horton” TV ad. The explicit message of the commercial was that, as governor of Massachusetts, Dukakis had been soft on crime by offering furloughs to convicted murderers; Horton ran away while on furlough and then committed new felonies, including rape. The implicit message was the menace posed by hulking, scowling black men—like the Willie Horton who was shown in the commercial.
The killing of Jamal Khashoggi has upended Washington’s policy debates.
“I know what I’m going to do: I’m going to sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.”
That’s what Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said last week, to the delight of Saudi Arabia’s detractors on social media. The man who only one week prior had been jeered by millions of Democrats for supporting Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation was seemingly redeemed among President Donald Trump’s critics.
The president’s supporters live a double-folded state of being, in which the same action that’s shameful for Democrats is praiseworthy for the GOP.
“Democrats have become the party of crime,” President Donald Trump declared on Thursday night at a rally in Missoula, Montana. At the same rally, Trump praised as “my kind of guy” a member of Congress who violently attacked a reporter, choked him, and then lied to the police about his crime.
Just a week before, Trump had praised his party as the party of “law and order and justice.” And only a week before that, The New York Times had published a huge, meticulously detailed report alleging decades of deliberate financial and tax fraud by Trump and his family.
It’s not just the president. In July, Donald Trump Jr. seemed extremely concerned about the potential for political rhetoric to incite violence. He condemned threats against Rand Paul, speculating that they had been incited by Maxine Waters, the California representative who had said, at a political rally, “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”