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.
James Fallows, "Why Iraq Has No Army"; Paul Bloom, "Is God an Accident?"; Christopher Hitchens, "Hurricane Lolita"; Mark Bowden on the Iran hostage crisis, Hanna Rosin on Jesus in Hollywood; Corby Kummer on Long Island Merlot; Nir Rosen on leaving Iraq; and much more.
William Langewiesche, "The Wrath of Khan"; Ross Douthat, "Does Meritocracy Work?"; Richard H. Hersh, "What Does College Teach?"; Thomas Mallon on Doris Kearns Goodwin, Alex Beam on the greatest stories never told; Richard Clarke on FEMA; Caitlin Flanagan on "You Go Girl!" studies; and much more.
Joshua Wolf Shenk, "Lincoln's Great Depression"; Joshua Green, "Roy and His Rock"; Robert D. Kaplan, "Imperial Grunts"; Sandra Tsing Loh on Nancy Drew, Corby Kummer on New Orleans rum; Clive Crook on the future of oil; Wayne Curtis on Hemingway's Havana; and much more.
David Samuels, "In a Ruined Country"; Sridhar Pappu, "The Holy Cow! Candidate"; fiction by Christopher Buckley; Lori Gottlieb, "The XY Files"; Christopher Hitchens on Salman Rushdie; Stuart Tayler Jr. on the Supreme Court's greatest flaw; Sandra Tsing Loh on a mother who fled; and much more.
Joyce Carol Oates, "*BD* 11 1 86"; Charles Baxter, "Poor Devil"; Adam Haslett, "City Visit"; Shira Nayman, "The House on Kronenstrasse"; George Singleton, "Director's Cut"; Curtis Sittenfeld, "The Perils of Literary Success"; Rick Moody, "Writers and Mentors"; Mary Gordon, "Moral Fiction"; and much more.
James Fallows, "Countdown to a Meltdown"; Benjamin M. Friedman, "Meltdown: A Case Study"; Bernard-Henri Lévy, "In the Footsteps of Tocqueville (Part Three)"; Scott Stossel, "North Korea: The War Game"; Mark Bowden, "Wolfowitz: The Exit Interviews"; Caroline Elkins, "The Wrong Lesson"; James A. Barnes and Peter Bell, "Hillary in 2008?"; and much more.
Robert D. Kaplan, "How We Would Fight China"; William Langewiesche, "Ziad for the Defense"; Bernard-Henri Lévy, "Road Trip: Part II"; Sridhar Pappu, "Being Geraldo"; Benjamin Schwarz, "Managing China's Rise"; Joshua Green, "The Odd Couple"; Stephen Budiansky, "Truth Extraction"; Sandra Tsing Loh, "Kiddie Class Struggle"; and much more.
Bernard-Henri Lévy, "In the Footsteps of Tocqueville"; Christopher Hitchens, "On Becoming American"; Charles? C. Mann, "The Coming Death Shortage"; William Langewiesche, "Hotel Baghdad"; Benjamin Schwarz, "Will Israel Live to 100?"; Joshua Green, "It Isn't the Message, Stupid"; Ross Douthat, "The Apocalypse, Rated PG"; Corby Kummer, "The Kosher Conversion"; and much more.
David Foster Wallace, "Host"; Jeffrey Rosen, "Rehnquist the Great?"; Robert D. Kaplan, "America's African Rifles"; James Fallows, "Getting Out Right"; Michael Scheuer, "Inside Out"; Joshua Green, "The Air America Plan"; Christopher Hitchens, "Civilization and Its Malcontents"; Timothy W. Ryback, "The Hitler Shrine"; fiction by Michael Lohre; and much more.
William Langewiesche, "The Accuser"; Paul Starobin, "The Accidental Autocrat"; Ross Douthat, "The Truth About Harvard"; David M. Kennedy, "What 'W' Owes to 'WW'"; Robert J. Shiller, "American Casino"; Peter Beinart, "Backfire"; Christopher Hitchens, "I'll Be Damned"; Sandra Tsing Loh, "Marshal Plan"; poetry by John Updike; and much more.
Richard A. Clarke, "Ten Years Later"; James Fallows, "Success Without Victory"; William Langewiesche, "Letter From Baghdad"; Sridhar Pappu, "What Amy Would Do"; Walter Kirn, "Lost in the Meritocracy"; The Annual "State of the Union" Report; Jeffrey Tayler, "Russia's Holy Warriors"; Tom Carson, "The Murdoch Touch"; fiction by Anna North; and much more.
