Atlantic Unbound | Archive
Interviews with the authors of Atlantic short stories:
"Until Gwen," June 2004
"Sister Godzilla," February 2001
"The Generation Gap," February 2000
Thomas H. McNeely
"Sheep," June 1999
"The Deacon," May 1999
"The Gilgul of Park Avenue," March 1999
"The Man With the Lapdog," February 1999
"The Next Best Kiss," January 1999
Peter Ho Davies
"Today Is Sunday," December 1998
"Par," August 1998
"Everything in This Country Must," July 1998
"Electric Wizard," June 1998
Chitra B. Divakaruni
"Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter," April 1998
"The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet," March 1998
Lee K. Abbott
"Everything, All at Once," February 1998
E. Annie Proulx
"The Half-Skinned Steer," November 1997
"Talk Radio," October 1997
"The Poetry Baron," July 1997
"The Fragging," June 1997
"Puttermesser in Paradise," May 1997
"Small Consolation," April 1997
"Welding with Children," March 1997
"Cosmopolitan," January 1997
"The Greatest Show on Earth," December 1996
"Horse Heaven Hills," November 1996
"From Willow Temple," October 1996
Alice Fulton: Justice + Beauty = Sublime (July 13, 2004)
The acclaimed poet Alice Fulton talks about Cascade Experiment, her new collection of poems, and why art must aim to be "fair"—in both senses of the word.
Franklin Foer: Soccerworld (July 7, 2004)
Franklin Foer, the author of How Soccer Explains the World, on what soccer has to tell us about globalization, identity politics, and the future of baseball.
Trevor Corson: Livin' la Vida Lobster (June 30, 2004)
Trevor Corson, the author of The Secret Life of Lobsters, talks about fishing for lobsters, and the quirks of our favorite crustacean.
Alain de Botton: The Status-tician (June 29, 2004)
Why do the successes of our peers drive us crazy? Alain de Botton, the author of Status Anxiety, explains.
Edwidge Danticat: Grappling With Haiti's Beasts (June 22, 2004)
Edwidge Danticat talks about reconnecting with her homeland—and coming to terms with its legacy of violence—through fiction.
Robert Olen Butler: Faraway Voices (June 14, 2004)
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler talks about tapping into
different points of view and writing "from the place where you dream."
David Bezmozgis: From Toronto With Love (June 3, 2004)
Dave Bezmozgis talks about his sudden literary success and his first collection of stories, a wry and intimate portrait of a Russian-Jewish immigrant family.
Niall Ferguson: Our Imperial Imperative (May 25, 2004)
Niall Ferguson, the author of Colossus, laments the emasculation of American imperialism.
Brian Greene: The Universe Made Simple (May 20, 2004)
Brian Greene, the author of The Fabric of the Cosmos, on opening readers' eyes to the hidden forces that govern our world.
Where Did He Go Wrong?: An Interview with Geoffrey Wheatcroft (May 6, 2004)
Geoffrey Wheatcroft, the author of "The Tragedy of Tony Blair," examines the British Prime Minister's dramatic downward spiral.
Bernard Lewis: Islam's Interpreter (April 29, 2004)
Bernard Lewis talks about his seventy years spent studying the Middle East—and his thoughts on the region's future.
Jonathan Rauch: A Modest (Marriage) Proposal (April 23, 2004)
Jonathan Rauch talks about his quest to establish a middle ground in the gay-marriage debate.
Scott Stossel: The Call to Service (April 9, 2004)
Scott Stossel, the author of Sarge, talks about the life and legacy of Sargent Shriver.
Paul Maslin: Inside the Dean Campaign (April 8, 2004)
Howard Dean's political pollster talks about the campaign's extraordinary rise and crashing fall.
The Scourge of Agriculture: An Interview with Richard Manning (April 1, 2004)
Richard Manning argues that looking back to what "nature has already imagined" could be the solution for a world ravaged by farming.
Paul Theroux: The Perpetual Stranger (March 31, 2004)
Paul Theroux talks about writing and traveling—and the liberation that both provide.
Benny Morris: The Lonely Historian (March 25, 2004)
Benny Morris discusses the new version of his famously controversial book, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, which has left him alienated from both the left and the right.
Jeffrey Rosen: The Softer Side of Ashcroft (March 12, 2004)
Jeffrey Rosen, the author of "John Ashcroft's Permanent Campaign" (April Atlantic), argues that it is not social conservatism but a quest for popular approval that drives John Ashcroft's public life.
Douglas Brinkley: The Thoughtful Soldier (March 10, 2004)
Douglas Brinkley, the author of Tour of Duty, on John Kerry's conflicted but heroic service in Vietnam.
Debra Dickerson: Getting Over Race (February 27, 2004)
Debra Dickerson, the author of The End of Blackness, on why she thinks the African-American community needs to "grow up".
Caitlin Flanagan: The Mother's Dilemma (February 12, 2004)
Caitlin Flanagan on parenting, home life, and the morally troubling nature of the mother-nanny relationship.
Christopher Browning: An Insidious Evil (February 11, 2004)
Christopher Browning, the author of The Origins of the Final Solution, explains how ordinary Germans came to accept as inevitable the extermination of the Jews.
