In Post & Riposte:

Russia's Decline
Are Russia's days as a relevant world power over? Join the discussion on Jeffrey Tayler's May cover story.

Roget's Insidious Influence
Is Roget's Thesaurus a tool for mediocrity and an agent of the decline of the English language? Weigh in on Simon Winchester's Centerpiece in the May issue.

See the complete forum index. THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY | Volume 287 No. 5 | May 2001
May 2001 cover 77 North Washington Street by Michael Kelly

In This Issue

Letters to the Editor

by Cullen Murphy

Notes and Dispatches
Rome: One Establishment Meets Another by J. Bottum
San Salvador: Getting Used to the Greenback by Benjamin Ryder Howe
Portland, Oregon: Byte, Byte, Against the Dying of the Light by Bill Donahue
Mogadishu: Ayn Rand Comes to Somalia by Peter Maass
Washington, D. C.: The Oval Office and the Diamond by Carl M. Cannon


Russia Is Finished
Talk of "democratic reform" or "economic stability" is nonsense. As a power and as a society, Russia has nowhere to go but down
by Jeffrey Tayler

Centerpiece: Word Imperfect
How a polymath named Peter Mark Roget brought forth one of the most influential—and lamentable—reference works of all time
by Simon Winchester

One Smart Bookie
An IQ of 70 conceals "the greatest gambling mind in the world"
by Jack El-Hai

You've seen it before. You'll see it again
by Ian Frazier

The Sleeper A poem by W. S. Merwin

The Hunter's Wife A short story by Anthony Doerr

The Coin Behind Your Ear A poem by Connie Wanek [with audio]

Incident Report William Makepeace Thackeray and James T. Fields
by Edward Sorel and Nancy Caldwell Sorel

Special Collections Lost and Found
by Richard Rubin


Pursuits and Retreats
ENTERTAINING: Putting Guests in Their Place by Mary Killen
DESIGN: The Stationery Self by Corby Kummer
TRAVEL: Hong Kong and Macau Reflagged by Jamie James
RADIO: Everything You Need to Know by Bill McKibben

Books and Critics
Ordinary People
Back When We Were Grownups, by Anne Tyler, reviewed by Katharine Whittemore

The Nihilist
The Dying Animal, by Philip Roth, reviewed by Jason Cowley

Benjamin Schwarz on Fast-Talking Dames by Maria DiBattista
Caitlin Flanagan on How to Raise a Family on Less Than Two Incomes by Denise Topolnicki
Stephen Amidon on Hotel Honolulu by Paul Theroux
Christina Schwarz on In the Company of Angels by N. M. Kelby
Robert Potts on Big As Life: Three Tales for Spring by Maureen Howard

LETTER FROM LONDON: Bron and His "Affec. Papa" by Geoffrey Wheatcroft

The Puzzler by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon

Word Court by Barbara Wallraff

Cover photograph by Anne Fishbein.

All material copyright © 2001 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.