Caught between a brutal meritocracy and a radical new progressivism, a parent tries to do right by his children while navigating New York City’s schools.
To be a parent is to be compromised.You pledge allegiance to justice for all, you swear that private attachments can rhyme with the public good, but when the choice comes down to your child or an abstraction—even the well-being of children you don’t know—you’ll betray your principles to the fierce unfairness of love. Then life takes revenge on the conceit that your child’s fate lies in your hands at all. The organized pathologies of adults, including yours—sometimes known as politics—find a way to infect the world of children. Only they can save themselves.
Our son underwent his first school interview soon after turning 2. He’d been using words for about a year. An admissions officer at a private school with brand-new, beautifully and sustainably constructed art and dance studios gave him a piece of paper and crayons. While she questioned my wife and me about our work, our son drew a yellow circle over a green squiggle.
Protests there have demonstrated the enduring appeal of American values and power. But can Washington live up to that promise?
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement, the David to China’s Goliath, is calling out to the land of the free for help—and help may be on the way. The question is whether it will be substantial enough and fast enough, and have the support of the president of the United States.
For months now, a small but zealous contingent of American flag-waving protesters has been a fixture of the huge demonstrations in Hong Kong, including today, when dozens of people again carried the U.S. flag during a rally held in defiance of a police ban. As the struggle to resist China’s tightening grip on the semiautonomous region has intensified, protesters have appealed to the United States in larger numbers and with greater urgency. Last weekend, tens of thousands of protesters marched near the U.S. consulate in the territory, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and carrying signs that urged President Donald Trump to “liberate Hong Kong.” Perhaps more realistically, they also issued a practical plea: for Congress to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would grant the United States further means to defend the territory’s freedoms and autonomy.
“I had no choice but to leave,” General James Mattis says of his decision to resign as President Trump’s secretary of defense.
On December 19 of last year, Admiral Michael Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met James Mattis for lunch at the Pentagon. Mattis was a day away from resigning as Donald Trump’s secretary of defense, but he tends to keep his own counsel, and he did not suggest to Mullen, his friend and former commander, that he was thinking of leaving.
But Mullen did think Mattis appeared unusually afflicted that day. Mattis often seemed burdened in his role. His aides and friends say he found the president to be of limited cognitive ability, and of generally dubious character. Now Mattis was becoming more and more isolated in the administration, especially since the defenestration of his closest Cabinet ally, the former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, several months earlier.
Accepting the reality about the president’s disordered personality is important—even essential.
During the 2016 campaign, I received a phone call from an influential political journalist and author, who was soliciting my thoughts on Donald Trump. Trump’s rise in the Republican Party was still something of a shock, and he wanted to know the things I felt he should keep in mind as he went about the task of covering Trump.
At the top of my list: Talk to psychologists and psychiatrists about the state of Trump’s mental health, since I considered that to be the most important thing when it came to understanding him. It was Trump’s Rosetta stone.
I wasn’t shy about making the same case publicly. During a July 14, 2016, appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, for example, I responded to a pro-Trump caller who was upset that I opposed Trump despite my having been a Republican for my entire adult life and having served in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations and the George W. Bush White House.
It’s preposterous for Lana Del Rey and other musicians to deny that they’re playing characters. But in this pop landscape, that denial might be necessary.
It’s always been intuitive to think of Lana Del Rey as a “character”: some fiction combining Jessica Rabbit and Joan Didion, drawn up around 2010 by the real human Lizzy Grant. And it’s always been wrong, supposedly. “Never had a persona,” Del Rey tweeted earlier this month. “Never needed one. Never will.”
That statement came amid Del Rey’s diss of an essay by the NPR music critic Ann Powers. In more than 3,500 careful words about the new album Norman Fucking Rockwell, Powers had saluted Del Rey’s use of pastiche, cliché, and, yes, persona. She also said that some of the songwriting felt “uncooked.” Del Rey didn’t like that. “I don’t even relate to one observation you made about the music,” she tweeted at Powers. “There’s nothing uncooked about me. To write about me is nothing like it is to be with me.” Another tweet: “So don’t call yourself a fan like you did in the article and don’t count your editor one either – I may never never have made bold political or cultural statements before- because my gift is the warmth I live my life with and the self reflection I share generously.”