Matthew Miller: Let's Make a Deal (February 5, 2004)
Matthew Miller, the author of The Two Percent Solution, talks about the promise of the political center and the life we might find there.
Tracy Kidder: Something Special in the World (February 3, 2004)
Tracy Kidder, the author of Mountains Beyond Mountains, on Paul Farmer, a doctor who set out to make a difference.
Kenneth Pollack: Weapons of Misperception (January 13, 2004)
Kenneth M. Pollack, the author of "Spies, Lies, and Weapons: What Went Wrong," explains how the road to war with Iraq was paved with misleading and manipulated intelligence.
Thomas Mallon: Jazz, Flappers, and Magazines (January 9, 2004)
Thomas Mallon talks about his new novel, Bandbox—a madcap caper through the zany publishing world of 1920s New York.
Andrew Meier: Scenes From Russian Life (December 17, 2003)
Andrew Meier, who spent most of the past decade in Russia, talks about his travels through a country both damaged and vital.
Scott Turow: Life or Death Decision (December 10, 2003)
In his latest book, Scott Turow talks about how he came to believe that the country's experiment with capital punishment has "failed miserably."
Samantha Power: Life in Mugabe-Ville (December 3, 2003)
Samantha Power, the author of "How to Kill a Country," describes Zimbabwe's descent into chaos
P. J. O'Rourke: Man on the Street (November 13, 2003)
P. J. O'Rourke on Iraq, Michael Kelly, and taking a country's measure by just "hanging out."
Tobias Wolff: The Writing Obsession (November 12, 2003)
Tobias Wolff on his new novel, Old School, an examination of literary ambition gone awry.
Robert Gildea: "Neither Heroes nor Villains" (November 5, 2003)
Robert Gildea, the author of Marianne in Chains, talks about his efforts to demystify the French experience
under Nazi occupation.
Peter Carey: A Living, Breathing Hoax (October 22, 2003)
Peter Carey, the author of My Life as a Fake, talks about adding a dramatic new twist to an Australian literary legend.
William Langewiesche: The Structure of an Accident (October 22, 2003)
William Langewiesche, the author of "Columbia's Last Flight," talks about the fundamental problems within NASA that led to the space shuttle's demise.
James Mann: Rumsfeld's Roots (October 8, 2003)
James Mann talks about the political evolution and influences of Donald Rumsfeld.
James Carroll: Living Under War's Shadow (October 1, 2003)
A conversation with James Carroll, whose new novel, Secret Father, explores the political and emotional divisions of post-war Germany.
Mark Bowden: The Truth About Torture (September 11, 2003)
Mark Bowden, the author of "The Dark Art of Interrogation," on why practicing coercion is a necessary evil.
Diane Johnson: An American in Paris (September 10, 2003)
Diane Johnson, whose novels limn the cultural differences between France and America, talks about our "abiding fascination" with the French and their country.
Virginia Postrel: The Joy of Style (August 27, 2003)
Virginia Postrel, the author of The Substance of Style, argues that we should count ourselves lucky to be living in "the age of look and feel."
H. W. Brands: Ordinary People (August 7, 2003)
H. W. Brands argues that too much reverence for the Founding Fathers is unhealthy—and that it's time to take them down a notch or two.
Carl Elliott: The Pursuit of Happiness (August 5, 2003)
Carl Elliott, the author of Better Than Well, talks about amputee wannabes, Extreme Makeover, and the meta-ethics of bioethics.
Harold Bloom: Ranting Against Cant (July 16, 2003)
Harold Bloom, a staunch defender of the Western literary tradition, returns to Shakespeare, "the true multicultural author."
Simon Winchester: When the Earth Flexes Its Muscles (July 10, 2003)
Simon Winchester, the author of Krakatoa, talks about the natural and cultural reverberations of a famous volcanic eruption.
Frank Bidart: The Journey of a Maker (July 3, 2003)
Frank Bidart, editor of Robert Lowell's Collected Poems, talks about Lowell's unending search for different possibilities for his art.
Robert D. Kaplan: The Hard Edge of American Values (June 18, 2003)
Robert D. Kaplan on how the United States projects power around the world—and why it must.
Zoë Heller: Learning in Public (June 12, 2003)
Zoë Heller, the author of What Was She Thinking?, talks about testing out a new point of view, and how journalism prepared her for fiction.
A Conversation With Michael Kelly (June 3, 2003)
Michael Kelly, The Atlantic's editor at large and former editor, was killed in Iraq this April while on assignment for the magazine. This interview took place a month and a half before he died.
Robert Baer: Addicted to Oil (May 29, 2003)
Robert Baer, the author of "The Fall of the House of Saud," discusses the perils of our dependence on Saudi Arabia and its precious supply of fuel.
Chase: The Disease of the Modern Era (May 20, 2003)
Alston Chase, the author of Harvard and the Unabomber, argues that we have much to fear from the forces that made Ted Kaczynski what he is.
Bruce Hoffman: The Calculus of Terror (May 15, 2003)
Bruce Hoffman talks about the strategy behind the suicide bombings in Israel—and what we must learn from Israel's response.
The Fiction of Life (May 7, 2003)
Azar Nafisi, the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, on the dangers of using religion as an ideology, and the freedoms that literature can bring.
