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The Week’s Best Reads

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From the outrage of American solitary confinement to the Romney family’s myth of self-reliance, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside Americas Prisons.
Shane Bauer, Mother Jones


We throw thousands of men in the hole for the books they read, the company they keep, the beliefs they hold. Here’s why.

The Voter-Fraud Myth
Jane Mayer, The New Yorker


The man who stoked fear of impostors at the polls.

A Ruling Familys Hidden Riches
David Barboza, The New York Times


How did so many relatives of China’s prime minister go from rags to riches since he’s been in office?

Growing Up Romney
Noam Schreiber, The New Republic

Mitt, Tagg, and the Romney family myth of self-reliance.

The Truck Stop Killer
Vanessa Veselka, GQ


He was methodical, he rode the highways, and he preyed on teenage girls no one would miss. In the summer of 1985, the author was such a girl. Now, years later, she returns to the scenes of her fugitive youth looking for clues to that terror—and the girls who lost their lives to it.

The New Pot Barons
Tony Dokoupil, Newsweek 

Pot use in the United States is rising sharply, and voters may make it fully legal in two states this fall. Smart businessmen are banking on that happening.

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Longreads

The Week’s Best Reads

From the hidden Nov. 7 agendas of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to the biggest troll on the Internet, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

November 7th
Jonathan Chait, New York


Though their agendas are hidden, both Romney and Obama have plans to dramatically remake the size and character of American government. Very, very quickly.

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The Innocent Man
Pamela Collof, Texas Monthly


The first in a two-part series deconstructing the case against Michael Morton, who was convicted in 1987 of killing his wife but has maintained his innocence.

Unmasking the Biggest Troll on the Web
Adrien Chen, Gawker


The man behind Violentacrez, the Reddit persona responsible for forums full of racism and pornograhy.

God Talk
James Wood, The New Yorker


The Book of Common Prayer at 350.

What Can You Really Know?
Freeman Dyson, The New York Review of Books

How philosophy lost its bite.

The Great Deformer
David Stockman, Newsweek


Is Mitt Romney really a job creator? Ronald Reagan’s budget director takes a scalpel to the claims.

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Longreads

The Week’s Best Reads

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From Argentina’s crazy, menacing soccer underworld to a man’s Google Earth search for his childhood home, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The Dead Are Real

Larissa Macfarquhar, The New Yorker


Hilary Mantel’s imagination.

The Revolution Eats Its Own
Jonathan Chait, The New Republic


How the GOP destroyed its moderates.

A Home at the End of Google Earth
David Kushner, Vanity Fair


Separated from his older brother at a train station, 5-year-old Saroo Munshi Khan found himself lost in the slums of Calcutta. Nearly 20 years later, living in Australia, he began a painstaking search for his birth home, using ingenuity, hazy memories, and Google Earth.

The Not-So-Beautiful Game
Patrick Symmes, Outside


In Argentina, rival soccer fans don’t just hate, they kill, and the violent partisans of top clubs fuel crime syndicates that influence the sport at its highest levels. Patrick Symmes braves the bottle rockets, howling mobs, urine bombs, and drunken grannies on a wild ride through the scariest fútbol underworld on earth.

The Life of a Salesman
Eli Saslow, The Washington Post


Selling success when the American dream is downsized.

Hate the Beatles!
Mark Edmundsun, Los Angeles Review of Books


He grew up evangelizing against the Beatles, and eventually succumbed. But those few years of loathing mattered even more than the eventual craze.

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Longreads

The Week’s Best Reads

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From allegations that ExxonMobile paid Indonesian torturers to a fearless one-eyed matador, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The League of Dangerous Mapmakers
Robert Draper, The Atlantic

Who’s most to blame for our divisive politics? How about the gerrymanderers quietly deciding where your vote goes. Inside the dark art and modern science of making democracy a lot less democratic.

Did ExxonMobile Pay Torturers?
Ian Shearn and Laird Townsend, Mother Jones

The oil giant claims it has no responsibility for atrocities committed by the government soldiers it hired to protect its plant in Indonesia. Will the Supreme Court agree?

Down and Out in the Top 10
Nitsuh Abebe, New York

The indie-rock quartet Grizzly Bear just released a hit record and sold out Radio City Music Hall. But forget about renting a private jet. Some of them don’t even have health insurance. Welcome to the new rock-star economy.
 
