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The Week’s Best Reads

From the inside story of how NBC’s ‘Smash’ went off the rails to the surviving billionaire relatives of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

Smash was supposed to be the show that saved NBC—but people laughed at it instead. How did it all go so wrong?

Sessions: Long Reads

The Lost Russians
Mike Dash,

In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, cut off from all human contact for 40 years, unaware that World War II had happened.

The multibillion-dollar family business passed down to the surviving step-children of Joseph Goebbels has a history intertwined with Germany's quest for domination in the 20th century.

The NRA vs. America
Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone


The Week’s Best Reads

David Sessions: The Week’s Best Longreads for January 26, 2013

From the the battle over how much military is enough to the lifestyle of Israel’s illegal settlers in the West Bank, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The Price of a Stolen Childhood
Emily Bazelon, The New York Times Magazine

Victims of child pornography can now collect damages directly from those convicted of possessing their images. But how much can restitution help them repair their lives?

The Force
Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

How much military is enough?

Living the American Dream in the West Bank
Kiera Feldman, Vice

Hanging out with Israel’s illegal homesteaders.

Siri Rising
Bianca Bosker, The Huffington Post

The inside story of Siri’s origins, and why she could soon overshadow the iPhone.

The Red and the Black
Seth Ackerman, Jacobin

The economics of a feasible socialism.

Hands Off Our Guns

David Mamet, Newsweek

The individual is not only best qualified to provide his own personal defense, he is the only one qualified to do so.

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The Week’s Best Reads

longreads sessions

AP (Manti Te'o), Getty (Crown Heights)

From the bizarre revelation that Manti Teo’s dead girlfriend was a hoax to the growing power of the Israeli far right, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

Manti Teo’s Dead Girlfriend
Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey, Deadspin

The most heartbreaking and inspiring story of the college football season is a hoax.

Which Way Did the Taliban Go?
Luke Mogelson, The New York Times Magazine

Digging out roadside bombs, running into ambushes and dancing with deranged informants—a week in the life of an Afghan National Army battalion, on its own in the wilderness.

The Party Faithful
David Remnick, The New Yorker

The settlers move to annex the West Bank—and Israeli politics.

Coming Home
John Dickerson, Slate

Returning to parenting after 16 months on the campaign trail.


The Week’s Best Reads


From an up-close portrait of Lindsay Lohan’s struggle to stay in line to the science behind pedophilia, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

How to Catch a Falling Star
Stephen Rodrick, The New York Times Magazine

A fading director (Paul Shrader), a troubled actress (Lindsay Lohan), and a disciplined porn star (James Deen) walk onto a movie set...

The Self in Self-Help
Kathryn Schulz, New York

We have no idea what a self is. So how can we fix it?

The Science of Sex Abuse
Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker

Is it right to imprison people for heinous crimes they have not yet committed?

Thank You for Fracking
Tom Chiarella, Esquire

There's a gold rush going on right now. Man is breaking the earth, looking for natural gas—just as we always have. It's a mad scene, with hucksters on every side of the issue. And that's just on the surface. You won't believe what's happening underground.


The Week's Best Longreads


From a master pickpocket’s astounding mind control to Tom Wolfe’s scathing return to Wall Street, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

The Rise of DIY Abortions 
Ada Calhoun, The New Republic

Jennie Linn McCormack took pills to end her pregnancy and hid the fetus under her bed. Her case could change the course of abortion law in America.

What’s Inside America’s Banks?
Frank Partnoy and Jesse Eisinger, The Atlantic

A close investigation of the enormous risks that banks may still be hiding—and a blueprint for how to avert another crisis.

A Pickpocket’s Tale
Adam Green, The New Yorker

The spectacular thefts of Apollo Robbins, the magician who tests the limits of the human mind.

The brutal, beautiful vision of a great American storyteller.


The Best Longreads of 2012


Getty (lower left)

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.

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.


Jason Alden/Bloomberg, via Getty Images

From the man behind America’s favorite doomsday shovel to an American gadfly at the Bank of England, The Daily Beast brings you the best business and finance journalism for the week of December 23, 2012.

How did Tim Ralston become America’s most famous “prepper”? He built the ultimate end-of-civilization tool: a weaponized shovel.

When Facebook was shopping its IPO, it realized that its earnings might not be as good as they expected. Who did the company tell? Only a few big-time investors

The Bribery Aisle: How Walmart Got Its Way in Mexico
David Barstow and Alejanda Xaniv von Bertrab, The New York Times

Mexico is one of the fastest growing middle-income countries in the world. Walmart needed to expand there fast. And so it resorted to systematic bribes.