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc:
Bronx Story (April 24, 2003)
A conversation with Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, whose new book, Random Family, chronicles the struggles of an impoverished extended family in New York.
The Nature of Inheritance (April 11, 2003)
A conversation with Cristina García, whose new novel, Monkey Hunting, explores Cuban identity, immigrant life, and the way family history evolves.
Caught Between Places (April 2, 2003)
A conversation with John Murray, a doctor-turned-writer whose characters are often searching to reconcile their new lives with the ones they've left behind.
The Real Islam (March 20, 2003)
In The Two Faces of Islam Stephen Schwartz argues that in order to appreciate the pluralist, tolerant side of Islam, we must confront its ugly, extremist side.
Richard Brookhiser: What Makes W. Tick? (March 11, 2003)
The historian and journalist Richard Brookhiser weighs in on George W. Bush—his management style, his mean streak, his religiosity, and his recovery from alcoholism.
Richard Price: Shades of Gray (February 26, 2003)
In his new novel, Samaritan, Richard Price returns to Dempsy, New Jersey—a world where "lines aren't so strictly drawn."
David Frum: The Real George Bush (February 12, 2003)
David Frum, a former presidential speechwriter and the author of The Right Man, gives an inside look at the character of George W. Bush.
Daniel Goldhagen: The Guilt of the Church (January 31, 2003)
Daniel Goldhagen, the author of A Moral Reckoning, calls upon the Catholic Church to face its legacy of anti-Semitism and its role in the Holocaust.
David Cannadine: A Certain Kind of Greatness (January 22, 2003)
David Cannadine, the author of In Churchill's Shadow, talks about Britain's reaction to its own decline.
Ted Halstead: A More Perfect Union (January 14, 2003)
Ted Halstead, the founder and CEO of the New America Foundation, argues that the time has come for Americans to devise a new social contract.
Stanley Plumly: Language Makes the Senses One (January 8, 2003)
Peter Davison talks with the poet Stanley Plumly, who believes that "language, at its best, is not easy."
Barbara Dafoe Whitehead: In Search of Mr. Right (December 18, 2002)
The author of Why There Are No Good Men Left, discusses the challenges facing today's single women, and argues that the contemporary courtship system needs to be transformed.
Robert Dallek: Pulling Back the Curtain (November 18, 2002)
Presidential historian Robert Dallek discusses new revelations about JFK's serious health problems and his efforts to keep them hidden.
Corby Kummer: The Values of Good Food (November 14, 2002)
In his new book, The Pleasures of Slow Food, Corby Kummer profiles a culinary movement that is really a philosophy of life.
Tim O'Brien: The "What If?" Game (October 30, 2002)
Tim O'Brien talks about his new novel, July, July, and the urge to wonder how life might have turned out differently.
Christopher Hitchens: The Power of Facing (October 23, 2002)
Christopher Hitchens, the author of Why Orwell Matters, depicts George Orwell as a nonconformist who resolutely faced up to unpleasant truths.
Christina Schwarz: "To Have and to Shine" (October 18, 2002)
Christina Schwarz talks about her new book, All Is Vanity—a dark comedy about the search for society's approval.
James Fallows: Proceed With Caution (October 10, 2002)
James Fallows argues that before getting ourselves into a war with Iraq, we must think long and hard about its possible consequences.
B. R. Myers: A Reader's Revenge (October 2, 2002)
B. R. Myers, the author of A Reader's Manifesto, argues that the time has come for readers to stand up to the literary establishment.
Philip Jenkins: Christianity's New Center (September 12, 2002)
Philip Jenkins, the author of "The Next Christianity" (October Atlantic), argues that most Americans and Europeans are blind to Christianity's real future.
Nick Cook: Into the Black (September 5, 2002)
Nick Cook, a respected military journalist, describes his foray into a hidden "black world" where powerful technologies of warfare are born.
P. J. O'Rourke:
All People Are Crazy (August 8, 2002)
P. J. O'Rourke on the Middle East, the universality of the absurd, and his
beef with Mark Twain.
Richard Rubin: Deep in the Heart of Dixie (July 31, 2002)
Richard Rubin, author of Confederacy of Silence, on his time in the Mississippi Delta, and the disquieting mix of geniality and racism he found there.
Garry Wills: The Loyal Catholic (July 24, 2002)
Garry Wills, the author of Why I Am a Catholic, talks about faith, scandal, and the importance of constructive criticism.
William Langewiesche: Inside the Ruins (June 17, 2002)
William Langewiesche, the author of "American Ground," on life at the World Trade Center site after the towers fell.
Michael Oren: The Roots of Our Discontent (June 12, 2002)
Michael Oren, the author of Six Days of War, talks about how a short but momentous conflict forged the modern Middle East.
Alan Shapiro: An Aesthetics of Inadequacy (May 30, 2002)
Alan Shapiro, the author of Song and Dance, talks about poetry as an expression of mourning.
Kyla Dunn: The Life (and Death?) of Cloning (May 22, 2002)
Kyla Dunn, the author of The Atlantic's June cover story, talks about the state of therapeutic-cloning research and why it should not be banned.
