Contents | November 2001

The Atlantic Monthly | November 2001
In This Issue

n October 31, 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990, en route to Cairo from New York, plunged into the Atlantic Ocean sixty miles south of Nantucket, taking 217 lives. Was the tragedy the result of some technical failure—or, as many aviation experts surmised, was it caused deliberately by one of the Egyptian pilots? William Langewiesche ("The Crash of EgyptAir 990") has flown multiple simulations of the crash at Boeing and has pursued the story in Washington, D.C., and Cairo. He argues decisively that the crash was intentional, and sees Egypt's disavowal as symptomatic of a larger cultural clash. Langewiesche has written frequently for The Atlantic about aviation (and many other topics), and is the author of the book Inside the Sky: A Meditation on Flight (1998).

Terrorism is a weapon of war aimed at inflicting psychological defeat. How effective is this weapon? That question serves as the subtext of P. J. O'Rourke's account ("Zion's Vital Signs") of his journey through a part of the world where terrorism is a constant reality—and where the spirit of ordinary life somehow prevails. O'Rourke, a correspondent for The Atlantic, is the author of several books, including The CEO of the Sofa (2001).

In 1978 a Hungarian workman apparently unearthed a copper cauldron containing a trove of ancient Roman silver—one of the most exquisite collections ever discovered. No sooner was it brought to light than it returned to the shadows—somehow finding its way into the dangerous international market for stolen antiquities. Peter Landesman ("The Curse of the Sevso Silver") reconstructs what is known about the treasure's provenance and whereabouts, and about the cast of characters who have shaped its destiny. Landesman is an artist, a novelist, a journalist, and a screenwriter. His most recent novel is Blood Acre (1999).

For much of its thirty-four-year history The American Spectator was a spirited, funny, and audacious voice of the political right. And then, suddenly, it destroyed itself. Byron York ("The Life and Death of The American Spectator") explains how the Spectator's injudicious and even crackpot crusades against Bill Clinton led not to the President's downfall but to its own. York is the White House correspondent for National Review.

Edward J. Delaney ("The Warp and the Weft") is the author of the short-story collection The Drowning and Other Stories (1999). The title story of the collection, which originally appeared in the March, 1994, Atlantic, was selected for The Best American Short Stories 1995 and Prize Stories 1995: The O. Henry Awards.

In Notes & Dispatches this month: Jack Beatty, David Carr, and P. J. O'Rourke comment on the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; Rob Nixon reports from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on that country's increasing hostility to African immigrants; Wayne Curtis from Amarillo, Texas, on the mysterious disappearance from motels of the once ubiquitous NO VACANCY sign; Peter Davison from Bantry, Ireland, on provincial Ireland's ambivalence about prosperity; and Alex Kotlowitz from Cicero, Illinois, on how a town that hoped to shed its mob-tainted reputation has managed instead to keep it.

Thomas Hine ("Looking Alive") describes how biological styling is influencing the design of everything from the Speedo Fastskin bathing suit to strange new furniture. Hine, who was the architecture and design critic of The Philadelphia Inquirer for more than twenty years, is the author of Populuxe: The Look and Life of America in the 1950s and 1960s (1986). His most recent book is The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager (1999).

In the first installment of Palate at Large, a new series highlighting restaurants worth building a trip around, Corby Kummer ("Restaurant Vila Lisa"), an Atlantic senior editor, directs readers to a Portuguese hillside town in the Algarve.

Stingy behavior on the part of the very rich sometimes has unexpected payoffs for others—so observes Mary Killen ("Penny-Wise"), the advice columnist for The Spectator, in London.

In his celebrated new history of the British empire David Cannadine asserts that its aim was to nurture and reinforce aristocratic values. Benjamin Schwarz ("A Bit of Bunting") unravels Cannadine's argument and finds it tenuous. Schwarz is a senior editor of The Atlantic. His most recent article for the magazine took aim at the sentimental revisionism of Stephen Ambrose's The Good Fight.

Home schooling, once the hothouse preserve of sixties leftists, is now a major redoubt of conservative Christians.Margaret Talbot ("The New Counterculture") explores home schooling's rapid growth and surprising evolution. Talbot is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote some awful novels and an even worse play. But in his essay on Stevenson's short career Brian Doyle ("A Head Full of Swirling Dreams") argues persuasively that Stevenson was also one of the most comprehensively accomplished writers in our language. Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine, at the University of Portland, in Oregon, and the author of two essay collections: Credo (1999) and, with his father, Jim Doyle, Two Voices (1996).

Copyright © 2001 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; November 2001; In This Issue; Volume 288, No. 4; 10.