The King of Con-men

The Economist

You think that Argentina does badly with its sovereign debt? It’s nothing compared to Poyais, the small Latin American country that defaulted on its debt in the 1820s. Why? It was the invention of a Scotsman named Gregor MacGregor.


The Week's Best Longreads


From Zadie Smith’s reflections on the meaning of joy to a made-up language that went haywire, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Zadie Smith, The New York Review of Books

What is it, and why does it hurt so much?

Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up
Jonah Weiner, The New York Times Magazine

The comedy star is 58, rich beyond imagination and still working.

Utopia for Beginners
Joshua Foer, The New Yorker

An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented.

How a Gun-Loving West Texas Girl Learned to Fear Assault Weapons
Haley B. Elkins, XOJane

For every outraged indigence about “trampling” on the second amendment, with every word and breath, I am that young woman again, sitting in her truck in a parking lot, alone except for a 911 operator.

The Woes of an American Drone Operator
Nicola Abé, Der Spiegel

A soldier sets out to graduate at the top of his class. He succeeds, and he becomes a drone pilot working with a special unit of the United States Air Force in New Mexico. He kills dozens of people. But then, one day, he realizes that he can’t do it anymore.

The Shit Were In
John Lanchester, The London Review of Books

The failure of Britain’s finances.

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The Economist Magazine

The Economist magazine is seen on display at a newsagents in London, U.K., in October 2012. (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg, via Getty Images)

From what one journalist learned from ‘The Economist’ to the dark side of a fondly remembered banker, The Daily Beast brings you the best business-and-finance journalism for the week of December 14.

17 Things I Learned From Reading Every Last Word of The Economist’s “The World in 2013” Issue
Mark Leibovich, The New York Times Magazine

Since college, Leibovich has been telling friends he reads The Economist. What happens when he actually does?

What Those Glowing Obits Didn't Tell You About Joe Allbritton
Ken Silverstein,
The New Republic

Joseph Allbritton, who died this week, was remembered in the press as a kindly banker and media mogul, but he was also Pinochet’s favorite banker.

Building a Showcase Campus, Using an I.O.U.
Andrew Martin, The New York Times

All too often, students go deep into debt in pursuit of college degrees that may not pay off. Are the colleges doing the same thing with their massive building boom?

Meet Them in St. Louis: Bankers Move
Dan Fitzpatrick, The Wall Street Journal

St. Louis is doing everything it can be become the next financial hub: one brokerage is even building a bull statue.

FT Person of the Year: Mario Draghi
By Lionel Barber and Michael Steen, Financial Times

This summer, European Central Bank head Mario Draghi said “the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro.” He wasn’t bluffing. 


The Best Longreads on Guns

In the wake of the massacre of 27 people in Newtown, Conn., The Daily Beast picks the best journalism about America’s deadly history of gun violence and the debate surrounding it.


The Secret History of Gun Rights 
Adam Winkler, The Atlantic

The Ku Klux Klan, Ronald Reagan, and, for most of its history, the NRA all worked to control guns. The Founding Fathers? They required gun ownership—and regulated it. And no group has more fiercely advocated the right to bear loaded weapons in public than the Black Panthers—the true pioneers of the modern pro-gun movement. In the battle over gun rights in America, both sides have distorted history and the law, and there’s no resolution in sight.

12 Facts About Guns in the U.S.
Ezra Klein, The Washington Post

Eleven of the 20 worst mass shootings of the past 50 years happened in America, and more disturbing facts.

Glock: America’s Gun
Paul Barrett, Businessweek

How Gaston Glock—a former curtain-rod maker from Austria whose company manufactured the pistols used in Tucson and Killeen—managed to dominate not just the American handgun market, but America's gun consciousness.


The Week’s Best Reads


From the real story of a CIA financier’s brutal murder to Afghanistan’s basketball culture, The Daily Beast picks the best post-election journalism from around the Web this week.

The Heiress
Ken Aluetta, The New Yorker

The measured rise of Elisabeth Murdoch.

James Bond and the Killer Bag Lady
Mark Ames and Alexander Zaitchick, Salon

New clues and a powerful Wall St. skeptic challenge the official story of CIA financier Nick Deak’s brutal murder.

The Basketball Diaries, Afghanistan
Peretz Partensky, n+1

Playing basketball was one of the last things I thought I would do in Afghanistan. Yet, there I was, in a foreign land, in a barely comprehensible cultural landscape, in a stinky hotel, mediating an inter-ethnic conflict in the guise of a skirmish on the court.

A Bishop Behind Bars
M.L. Nestel and Jebediah Reed, The Daily

An Amish sect leader tells of the beard-cutting that could lock him up for life.