Alec Wilkinson: Relationships of Invention (May 15, 2002)
A conversation with Alec Wilkinson, whose new book, My Mentor, pays tribute to the pitch-perfect writing and abiding friendship of William Maxwell.
Under the Microscope: An Interview With Atul Gawande (May 1, 2002)
Atul Gawande, a surgeon and a writer, talks about why he set out to demystify the world of medicine.
Steve Olson: History in a Cell (April 26, 2002)
Steve Olson, the author of Mapping Human History, retells the story of humanity—including the creation of different "races"—through the information encoded in our DNA.
Mark Bowden: It's Not Easy Being Mean (April 25, 2002)
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.
Antonya Nelson: Angles of Prose (April 11, 2002)
Antonya Nelson, the author of Female Trouble, talks about her unsentimental take on the untidy worlds her characters inhabit.
Philip Ball: The Science of the Palette (April 4, 2002)
Philip Ball, the author of Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color, talks about the intersection of art, science, and creativity.
Jonathan Rauch: The World on a Screen (March 29, 2002)
Jonathan Rauch, the author of "Seeing Around Corners," talks about what the study of artificial societies has to tell us about the real world.
Jonathan Coe: Fast Times at King William's High (March 27, 2002)
A talk with the author of The Rotters' Club, a darkly humorous story of coming-of-age in 1970s England.
Theo Padnos: Teaching Behind Bars (March 15, 2002)
A conversation with Theo Padnos, who got to know teenage criminals from a unique perspective—as their teacher in jail.
Samantha Power: Never Again Again (March 14, 2002)
Samantha Power, the author of "A Problem From Hell," explores why America did all but nothing to stop the genocides of the twentieth century.
Charles C. Mann: The Pristine Myth (March 7, 2002)
Charles C. Mann, the author of "1491," talks about the thriving and sophisticated Indian landscape of the pre-Columbus Americas.
Toby Lester: Supernatural Selection (February 8, 2002)
Toby Lester, the author of "Oh, Gods!" in the February Atlantic, talks about the Darwinian way in which religions mutate and evolve.
Maxine Kumin: The Art of Living (February 6, 2002)
In her first poetry collection since a near-fatal accident, Maxine Kumin celebrates the forms that life and writing take.
Barrett: The Science of Stories (January 30, 2002)
Andrea Barrett, the author of Servants of the Map, on how she
combines her love of storytelling and her fascination with scientific inquiry.
Randall Kennedy: That Word (January 17, 2002)
Randall Kennedy, the author of Nigger, talks about the boundaries that culture—and language—should and shouldn't have.
Terrorism's CEO: An Interview with Peter Bergen (January 9, 2002)
In Holy War, Inc., Peter Bergen examines how Osama bin Laden turned
al Qaeda into the world's preeminent terrorist organization.
Alex Beam: The Asylum on the Hill (January 4, 2002)
Alex Beam, the author of Gracefully Insane, probes the rich past of a mental hospital renowned for ministering to prominent, creative, and aristocratic patients.
Reuel Marc Gerecht: The Necessity of Fear (December 28, 2001)
Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA spy in the Middle East, argues that the only way to douse the fires of Islamic radicalism is through stunning, overwhelming, military force.
Larry Thompson: War's Forgotten Faces (December 18, 2001)
Larry Thompson of Refugees International describes what life is like for the refugees of conflicts, old and new, in Afghanistan.
Alice Munro: Bringing Life to Life (December 14, 2001)
A conversation with Alice Munro, whose stories are fueled by her fascination with the way people portray their own lives.
Elinor Burkett: Back to School (November 28, 2001)
Elinor Burkett, who at age fifty-five became a member of the class of 2000, reports on high school today through a journalist's eyes.
William Langewiesche: Culture Crash (November 15, 2001)
A conversation with William Langewiesche, the author of "The Crash of EgyptAir 990," on the cultural reverberations of a seemingly straightforward airplane crash.
Ruben Martinez: The Hearts of Strangers (November 14, 2001)
Ruben Martinez, the author of Crossing Over, describes the Mexican migrant experience, and reminds native-born Americans that they too were once strangers in a strange land.
Robert D. Kaplan: The View From Inside (November 2, 2001)
Foreign correspondent Robert D. Kaplan on his days among the
mujahideen, the killing of Abdul Haq, and why the U.S. must not be afraid to be brutal.
Studs Terkel: The Language of Life and Death (October 12, 2001)
Studs Terkel, the author of Will the Circle Be Unbroken?, talks about hope, September 11, and why Americans must think anew.
Jonathan Franzen: Mainstream and Meaningful (October 3, 2001)
Jonathan Franzen, the author of The Corrections, discovers that, when it comes to fiction, "serious" doesn't have to mean "marginal" or "boring."
Bobbie Ann Mason: Poised for Possibility (September 19, 2001)
Bobbie Ann Mason, the author of Zigzagging Down a Wild Trail, talks about Bruce Springsteen, James Joyce, and discovering her own writing voice.
Simon Winchester: The World Beneath Our Feet (August 29, 2001)
A conversation with Simon Winchester, whose new book,
The Map That Changed the World, rescues a pioneering geologist from obscurity.
