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05.27.11

This Week's Best Reads

From the Fox News circus behind the scenes of the 2012 Republican primaries to the coming collapse of the U.S. Postal Service, The Daily Beast picks the best longform journalism from around the Web this week.

1. “The Elephant in the Green Room”
Gabriel Sherman, New York

On Roger Ailes’s watch, Fox News has become the most popular cable news network. But while courting the GOP’s angriest constituents may be good for ratings, it’s undermined Ailes’s real goal: setting up a Republican candidate strong enough to knock Obama out in 2012.

2. “Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?”
Susan Dominus, New York Times Magazine

The miraculous life of Tatiana and Krista Hogan and what it could reveal about the human brain.

3. “The End of the Mail”
Devin Leonard, Bloomberg Businessweek

Delivery of first-class mail is falling at a staggering rate. Facing insolvency, can the USPS reinvent itself like European services have—or will it implode?

4. “Falling Comet”
Michael Hall, Texas Monthly

In 1955, "Rock Around the Clock" went to the top of the charts and turned Bill Haley into the king of rock 'n' roll. Twenty-five years later, he was holed up in a pool house in Harlingen, drunk, lonely, paranoid, and dying. After three decades of silence, his widow and his children tell the story of his years in Texas and his sad final days.

5. “The Great Democracy Meltdown”
Joshua Kurlantzick, The New Republic

“The Arab Spring is something of a smokescreen for what is taking place in the world as a whole. Around the globe, it is democratic meltdowns, not democratic revolutions, that are now the norm.”

6. “Interview With a Pirate”
Jay Bahadur, The Guardian

Jay Bahadur, the author of Deadly Waters: Inside the Hidden World of Somalia's Pirates, meets Abdullahi Abshir—a man who claims to have hijacked more than 25 ships in the Gulf of Aden.

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 Longreads.com and Longform.org 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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