The Week's Best Reads

From the trial of former NSA head Thomas Drake to a family war over Billy Graham’s legacy, The Daily Beast picks the best longform journalism from around the Web this week.

05.21.11 10:03 AM ET

1. “The Secret Sharer”
Jane Mayer, The New Yorker

“On June 13th, a fifty-four-year-old former government employee named Thomas Drake is scheduled to appear in a courtroom in Baltimore, where he will face some of the gravest charges that can be brought against an American citizen. A former senior executive at the National Security Agency, the government’s electronic-espionage service, he is accused, in essence, of being an enemy of the state.”

2. “The Hot-Money Cowboys of Baghdad”
Steven Lee Myers, New York Times Magazine

“‘My friend, Iraq is a rich, virgin country!’ one of its richest men, Namir al-Akabi, told me with a startling enthusiasm when I met him earlier this year at his office in Baghdad. Akabi is the chairman of the Almco Group of Companies, a conglomerate he built from nothing in the wake of the American invasion in 2003. What makes Iraq’s economic potential so great, he explained, despite everything, is not just its abundant natural resources—it is the shattered state of Iraq itself.”

3. “Too Young to Wed”
Cynthia Gorney, National Geographic

“Because the wedding was illegal and a secret, except to the invited guests, and because marriage rites in Rajasthan are often conducted late at night, it was well into the afternoon before the three girl brides in this dry farm settlement in the north of India began to prepare themselves for their sacred vows.”

4. “How Rajat Gupta Came Undone”
Suzanna Andrews, Bloomberg Businessweek

The former McKinsey head was a gilded member of the corporate elite. But a tape of his voice, divulging secret details of a Goldman board meeting to a convicted hedge-fund manager, cost him what no amount of money can buy.

5. “Game On! The Untold Secrets and Furious Egos Behind the Rise of SportsCenter
James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales, GQ

ESPN wasn't truly the worldwide leader in sports until Keith Olbermann came along. Brilliant, combustible, and allergic to authority, he revolutionized its flagship program—and started a countdown clock for his ugly exit the moment he walked in the door. An exclusive excerpt from a new ESPN oral history.

6. “The Fight Over Billy Graham’s Legacy”
Lisa Miller, Newsweek

With the great evangelist in his twilight, his children are jostling over his image and the family name. In this week’s Newsweek, Lisa Miller reports on the younger Grahams’ politics, infighting—and efforts to protect their father from the press.

This weekly column is The Daily Beast's contribution to the growing Longreads community on Twitter, where fans of longform journalism collect and share their favorite stories. Follow along through the hashtag #longreads, and visit and for suggestions throughout the week. To take these stories on the go, we recommend using smartphone applications such as Instapaper or Read It Later. You can download either at your mobile phone's application store. To send us suggestions, tweet the story to @thedailybeast on Twitter with the hashtag #longreads. To read previous editions, visit our Longreads archive

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