Philip Gourevitch: A Tale of Two Murders (August 1, 2001)
Sage Stossel talks with Philip Gourevitch, author of A Cold Case, about murder, morality, and three men linked by a decades-old crime.
Glyn Maxwell: Breath and Daylight (June 14, 2001)
John DeStefano talks with the poet and playwright Glyn Maxwell—author of Time's Fool and The Breakage—about Auden, Frost, and America's feud with form.
James Fallows: The Soul of a New Flying Machine (May 25, 2001)
A conversation with James Fallows, The Atlantic's national correspondent, whose new book, Free Flight, argues that the next generation of small planes could usher in a new age of travel.
Nicholson Baker: The Gutenberg Purge (May 10, 2001)
Eric McHenry talks with Nicholson Baker, author of Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, about the value of old news and the long shelf life of the printed page.
Robert Sapolsky: Of Monkeys and Men (April 25, 2001)
The author of A Primate's Memoir talks about his years as a member of a troop of Serengeti baboons.
A. L. Kennedy: Spasms of Grace (March 29, 2001)
In On Bullfighting, A. L. Kennedy describes the "death, transcendence, immortality, joy, pain, isolation and fear" that is the Spanish corrida.
Karen Armstrong: Divine Reticence (March 21, 2001)
Harvey Blume talks with the author of Buddha, the biography of a world-historical figure about whom nothing is truly known.
Trezza Azzopardi: Out of Hiding (February 1, 2001)
A conversation with the author of The Hiding Place, a dark debut novel that casts new light on a province and a people.
Charles Simic: Seeing Things (January 10, 2001)
"Images, images, images"—for the Belgrade-born poet Charles Simic, they're the story of his life. Simic talks with Eric McHenry about his new memoir, A Fly in the Soup.
Eric Schlosser: Unhappy Meals (December 14, 2000)
Eric Schlosser, an award-winning investigative journalist, talks about his new book, Fast Food Nation, and the "dark side of the all-American meal."
Eduardo Galeano: "Words That Must Be Said" (November 30, 2000)
Eduardo Galeano, the author of Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World, is one of Latin America's fiercest social critics. Yet he insists that language—its secrets, mysteries, and masks—comes before politics.
Diane Ravitch: Hard Lessons (November 1, 2000)
Diane Ravitch, the author of Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms, argues for a return to rigor and accountability.
Burkhard Bilger: The Unsung South (October 26, 2000)
Burkhard Bilger, the author of Noodling for Flatheads: Moonshine, Monster Catfish, and Other Southern Comforts, talks about the fine line between culture and caricature.
Kazuo Ishiguro: A Fugitive Past (October 5, 2000)
Kazuo Ishiguro—the author of novels such as The Remains of the Day, The Unconsoled, and now When We Were Orphans—talks about memory, desire, and a loss of innocence.
Ian Buruma: A Cosmopolitan Affair (September 27, 2000)
E-mailing from London, Ian Buruma discusses his new collection of essays, The Missionary and the Libertine, an eclectic anthology of cross-cultural encounter.
Robert Putnam: Lonely in America (September 21, 2000)
Robert Putnam, the author of Bowling Alone, argues that the time has come "to reweave the fabric of our communities."
Ahmed Rashid: Inside the Jihad (August 10, 2000)
Ahmed Rashid, the Pakistani journalist and author of Taliban, shares insights he has gained from years of unparalleled access to Afghanistan and its radical Taliban movement.
Chinua Achebe: An African Voice (August 2, 2000)
His 1958 novel, Things Fall Apart, marked a turning point for modern African literature. In his new book, Home and Exile, Chinua Achebe sees postcolonial cultures taking shape story by story.
Julia Alvarez: In the Name of the Homeland (July 19, 2000)
Julia Alvarez, the Dominican-born novelist and poet, talks about her new historical novel, In the Name of Salomé, and about her need to write the stories that are hardest to tell.
Richard Powers: Two Geeks on Their Way to Byzantium (June 28, 2000)
Richard Powers—a writer who connects technology, art, and politics as few others can—talks about his new novel, Plowing the Dark, and the age-old human search for the virtual and the eternal.
David Brooks: A Kinder, Gentler Overclass (June 15, 2000)
David Brooks, the author of Bobos in Paradise, explains why bourgeois bohemians are here to stay.
Sherman Alexie: American Literature (June 1, 2000)
Sherman Alexie—poet, novelist, short-story writer, Native American—talks about his new book, The Toughest Indian in the World, and strikes out at the "eagle-feathers school of Native literature."
George Saunders: A Satirist in Full Stride (May 17, 2000)
George Saunders, whose new collection of short stories has just been published, may be the most talented goof-off writing fiction today.
Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck: Towards a New Urbanism (April 26, 2000)
Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck, the authors of Suburban Nation, argue that the antidote to the insidious spread of sprawl is good old-fashioned town planning.
Edna O'Brien: Passion's Progress (April 20, 2000)
Edna O'Brien talks about how her new book, Wild Decembers—in which heartache is prefigured by a tractor—fits in with her own "inner gnaw."
Susan Sontag: The Foreigner (April 13, 2000)
Susan Sontag—whose new novel, In America, has just been published—doesn't feel at home in New York, or anywhere else. And that's the way she likes it.
