Contents | January 2002

The Atlantic Monthly | January 2002
In This Issue
hy has Muslim civilization fallen low by all the standards of the modern world? The distinguished scholar Bernard Lewis ("What Went Wrong?") suggests that part of the answer is sheer lack of freedom. Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Emeritus, at Princeton University, and the author of numerous books, including The Arabs in History (1950) and Islam and the West (1993). His article in this issue is drawn from a new book, What Went Wrong?, to be published this month by Oxford University Press.

Four articles examine the foreign and domestic challenges posed by the present crisis. Benjamin Schwarz and Christopher Layne ("A New Grand Strategy") urge the United States to allow Europe, Russia, China, and India to take the lead in policing their own neighborhoods. Reuel Marc Gerecht ("The Gospel According to Osama bin Laden"), an Atlantic correspondent and a former CIA officer, looks closely at bin Laden's rhetoric and discerns behind it a rational and calculating mind. Bruce Hoffman ("A Nasty Business"), a terrorism analyst at the Rand Corporation, reports on what the French experience in Algeria and the Sri Lankan experience with the Tamil Tigers tell us about the brutal measures that wars against terrorism entail. David Carr ("The Futility of 'Homeland Defense'") shows why trying to "Israelize" the United States is not only a practical impossibility but also counterproductive.

What does it mean to be a Roman Catholic nun? Her image "brings together three powerful elements: God, women, and sex." The novelist and memoirist Mary Gordon ("Women of God") describes her childhood fascination with nuns and explores the rapid decline and the continuing allure of their demanding way of life. Gordon's most recent book is the Penguin Lives biography Joan of Arc (2000). She teaches writing at Barnard College.

At twenty-two, Andy Bellin ("Tells") left graduate school, where he was pursuing a master's in astronomy, to become a semi-pro poker player. His article in this issue is adapted from his book Poker Nation: A High-Stakes, Low-Life Adventure into the Heart of a Gambling Country, to be published in March by HarperCollins.

Robyn Joy Leff ("Burn Your Maps") has published fiction in Quarterly West. She lives in Los Angeles.

Ellen Bryant Voigt ("Three Poems") is the author of six volumes of poetry, including Shadow of Heaven, to be published next month.

This month in The Agenda: David Brooks considers the notion of "suburban greatness"; Jonathan Rauch explains the strange kinship between academia's postmodern left and Afghanistan's radical mullahs; Judge Richard A. Posner reflects that bad times are often good for perspective; James Fallows writes about the unintended consequences of every American war; and Reed Hundt, the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and now a senior adviser to McKinsey & Company, explains what September 11 revealed about the strengths of the Internet.

In Notes & Dispatches: P. J. O'Rourke considers the absurdities of airport security and wonders what happened to common sense; Jeffrey Tayler reports from Moscow on why popular disapproval of Vladimir Putin's support for the fight against terrorism is nothing to worry about; Geoffrey Wheatcroft, in London, describes how a 1950s-style conservative came to lead Great Britain's troubled opposition party; and Eric Schlosser, in New York, challenges McDonald's to use its corporate muscle to improve the conditions for workers in slaughterhouses.

A sojourn on the island of Santa Cruz offers visitors an especially rich experience of the Galápagos archipelago. Edward J. Larson ("At Anchor in the Galápagos"), a frequent visitor, is a professor of history and law at the University of Georgia and a Pulitzer Prize- winning historian whose most recent book is Evolution's Workshop: God and Science on the Galápagos Islands (2001).

Should a botanical garden delight us or enlighten us—or both? Hatsy Shields ("Plant Zoos") reports on a visit to the new National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Francis Davis ("Ready for Action"), a contributing editor of The Atlantic, mounts a defense of the tough-guy bravado and choreographed violence of action movies.

James Zug ("The Last Squash Tennis Player"), a senior writer at Squash Magazine, is at work on a book about the history of squash.

Philip Hensher ("Incomparable Naturalism") reviews Janet Malcolm's Reading Chekhov. The U.S. edition of Hensher's new novel, The Mulberry Empire, will be published later this year.

Refuge from the harshness of modern society can be found in the novelist Jan Karon's wildly (and improbably) successful Mitford series, writes Martha Spaulding ("The Land of Counterpane"), The Atlantic's deputy managing editor.

Cristina Nehring ("Mr. Goodbar Redux"), who teaches at the Université de Paris XIII, assays the dreary prescriptions of today's dating-advice manuals, which manage to turn pleasure into work.

Copyright © 2002 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; January 2002; In This Issue; Volume 289, No. 1; 6.