The Daily Beast’s Best Longreads of 2012

From the sprawling sex-abuse scandal that shattered an Oklahoma megachurch to the shocking, decades-long ordeal of an innocent man convicted in Texas, The Daily Beast picks the best essays and journalism of the year.

12.28.12 9:45 AM ET

Grace in Broken Arrow
Kiera Feldman, This Land

How lust, greed, and denial corroded an Oklahoma megachurch and shattered the lives of its victims and their families.

The Innocent Man (Part One, Part Two)
Pamela Colloff, Texas Monthly

On Aug. 13, 1986, Michael Morton came home from work to discover that his wife had been brutally murdered in their bed. His nightmare had only begun.

The Yankee Comandante
David Grann, The New Yorker

A story of love, revolution, and betrayal.

The Tryhards
Freddie de Boer, The New Inquiry

Liberal pundits are surprisingly radical in their critiques of American meritocracy. But their material comfort and proximity to power forces them to compromise their real convictions.

The Story of a Suicide
Ian Parker, The New Yorker

Two college roommates, a webcam, and a tragedy.

Come On, Feel the Buzz
Alex Pareene, The Baffler

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How Politico sold out journalism and ushered in post-truth politics.

Just One More Game
Sam Anderson, The New York Times Magazine

The hyper-addictive, time-sucking, relationship-busting, mind-crushing power and allure of silly digital games.

Why Women Still Can’t Have It All
Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Atlantic

A Princeton professor and former Obama adviser provoked an explosive debate with this essay arguing that, absent a significant rearrangement of the American workplace, it will remain impossible for women to have high-powered careers and successfully raise children at the same time. Plus, read responses from Rebecca Traister, E.J. Graff, Hanna Rosin, Lauren Sandler, and Lindsay Beyerstein.

The Second Coming Christ Controversy
Ted Olsen and Ken Smith, Christianity Today

David Jang has become an increasingly influential figure in Asian and now American evangelicalism. He and his followers have founded media outlets and a Christian college. But is he telling his followers he’s Christ?

In Rust Belt, a Teenager’s Climb From Poverty
Anne Hull, The Washington Post

A 17-year-old girl in troubled New Castle, Pa., goes to extraordinary lengths to escape her mother’s fate.

My Escape From Sea Org
Abigail Pesta, The Daily Beast

Astra Woodcraft grew up in the militaristic arm of Scientology known as the Sea Org—until she broke free. She tells the story of her break from the secretive organization where Suri Cruise was rumored to be headed.