Malcolm Gladwell: Epidemic Proportions (March 29, 2000)
Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point, talks about Pokemon, Methodism, his friend Ariel's taste in Manhattan restaurants—and what these things could possibly have in common.
Jerome Groopman: A Doctor's Stories (March 8, 2000)
A conversation with Jerome Groopman, an acclaimed doctor, researcher, and writer whose new book, Second Opinions, offers a rare inside view of modern medicine.
Ian Frazier: An Idea of Freedom (January 5, 2000)
Ian Frazier talks about his new book, On the Rez, and what he's learned about the Oglala Sioux, American heroism, and the art of writing.
Amartya Sen: Humane Development (December 16, 1999)
Akash Kapur speaks with Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and author of Development as Freedom.
Ellen Bryant Voigt: Song and Story (November 24, 1999)
Steven Cramer interviews Ellen Bryant Voigt, a poet whose new collection of essays offers a defense of the lyric mode and a portrait of an uncommon reader's mind.
Mark Doty: Fallen Beauty (November 10, 1999)
The poet Mark Doty discusses his new memoir, Firebird, and his coming of age into queerness and art.
Wendy Kaminer: America the Irrational (November 3, 1999)
Wendy Kaminer, the author of Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials, sees a disturbing decline of reason in our public life, and warns of the consequences.
Leslie Epstein: A Cold, Comic Heart (October 20, 1999)
Leslie Epstein, the author of the new novel Ice Fire Water, talks about Hollywood, the Holocaust, and why his critics are nuts.
Nicholas Lemann: The Myth of Meritocracy (October 7, 1999)
In his new book, The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy, Nicholas Lemann argues that the structure of educational opportunity in America is inherently flawed and must be rebuilt.
Edward Said: Setting the Record Straight (September 22, 1999)
Edward Said, author of a new memoir, Out of Place, talks about Beethoven, the Oslo Accords, Arafat, and the "enormous fabrication of lies" printed in Commentary this month.
Richard Wilbur: A Certain Logic (September 9, 1999)
Peter Davison interviews Richard Wilbur, a poet who doesn't care for "perfection."
James Gleick: Buddy, Can You Spare Some Time? (September 1, 1999)
A (brief) conversation with James Gleick, the author of Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything.
Elijah Anderson: Street Life (August 18, 1999)
Elijah Anderson talks about his new book, Code of the Street, and his effort to tell the real story of life in the inner city.
Andrew Shapiro: With Liberty and Justice for Me (July 22, 1999)
Is the Internet giving ordinary people more control over their lives? An e-mail exchange with Andrew L. Shapiro, the author of The Control Revolution.
Witold Rybczynski: Landscape Artist (July 14, 1999)
Witold Rybczynski, the author of A Clearing in the Distance, talks about Frederick Law Olmsted, the importance of Central Park, and the shape of our urban and suburban landscapes.
Joseph Epstein: Not Your Regular Joe (June 30, 1999)
Joseph Epstein is the essayist's essayist. But with his latest book, Narcissus Leaves the Pool, he says it's time to light out for new territory.
Vikram Seth: The Seth Variations (June 23, 1999)
Vikram Seth, the author of An Equal Music, discusses Indian writing, declares allegiance to poetry, and disagrees with Salman Rushdie.
David M. Kennedy: Our Finest Hours? (June 10, 1999)
David M. Kennedy, the author of Freedom From Fear, talks about America's era of crisis, and how the nation mastered the greatest challenges of the twentieth century.
Tracy Kidder: The Architecture of Daily Life (April 22, 1999)
Tracy Kidder discusses his new book, Home Town, and the power of true stories about ordinary people.
Philip Levine: A Useful Poetry (April 8, 1999)
Philip Levine, whose new collection of poems was published this month, talks about politics, history, autobiography, the successes and failures of language—and why poetry matters.
Wendy Lesser: Truth Enters In (March 24, 1999)
A conversation with Wendy Lesser, the editor of The Threepenny Review and author of the new memoir The Amateur, who says she'll take an autobiography over a biography anyday.
Jeffrey Tayler: Russia's Other World (March 10, 1999)
Jeffrey Tayler, the author of Siberian Dawn, tells of his 8,000-mile odyssey across Russia's coldest, most desolate landscapes.
Mary Anne Weaver: Islam Rising (February 17, 1999)
A conversation with Mary Anne Weaver, the seasoned foreign correspondent whose new book, A Portrait of Egypt: A Journey Through the World of Militant Islam, shows that there is much more to Islamic activism than guns and bombs.
Bret Easton Ellis: Portrait of the Artist as a Social Satirist (February 10, 1999)
Bret Easton Ellis—whose latest book, Glamorama, has predictably stirred up critics—talks about the line between life and art.
Julian Dibbell: Virtual Reality Bites Back (January 28, 1999)
"It's not that cyberspace fails to resolve the social contradictions of the 'real world,'" Julian Dibbell writes, "but rather that it doesn't even resolve its own." An e-mail exchange with the author of My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World.
Mark Hertsgaard: Will We Survive? (January 21, 1999)
An interview with Mark Hertsgaard, a journalist whose new book, Earth Odyssey, tells of his six-year, round-the-world journey exploring the human side of environmental crisis.