Chris Hughes is About to Turn 100
Carl Swanson, New York

The Facebook co-founder has already served as Mark Zuckerberg’s in-house humanist and Barack Obama’s digital consigliere. Now, in buying the venerable, century-old New Republic, he’s out to prove that a 29-year-old worth $600 million is just the man to make the “life of the mind” scalable.

An Intimidated Victim Testifies
Allison Yarrow, The Daily Beast

A young woman from Brooklyn’s tightly knit Satmar community breaks with it to stand by her allegation that a community elder raped her.

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The Week’s Best Reads


From the end of the war on drugs to a Republican’s exit from the right, The Daily Beast picks the best post-election journalism from around the Web this week.

‘The Truce on Drugs’
Benjamin Wallace-Wells, New York

From the marijuana growers of Humboldt County to the narcotics cops of Baltimore, from the voters of Colorado and Washington to the governments of Mexico and Central America, a negotiated surrender is being implemented in the war on drugs. But will it be enough to end the fighting?

‘Revenge of the Reality-Based Community’
Bruce Bartlett, The American Conservative

My life on the Republican right—and how I saw it all go wrong.

‘The Insourcing Boom’
Charles Fishman, The Atlantic

After years of offshore production, General Electric is moving much of its far-flung appliance-manufacturing operations back home. It is not alone. An exploration of the startling, sustainable, just-getting-started return of industry to the United States.

‘Loving a Child on the Fringe’
Cristina Nehring, Slate

A terrified single mother falls in love with her Down-syndrome daughter.


The Week’s Best Reads


From the struggles of a long-shot NFL hopeful to the dangers of a permanent Democratic majority, The Daily Beast picks the best post-election journalism from around the Web this week.

The Man Who Charged Himself With Murder
Jennifer Gonnerman, New York

Trevell Coleman wasn’t sure whether he’d killed a man. But after seventeen years, he needed to find out.

Is This It?
John B. Judis, The New Republic

The agonies and ecstasy of a permanent Democratic majority.

The Hard Life of an NFL Longshot
Charles Siebert, The New York Times Magazine

The story of a rookie hanging on to the fragile hope of a professional football career, as told by his uncle.

Were the Pilgrims Thankful for Spirochete?
Madeleine Johnson, Slate

A gruesome disease granted them uninhabited, cleared land and a sweet brook.

The Expendables
William Langeweische, Vanity Fair

It’s the dark romance of the French Foreign Legion: haunted men from everywhere, fighting anywhere, dying for causes not their own.

12 Ways to Stop the Next Sandy
David Cay Johnston, Newsweek

Far greater disasters loom—unless we move fast to fix a badly broken system. David Cay Johnston lists a dozen possible solutions, from building seawalls to getting tough on AT&T.

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The Week’s Best Reads


From America’s bunkerized diplomacy to the harrowing story of an innocent man imprisoned for 25 years, The Daily Beast picks the best post-election journalism from around the Web this week.

Can American Diplomacy Come Out of Its Bunker?
Robert F. Worth, The New York Times Magazine

With the ever-rising need for security abroad, some of the United States’ former ambassadors are asking what diplomacy can achieve from fortress-like embassies.


The Party Next Time
Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker

As immigration turns red states blue, how can Republicans transform their platform?



The Week’s Best Reads


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama talk over each other as they answer questions during a town hall style debate at Hofstra University October 16, 2012 in Hempstead, New York. (John Moore / Getty Images)

From the inside story of the rough final months of Obama’s presidential campaign to the reasons the GOP can no longer win the electoral college, The Daily Beast picks the best post-election journalism from around the web this week.

How a Race in the Balance Went to Obama
Adam Nagourney, Ashley Parker, Jim Rutenberg, Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

Seven minutes into the first presidential debate, President Obama’s staff were in full panic. But though they played the rest of the game in catch-up mode, their machine had been programmed to win all along.

How the GOP Got Stuck in the Past
David Frum, Newsweek

The finger-pointing misses a bigger truth: Republicans have become estranged from modern America. Why fixating on the old glory days is bogging down the party’s future.

Come On, Feel the Buzz
Alex Pareene, The Baffler

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

The Politics of Fear
Mark Danner, The New York Review of Books 

The 2012 campaign featured endless drama about the American relationship with Israel, but scarcely a word about the horrors in the West Bank.

The Right’s Jennifer Rubin Problem
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

Conservatives lobbied hard to install one of their own at the Washington Post. But it didn’t work out as they imagined.

The World Is Watching
Roads & Kingdoms

Election night from 23 countries around the world.

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Every week, we pick the best long-form journalism from the newest magazines and journals.

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