Swallowed by the London Whale
Susan Dominus, The New York Times Magazine

The rise and fall of Ina Drew, whose career at JPMoran came to an end over a $6 billion mistake.

China in Revolt
Eli Friedman, Jacobin

Few in the West are aware of the drama unfolding in today’s “epicenter of global labor unrest.” A scholar of China exposes its tumultuous labor politics.
 
The Blind Faith of the One-Eyed Matador
Karen Russell, GQ

Last fall, one of Spain's greatest matadors took a horn to the face. It was a brutal goring, among the most horrific in the history of bullfighting. Miraculously, Juan Jose Padilla was back in the bullring—sí, fighting bulls—a mere five months later.

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The Week’s Best Reads

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From Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s adult fiction debut to the Texas postman who designs for Hermès, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Mugglemarch
Ian Parker, The New Yorker

J.K. Rowling writes a realist novel for adults.

Portrait of the Artist as a Postman
Jason Sheeler, Texas Monthly

The only American designer for Hermès is a postman in Waco, Texas.

The Great New England Vampire Panic 
Abigail Tucker, Smithsonian

How 19th-century American farmers became convinced that dead relatives could rise from their graves and feed on them as vampires.

The Cop Whisperer
Ed Leibowitz, Los Angeles

Growing up in South L.A. was key training for David Ayer, the writer-director behind the LAPD saga End of Watch.

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The Week’s Best Reads

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From Cuba’s mysterious post-Castro future to the story behind a new papyrus fragment that suggests Jesus was married, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Where is Cuba Going?
John Jeremiah Sullivan, The New York Times Magazine


Not long ago, there were smart people who doubted that such a thing as a post-Fidel Cuba could even exist. What comes after the Castros is as much of a mystery as ever.

The Inside Story of a Controversial New Gospel
Ariel Sabar, Smithsonian


According to a top religion scholar, this 1,600-year-old text fragment suggests that some early Christians believed Jesus was married—possibly to Mary Magdalene.

The Lie Factory
Jill Lepore, The New Yorker


How American politics became a business.

Among the Alawites
Nir Rosen, London Review of Books


What a mystical Syrian sect wants for its country.

The Man Who Wasnt There 
William D. Cohen, Bloomberg Businessweek


As Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin oversaw the last great roaring economy—and set the table for its demise. At Citigroup, he was paid $126 million—and the firm almost perished. The tale of a wise man, and a phantom.

Jürgen Habermas Against Europe 
Bruce Robbins, Los Angeles Review of Books


The German philosopher unloads on his country’s handling of the debt crisis.

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Longreads

The Week’s Best Reads

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From Michael Lewis’s six-month sojourn with President Obama to the inside story of a failed coup at the University of Virginia, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Obama’s Way
Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair

Six months with the president.

Anatomy of a Campus Coup
Andrew Rice, The New York Times Magazine 

What does the failed ouster of Teresa Sullivan, the University of Virginia’s president, mean for higher education?

Paddled
Christopher Beam, GQ

Finding his way in Beijing was rough, so Christopher Beam turned to something he was good at—Ping-Pong—to try to assimilate. Then the pre-teen ping-machines gave him a taste of China’s national pastime.

Rising Together
Maria Bustillos, Los Angeles Review of Books

A corrective to the debate over Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men.


A Philosopher Defends Religion
Thomas Nagel, New York Review of Books

The celebrated New York University philosopher reviews a new book by Christian epistemologist Alvin Plantinga.

The Worst Drug Scandal of All Time 

Roger Williams and Jonathan Stone, Newsweek
The Nazis and thalidomide.

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Longreads

The Week’s Best Reads

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From Obama’s relationship with Bill Clinton to the contradictions of young American liberals, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Let’s Be Friends
Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker


Barack Obama and Bill Clinton reconcile.

The Tryhards
Freddie DeBoer, 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 support deeply inadequate policies.

The Education of Elizabeth Warren
Monica Potts, The American Prospect


Supporters of the Massachusetts Dem thought she had a lock on Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat. 
But the campaign has proved that’s far from true.

31 Shocks Later
Jennifer Gonnerman, New York


Andre McCollins’s mother thought she’d finally found the right school for her son—one equipped to treat his behavioral and developmental problems. Then she took a closer look at that treatment.

