August 2000 | Volume 286 No. 2

The Shipbreakers

On a six-mile stretch of beach at a place called Alang, in India, some 200 ships stand side by side in progressive stages of dissection, spilling their black innards onto the tidal flats. Here is where half the world's ships come to die -- ripped apart by hand into scrap metal. Alang is a foul, desperate, and dangerous place, and a wonder of the world.

by William Langewiesche
[At the author's request, this article is unavailable online.]

Being Saint Francis

In a literary reconstruction, a novelist explores the personal transformation of Francesco Bernardone, a rich man's son.

by Valerie Martin

seahorse picture Web Only: The Canticle of the Creatures
Valerie Martin introduces a recording of the famous song composed by Saint Francis. Plus, an additional excerpt from Martin's forthcoming book, Salvation: Scenes From the Life of St. Francis.

The Queen Is Dead

Gay men today are mostly indifferent to -- if not contemptuous of -- old-time gay icons like Judy Garland. But the emotional strata of the gay-Garland connection are worth excavating.

by Michael Joseph Gross

Notes & Comment:
No "There" There

Why cyberspace isn't geography.
by Jonathan G.S. Koppell

"High Stakes Are for Tomatoes"

The effort to subject more and more schoolchildren to tough assessment tests has spread to half the states. Now a bitter backlash has begun.
by Peter Schrag

Where No Business Is Good Business

As a hedge against disaster, some big companies are cloning their offices.
by Jack El-Hai

Fiction & Poetry

seahorse picture You
A poem
by Peter Davison

A poem
by David Wagoner

The Face-Lift
A short story
by Roxana Robinson

seahorse picture Best Friend
A poem
by Peter Davison

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Arts & Leisure

Between the Vineyards

The truffles and hazelnuts. The fine wines. The bike routes threading among the foothills. All these things drew our correspondent to Italy's Piedmont region.
by Corby Kummer

Charlie Haden, Bass

No other bass player since Charles Mingus has seemed so thoroughly joined to his instrument.
by Francis Davis

From the Streets to the Piste

African-Americans from the inner city make up the core of this year's U.S. Olympic fencing team.
by Jeff Hull

Literary Lives:
An Irresistible Long-winded Bore

Not everyone falls for John Cowper Powys, but those who do fall hard.
by Lawrence Millman


The (Still) Relevant Socialist
The Other American: The Life of Michael Harrington, by Maurice Isserman
by Harold Meyerson

Brief Reviews
by Phoebe-Lou Adams

seahorse picture Web Only: Uncommon Reader
An interview with Phoebe-Lou Adams, whose last column appears in this issue, and a sampling of five decades of her Brief Reviews.

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The August Almanac

The Puzzler
by Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon

Word Watch
by Anne H. Soukhanov

All material copyright © 2000 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
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