Daniel Dennett: The Digital Philosopher (December 9, 1998)
Can robotics shed light on the human mind? On evolution? Daniel Dennett—whose work unites neuroscience, computer science, and evolutionary biology—has some provocative answers. Is he on to something, or just chasing the zeitgeist?
Stephen Budiansky: The Animal Point of View (December 9, 1998)
Stephen Budiansky, the author of If a Lion Could Talk, says that in order to truly understand animal intelligence, we need to move beyond our sentimental fascination with elephants that "weep" and gorillas that "save children."
Ethan Canin: How Did Your Life Turn Out? (November 25, 1998)
An interview with Ethan Canin, the author of the new novel For Kings and Planets, who believes the only story worth writing is the history of a human being.
Stephen Ambrose: Tell It Like It Was (November 12, 1998)
Steven Spielberg turned to him for advice on Saving Private Ryan. Now, Stephen Ambrose talks about his new book, The Victors—the culmination of his work on the Second World War.
Anne Fadiman: Coming to Life (October 28, 1998)
An interview with the writer and editor Anne Fadiman, whose new book, Ex Libris, proves what she has always suspected—that there is an essayist lurking inside her.
Stephen Schulhofer: Redefining Rape (October 22, 1998)
Alarmingly, when it comes to sexual assault, "no" doesn't always mean "no" in a court of law. The legal scholar Stephen Schulhofer talks about his new book, Unwanted Sex, and explains why the laws need to change.
John Edgar Wideman: Body Language (October 7, 1998)
What's behind the work of John Edgar Wideman, the author of the new novel Two Cities, is simple: if you're going to talk the talk, walk the walk.
Robert D. Kaplan: Manifest Destiny (September 16, 1998)
An interview with Robert D. Kaplan, whose new book, An Empire Wilderness, explains why the impending demise of the United States is good news.
Andrew Todhunter: Fear of Falling (September 3, 1998)
Andrew Todhunter talks about his new book, Fall of the Phantom Lord, about the rock climber Dan Osman, and examines the lure of putting one's life on the line.
Cullen Murphy: Eve's Bible (August 6, 1998)
An interview with Cullen Murphy, whose new book, The Word According to Eve, explores the revolutionary implications of feminism's encounter with religion.
Roy Blount Jr.: Bittersweet (July 23, 1998)
In his new memoir, Be Sweet: A Conditional Love Story, Roy Blount Jr. goes looking for the source of his humor.
William Langewiesche: Sky Writing (June 30, 1998)
All writers have a point of view. For William Langewiesche—pilot, Atlantic correspondent, and author of Inside the Sky—it happens to be an aerial one.
John Irving: The "What If?" Business (June 17, 1998)
John Irving, the author of A Widow for One Year, is a novelist for whom storytelling has always been a "necessity."
The Adventures of Jane Smiley (May 28, 1998)
An interview with the acclaimed author of A Thousand Acres (1991) and the new novel, The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton.
Patricia Williams: Speaking of Race (May 14, 1998)
Patricia Williams, the author of Seeing a Color-Blind Future, suggests that when it comes to the trauma of racism Americans have not yet learned how to speak.
Lawrence Weschler: In the Very Middle of Things (April 29, 1998)
In his new book, Calamities of Exile, Lawrence Weschler's explorations lead him to some very strange—and familiar—places.
Richard Rorty: The Next Left (April 23, 1998)
Richard Rorty, the eminent philosopher and author of Achieving Our Country, argues that the American Left, if it is to recapture its relevance, must take pride in its past.
Edward O. Wilson: All for One, One for All (March 18, 1998)
Can science call the postmodernist bluff? Edward O. Wilson, the author of Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, says it can—and must.
Hans Koning: Being There (March 4, 1998)
Freedom fighter, anti-war activist, novelist, reporter—Hans Koning, the author of Pursuit of a Woman on the Hinge of History, reflects on the twentieth century.
Edward Ball: Inheriting Slavery (February 26, 1998)
Edward Ball, the author of Slaves in the Family, set out to reckon with the legacy of his ancestors' plantations.
The World According to David Gelernter (January 29, 1998)
An interview with a computer scientist who argues that beautiful technology—and a return to traditional values—must show us the way forward.
Jack Beatty: The Author of Modernity (January 29, 1998)
Jack Beatty discusses his intellectual profile of Peter Drucker, the man who invented the modern world.
Seymour Hersh: Darker Than We Want to Know (January 8, 1998)
Seymour Hersh responds to critics of The Dark Side of Camelot, and suggests why the truth about John F. Kennedy hurts so much.
Tom Piazza and Eric Nisenson: The Shape of Jazz and What's to Come (December 4, 1997)
Can jazz survive into the twenty-first century? Tom Piazza and Eric Nisenson go head to head over the state of America's most celebrated art.
Jorge Castañeda: A Life (More or Less) Revolutionary (November 20, 1997)
In his new biography of Che Guevara, Jorge Castañeda makes the case that Che is culturally—but not politically—significant.