Born This Way
Cord Jefferson, Gawker


Scientists are increasingly convinced that pedophilia is an unchangeable sexual orientation. Can society deal with the truth?

How to Read Žižek
Adam Kotsko, Los Angeles Review of Books


Dismissing the popular philosopher Slavoj Žižek as both clownish and politically dangerous has become a ritual. But his critics are unwittingly demonstrating his theories.

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Longreads

The Week’s Best Reads

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From the mysterious descent of Colorado shooter James Holmes to the man who made Justin Bieber, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

“Greed and Debt”
Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone


How Mitt Romney and his private equity firm staged an epic wealth grab, destroyed jobs, and stuck others with the bill.

“Before Gunfire, Hints of ‘Bad News’”
Erica Goode, Serge S. Kovaleski, Jack Healy and Dan
Frosch, The New York Times


James Holmes’s mysterious descent from shy graduate student to mass murderer.

“Teen Titan”
Lizzie Widdicombe, The New Yorker


The man who made Justin Bieber.

“Catch Me If You Can”
Dean King, Outside


From the perspective of an autistic, 8-year-old boy who went missing in a Virginia park, the largest manhunt in state history was the ultimate game of hide-and-seek.

“Revolt of the Rich”
Mike Lofgren, The American Conservative


America’s financial elites are the new secessionists.

“A Dancer’s Demons”
Julie Kavanagh, Intelligent Life


A few months ago Sergei Polunin walked out on a golden career with the Royal Ballet, sounding like a lost boy. What was going on? And what happened next?

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Longreads

The Week’s Best Reads

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From Obama’s distaste for the billionaires he needs to win in November to Venus and Serena Williams’s intriguing family history, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

Schmooze or Lose
Jane Mayer, The New Yorker


Obama doesn’t like cozying up to billionaires. Could it cost him the election?

Venus and Serena Against the World
John Jeremiah Sullivan, The New York Times Magazine


How the two sisters—and their extremely unlikely family—beat tennis.

Fear of a Black President
Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic


As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America’s original sin, slavery. But as our first black president, he has avoided mention of race almost entirely. In having to be “twice as good” and “half as black,” Obama reveals the false promise and double standard of integration.

Everything You’ve Heard About Failing Schools is Wrong
Kristina Rizga,
Mother Jones

Attendance: up. Dropout rates: plummeting. College acceptance: through the roof. My mind-blowing year inside a “low-performing” school.

The Truth About the World Trade Center
Scott Rabb, Esquire


As the “Freedom Tower” reaches its full height, the inside story of boondoggles, self-dealing, common corruption, and why it has all taken so long.

The Real Indiana Jones
Tony Dokoupil, Newsweek


Forrest Fenn has hidden a million dollars’ worth of antiques—and he wants you to discover it. Is he a modern-day treasure hunter or a grave robber?

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Longreads

The Week’s Best Reads

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From Obama’s abandonment of the poor to an Asian evangelical leader who claims to be Christ, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Obama vs. Poverty
Paul Tough, The New York Times Magazine

As a young community organizer in Chicago, Barack Obama concluded that to make a real difference, he needed to gain power. But did he actually make a difference?

The Second Coming Christ
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?

Raging Bulls
Jerry Adler, Wired

Wall Street used to bet on companies that build things. Now it just bets on technologies that make faster and faster trades.

Weather Gone Wild
Peter Miller,
National Geographic

Rains that are almost biblical, heat waves that don’t end, tornadoes that strike in savage swarms—there’s been a change in the weather lately. What’s going on?

Prog Spring
David Weigel, Slate

Before it was a joke, prog was the future of rock and roll. The first part of a series on prog rock’s rise and fall.

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The Week’s Best Reads

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From chain restaurants’ lessons for health care to the recycled techno-babble of TED, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web.

Big Med
Atul Gawande, The New Yorker

Restaurant chains have managed to combine quality control, cost control, and innovation. Can health care?

The Naked and the TED
Evgeny Morozov, The New Republic


Taking apart the recycled, futuristic kitsch that dominates the global “ideas” industry.

Allen West’s Rise from the Florida Fever Swamps
Tim Murphy, Mother Jones


A trip to the belly of the anti-Shariah beast.

