In Post & Riposte:

One Nation, Slightly Divisible
How big is the rift between coastal, urban America and small-town, heartland America?

Countering the Smallpox Threat
Should smallpox vaccines be made available to the public despite known risks of deadly side-effects? Would you get vaccinated?

Costumes from Camelot
What is it about the Kennedy image that's so irresistible and that defies sordid revelations about the family?

See the complete forum index.

'Tis the Season for The Nutcracker

Eve Ensler's New Work

Popular Music
Swinging With the North Mississippi Allstars

The Art of the Trio, Take Five

An Exploration of Grief

... and more, in the December Preview.

THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY | Volume 288 No. 5 | December 2001
The articles below with headlines in turquoise may be viewed online, while those in gray are available only in the print edition.

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December 2001 cover 77 North Washington Street by Michael Kelly

In This Issue

Letters to the Editor

INNOCENT BYSTANDER: Walking Back the Cat
by Cullen Murphy

Notes and Dispatches
Washington, D.C.: Squishier Than Thou by P. J. O'Rourke
New York City: Stranger in a Strange Land by Christopher Hitchens
Gaza City: All You Need Is Love by Bruce Hoffman
Belfast: Police Powers by Conor Cruise O'Brien
Moscow: Putin's Policy of Realpolitik by Jeffrey Tayler

The Agenda
Washington Desk: Councils of War by James Fallows
The Law: Security Versus Civil Liberties by Richard A. Posner
Military Affairs: Fourth-Generation Warfare by Jason Vest
Public Health: Countering the Smallpox Threat by Jonathan Rauch


One Nation, Slightly Divisible
The electoral map of the 2000 presidential race became famous—big blocks of Republican red stretched across the heartland, with brackets of Democratic blue along the coasts. Our differences are real, but how deep do they go?
by David Brooks

Looking the World in the Eye
Samuel Huntington's views about a "clash of civilizations" and other matters have been widely vilified—and now tragically validated
by Robert D. Kaplan

A mother describes a teenage son with muscular dystrophy—the life he leads and the one he can look forward to
by Penny Wolfson

Special Collections Astronaut Laundry
by Richard Rubin

Paradiso XXXIII by Dante Alighieri, translated by W. S. Merwin

The Old Economy Husband A short story by Lesley Dormen

Literary Lives A drawing by Edward Sorel

Channel A poem by Rodney Jones [with audio]

Black Camellia A poem by Henri Cole [with audio]

Pain A poem by Laura Newbern [with audio]


Pursuits and Retreats
TRAVEL: Storm Island by William Langewiesche
FOOD: Sweet and Intense by Corby Kummer
PALATE AT LARGE: Delfina by Corby Kummer
SPORT: Portrait of a Woman as a Young Boxer by Daniel Boyne
TECHNOLOGY: Pixels at an Exhibition by Marshall Jon Fisher

Books and Critics
A Quiet Genius
Hateship, Friendhip, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, by Alice Munro, reviewed by Mona Simpson
Bringing Life to Life:
A Web-only Interview With Alice Munro

A conversation with Alice Munro, whose stories are fueled by her fascination with the way people portray their own lives
One-Alarm Fire
Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War, by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, and William Broad, reviewed by Bruce Hoffman

New and Noteworthy
Lots of new Irving Berlin; more of the same from John Barth; the ideal courtier

Costumes From Camelot
Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, compiled and edited by Hamish Bowles, reviewed by Caitlin Flanagan

(Some of) The Best Books of 2001
by Benjamin Schwarz

The Puzzler by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon

Word Fugitives by Barbara Wallraff

Cover art by Guy Billout.

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