Edward Sorel: Drawing Without a License (November 6, 1997)
His sharp-witted illustrations, instantly recognizable, have appeared in many of America's best-known magazines. Now, in a new book, Edward
Sorel looks back over thirty years of "unauthorized portraits."
Louis Auchincloss: The More the Merrier (October 15, 1997)
Louis Auchincloss has written fifty-four books in his eighty years. Now the author of The Atonement talks about Henry James, Edith Wharton, and a life of lawyering.
Steven Johnson: A Medium in Embryo (October 9, 1997)
Most of us take the computer interface for granted. But for Steven Johnson
it is a defining metaphor of our times—and a summons to the
Howard Frank Mosher: A Disappearing Eden (October 2, 1997)
The novelist Howard Frank Mosher recently traveled the length of the United States' northern border. He's got stories to tell.
Jane Hirshfield: Some Place Not Yet Known (September 18, 1997)
Jane Hirshfield discusses the lives of poetry—public and private, sensual and spiritual.
Hunter S. Thompson: Writing on the Wall (August 26, 1997)
A multimedia interview with Hunter S. Thompson, scourge of presidents, the press, and the politically correct.
Jim Sleeper: Letting Go of Race (August 21, 1997)
Jim Sleeper, author of Liberal Racism, says it's time to end the relentless color-coding of public life.
Charles Baxter: Desire Rules (August 7,1997)
Charles Baxter, author of Believers and Burning Down the House, talks about violence, epiphany, and the mystery of the Midwest.
Paul Theroux: All Change Is Fascinating (July 3, 1997)
Paul Theroux discusses his novel, Kowloon Tong, and the implications of the Hong Kong handover.
Michael Nash: Most Multimedia Sucks (June 5, 1997)
Is the golden age of multimedia already behind us? Michael Nash, a
visionary who helped raise the art of the interactive CD-ROM to new levels,
doesn't think so—despite his feeling that today "most multimedia
James Carroll: The Story of My Life (April 24, 1997)
James Carroll talks about his memoir, An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us,
winner of the 1996 National Book Award for non fiction.
Kai Krause: Artist at Play (April 16, 1997)
Kai Krause—whose graphic-design tools combine the power of
mathematics and computers with a childlike delight in sheer
playfulness—would bridge the divide between technology and art.
Suzanne Gordon: Cutting Down on Care (March 19, 1997)
In Life Support, Suzanne Gordon gives a first-hand account from the front-lines of nursing—a profession that is gravely threatened by the restructuring of our medical system.
Frederick Barthelme and Askold Melnyczuk: The Next Big Thing—Words! (February 26, 1997)
We all know that digital media are transforming the publishing industry and our literary culture. It's time for publishers to return the favor. Interviews with the editors of two influential literary journals: Frederick Barthelme, who brought the Mississippi Review to the Web in 1995, and Askold Melnyczuk, whose AGNI magazine has come to the Web recently.
Robert Kuttner: The Vanity of Human Markets (February 26, 1997)
In Everything for Sale, Robert Kuttner challenges the prevailing orthodoxy of laissez-faire economics.
Thomas Powers: The Numbers Game (February, 1997)
CIA analyst Sam Adams fought the intelligence establishment about its Vietnam policy like David fought Goliath. An interview with Thomas Powers, the editor of Adams's posthumous book, War of Numbers.
Barbara Dafoe Whitehead: What We Owe (February, 1997)
Dan Quayle is still right, argues Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, author of The Divorce Culture and a Democrat who has never voted Republican.
Paul Fussell: The Other Side of War (February, 1997)
In Doing Battle: The Making of Skeptic, Paul Fussell—historian, literary critic, and veteran—wants to change the way Americans remember the Second World War.
George Kelling and Catherine Coles: The Promise of Public Order (January, 1997)
George Kelling and Catherine Coles, the authors of Fixing Broken Windows, wax optimistic about repairing America's crime-ridden communities.
Howard Cushnir: The Game's the Thing (December 21, 1996)
Obsidian, the elaborate and much-anticipated CD-ROM adventure game, takes the genre that Myst defined to a new level. An e-mail exchange with Howard Cushnir, Obsidian's co-author.
Michael Joyce: The End of the Story (November 20, 1996)
Michael Joyce is one of the premier authors of hyperfiction in America. His
new work, Twilight, A Symphony, transcends the limits of narrative
and reveals the burden of infinite possibility.
Tobias Wolff: An Eye for What Is Human (November, 1996)
Tobias Wolff talks about—and reads from—The Night in Question, his first collection of short stories in more than a decade.
Geoffrey Wheatcroft: A Century of
Zionism (November, 1996)
Geoffrey Wheatcroft discusses The
Controversy of Zion, winner of the National Jewish Book
Award, and takes stock of Theodor Herzl's "mad idea."
William Langewiesche: The Desert Extreme (August, 1996)
William Langewiesche, author of Sahara Unveiled,
traveled 4,000 miles through the hottest, driest, and largest desert on
earth—and lived to tell about it.
Francis Davis: Bebop and Beyond? (July, 1996)
Francis Davis, author of Bebop and Nothingness: Jazz and Pop at the End
of the Century, talks about jazz in the '90s—its influences, rising
stars, and prospects for the future. Plus, Atlantic articles on jazz from as far back as 1922.
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