In Post & Riposte:

Tales of the Tyrant
How did Saddam Hussein end up as the warped, tyrannical figure he is today? Join a conversation on Mark Bowden's May cover story.

The Author as Celebrity
Would Charles Dickens have felt right at home on the contemporary book tour circuit? Weigh in on David Lodge's article in the May issue.

Lost in the Magic Kingdom
Is Disney World more appropriate for adults than for children?

Spring Cars
Are this spring's car models especially appealing? Is there a car that you currently covet?

See the complete forum index.

THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY | Volume 289 No. 5 | May 2002
(Articles with headlines in gray are unavailable online at the request of the author.)

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May 2002 cover In This Issue

Letters to the Editor

INNOCENT BYSTANDER: Delete, Baby, Delete
by Cullen Murphy

The Agenda
Slow Squeeze by Michael Kelly
The Merits of Meritocracy by David Brooks
The Marrying Kind by Jonathan Rauch
Governing From his Biography by Jack Beatty
The Mother of Reinvention by Walter Kirn
The Case for Vote Control by P. J. O'Rourke
Gag Order by Stephen Glain


Tales of the Tyrant
What does Saddam Hussein see in himself that no one else in the world seems to see? The answer is perhaps best revealed by the intimate details of the Iraqi leader's daily life
by Mark Bowden
It's Not Easy Being Mean: Mark Bowden, the author of The Atlantic's May cover story, talks about the strange life of Saddam Hussein and why his downfall is inevitable. [Web only]
Lawyers and Lizard-Heads
The prison letters of James Earl Ray, the man who once confessed to killing Martin Luther King Jr.
by Douglas Brinkley and Anne Brinkley

The Royal We
The mathematical study of genealogy indicates that everyone in the world is descended from Nefertiti and Confucius, and that everyone of European ancestry is descended from Muhammad and Charlemagne
by Steve Olson

The Childhood of Hercules A drawing by Guy Billout

New England Primer A short story by Donald Hall

Literary Lives Norman Mailer
A drawing by Edward Sorel

Who the Meek Are Not A poem by Mary Karr
August Walk A poem by Rosanna Warren [with audio]


Pursuits and Retreats
TRAVEL: Lost in the Magic Kingdom by Richard Todd
DESIGN: Spring Cars by Thomas Hine
SPORT: Tennis on the Green by Marshall Jon Fisher
MANNERS: Well Met by Mary Killen
PALATE AT LARGE: Colvin Run Tavern by Corby Kummer

Books and Critics
Dickens Our Contemporary
On the new biography by Jane Smiley
by David Lodge
The Public and Private Worlds of Charles Dickens: Personal recollections, essays, and reviews by Edmund Wilson, David Lodge, and others, shed light on the life and career of Charles Dickens. [Web only]
California Transformed
Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace, 1940-1950 by Kevin Starr, reviewed by Benjamin Schwarz

The Man of Feeling
On Kingsley Amis and Lucky Jim
by Christopher Hitchens

New and Noteworthy
Summer between hard covers; the century in a house

A Surprise, but not a Success
Nixon's Civil Rights: Politics, Principle, and Policy by Dean Kotlowski, reviewed by Tamar Jacoby

The Puzzler by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon

Word Court by Barbara Wallraff

Cover art by Bill Nelson.

All material copyright © 2002 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.