Americans could learn from how drastically German society has moved away from the nadir of its history.
Recently, a visitor to a southern plantation wrote a viral tweet complaining about a guide who forced her to spend her vacation hearing about slavery. Some tourists at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and Mount Vernon, The Washington Post reported last week, are posting negative reviews on TripAdvisor and elsewhere because of the barest mention of the African Americans who were forced to work at the third president’s home, creating much of the wealth that made the glories of Monticello possible.
As an American Jew from the South who has lived in Berlin for decades, I’ve been asked whether Americans, in contemplating a plantation home, Confederate statue, or some other monument to our nation’s slave past, should emulate the way Germans treat Nazi memorials. To which I respond: There aren’t any. Germany has no monuments that celebrate the Nazi armed forces, however many grandfathers fought or fell for them. Instead, it has a dizzying number and variety of monuments to the victims of its murderous racism.
Ivanka was always Trump’s favorite. But Don Jr. is emerging as his natural successor.
The empire begins with a brothel. It stands, sturdy and square, at the heart of a gold-rush boomtown in northwest British Columbia, a monument to careful branding. The windows of the Arctic Restaurant have no signs offering access to prostitutes—even in a lawless Yukon outpost in 1899, decorum rules out such truth in advertising—but Friedrich Trump knows his clientele.
Curtained-off “private boxes” line the wall opposite the bar, inside of which are beds, and women, and scales to weigh gold powder, the preferred method of payment for services rendered. Word of the restaurant’s off-menu accommodations spreads fast. “Respectable women” are advised by The Yukon Sun to avoid the place, as they are “liable to hear that which would be repugnant to their feelings.”
For many participants, the program that provides health care to millions of low-income Americans isn’t free. It’s a loan. And the government expects to be repaid.
The folded American flag from her father’s military funeral is displayed on the mantel in Tawanda Rhodes’s living room. Joseph Victorian, a descendant of Creole slaves, had enlisted in the Army 10 days after learning that the United States was going to war with Korea.
After he was wounded in combat, Joseph was stationed at a military base in Massachusetts. There he met and fell in love with Edna Smith-Rhodes, a young woman who had recently moved to Boston from North Carolina. The couple started a family and eventually settled in the brick towers of the Columbia Point housing project. Joseph took a welding job at a shipyard and pressed laundry on the side; later, Edna would put her southern cooking skills to use in a school cafeteria. In 1979, Joseph and Edna bought a house in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood for $24,000.
For decades, a landmark brain study fed speculation about whether we control our own actions. It seems to have made a classic mistake.
The death of free will began with thousands of finger taps. In 1964, two German scientists monitored the electrical activity of a dozen people’s brains. Each day for several months, volunteers came into the scientists’ lab at the University of Freiburg to get wires fixed to their scalp from a showerhead-like contraption overhead. The participants sat in a chair, tucked neatly in a metal tollbooth, with only one task: to flex a finger on their right hand at whatever irregular intervals pleased them, over and over, up to 500 times a visit.
The purpose of this experiment was to search for signals in the participants’ brains that preceded each finger tap. At the time, researchers knew how to measure brain activity that occurred in response to events out in the world—when a person hears a song, for instance, or looks at a photograph—but no one had figured out how to isolate the signs of someone’s brain actually initiating an action.
Twenty-five years ago, Friends anticipated a time that would both romanticize and mistrust the culture of work.
In an episode in the fourthseason of Friends, Monica, Rachel, Chandler, and Joey find themselves engaged in an argument: Chandler and Joey, they claim, know Monica and Rachel much better than the women know them. Before long, the debate devolves into a game-show-style quiz. The host: Ross, who delights in the job. The topic: the minutiae of the friends’ lives. The stakes (which have become, through a series of predictably zany events, incredibly high): If the women lose the game, they have agreed, they will trade apartments with Chandler and Joey.
The correct answers quickly proliferate; as friends who are basically family, these people know each other’s stories really, really well. “Joey had an imaginary childhood friend. His name was …?” / “Maurice!” / “Correct. His profession was …?” / “Space cowboy!”; “According to Chandler, what phenomenon ‘scares the bejeezus’ out of him?” / “Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance!”; “Rachel claims this is her favorite movie …” / “Dangerous Liaisons!” / “Correct. Her actual favorite movie is …?” / “Weekend at Bernie’s!”