My Epic Hacking
Matt Honan, Wired.com


Apple and Amazon’s weak security protocols fall to reckless teenage hackers, and a tech journalist’s digital life is erased overnight.

Old Polymaths Never Die
Adrian Woolridge, The Economist/More Intelligent Life


…they just keep on publishing. The unstoppable legacies of Isaiah Berlin and Hugh Trevor-Roper. (Bonus short read: Martin Amis in The New Republic on leaving the English literary scene.)

America the Anxious
David Frum, Newsweek


The recession is over—but not for you. From penniless retirement accounts to frozen wages, demographic uneasiness to inept lawmakers, the bad news seems here to stay.

FROM THE ARCHIVES:

Fussbudget
Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker

With the announcement that he'll be splitting the GOP ticket with Mitt Romney, Lizza's profile of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is required reading for anyone interested in their choices come November.

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The Week’s Best Reads

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From the last refuge of radical America to the dramatic political end of Arizona’s corrupt, grandstanding Sheriff Joe, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The Last Refuge of Radical America
Jonathan Mahler, The New York Times Magazine


The Occupy movement is still wreaking havoc in Oakland, the world capital of anticapitalism.

Fussbudget
Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker


How Paul Ryan captured the GOP.

The Long, Lawless Ride of Sheriff Joe
Joe Hagan, Rolling Stone


Locking up the innocent. Arresting his critics. Racial profiling. Meet America’s meanest and most corrupt politician.

Undead
Monica Murphy and Bill Wasik, Wired


The rabies virus remains a medical mystery.

Vera’s Kidney, Walter’s Money
Arndt Ginzel, Wolfgang Kraushaar and Steffen Winter, Der Spiegel

She was a poor Russian immigrant in Israel, he was a well-off German businessman. The case of Vera and Walter reveals a thriving illegal trade in kidneys and other organs—and shows how it is fueled by desperation.

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America
Kiese Laymon, Gawker


Growing up black, and on parole in Mississippi.

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The Week’s Best Reads

From Karl Rove’s plot to retake the Republican Party to Texas’ radical turn on women’s health, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

King Karl
Paul M. Barrett, Bloomberg Businessweek


Karl Rove’s $1 billion plan to become the CEO of the Republican Party.

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Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives
Mimi Schwartz, Texas Monthly


In 2011 the Texas slashed family planning funds, passed a new sonogram law, and waged an all-out war on Planned Parenthood that has dramatically shifted the state’s public health priorities.

We Are Alive
David Remnick, The New Yorker


Bruce Springsteen at 62.

American Sisters Haven’t Strayed. The Vatican Has.
Amy Koehlinger, Religion & Politics


In the middle of the 20th century, the Vatican urged sisters to reimagine their vocation for the modern world. The sisters followed obediently, despite heavy costs and dramatic upheaval. Now, a sex-obsessed papacy is trying to take it all back.

Katie Holmes Cruise Has Left the Building
Benjamin Wallace, New York


Reflections on the celebrity projection screen known as TomKat: Did an American sweetheart mount a daring escape from the clutches of her wacko husband? Or was Tom Cruise really the dupe all along?

‘It Takes A Lot to Rattle Me’
Andrew Romano, Newsweek


She lost her dad, had surgery, and tested positive for a banned substance. How Hope Solo survived—and put U.S. women's soccer in position to bring home gold.

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The Week’s Best Reads

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From the tough case of a parent-killer who wants to be released to the first gay military wedding, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Should a Parent-Killer Go Free?
Scott Anderson, The New York Times Magazine


Nineteen years ago, at age 14, Ousley murdered his mother and father. So why does he think he deserves to get out of prison?

The Wedding
Katherine Goldstein, Slate


Will and Erwynn met at church and fell in love. But they had a big problem—“don’t ask, don’t tell.” The unlikely story of the first gay military union.

Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math
Bill McKibben, Rolling Stone


Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe, and make clear who the real enemy is.

Dreaming of a World Without Intellectuals
Russell Jacoby, The Chronicle Review


Conservative intellectuals’ flight from elitism led to a populist swamp peopled by autodidacts and fundamentalists.

“Everyone Only Wants Temps”
Gabriel Thompson, Mother Jones


My stint doing "on demand" grunt work for one of America's hottest growth industries.

The Bookless Library
David A. Bell, The New Republic


Don’t deny the change. Direct it wisely.

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