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The Week’s Best Reads


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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The Week’s Best Reads

From Barack Obama’s killing-machine presidency to the empire of Mormon mammon, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama
Tom Junod, Esquire

Sure, we as a nation have always killed people. A lot of people. But no president has ever waged war by killing enemies one by one, targeting them individually for execution, wherever they are, even when the collateral damage is innocent American lives.


How the Mormons Make Money
Caroline Winter, Businessweek

The Church of Latter-day Saints has amassed financial holdings worth billions. Here's an inside look at its business empire.

The Chickens and the Bulls
William McGowan, Slate

The rise and incredible fall of a vicious extortion ring that preyed on prominent gay men in the 1960s.

Will Tumblr Sell Out?
Rob Walker, The New York Times Magazine

The founder and C.E.O. has a vision for his Web company as a “platform for creativity” unblemished by commercialization. But isn’t that what all 26-year-old tech prodigies say?

A Buddhist Retreat’s Death Saga
Lizzie Crocker, The Daily Beast

A Buddhist ‘Retreat for Peace’ in the rugged Arizona mountains has been less than peaceful lately, as a top student was expelled and later found dead in a cave. The Daily Beast’s Lizzie Crocker went looking for answers.


The Week’s Best Reads

From the peril that awaits the American pullout in Afghanistan to the strange career of porn star James Deen, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

After America
Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker

Will civil war hit Afghanistan the instant the U.S. pulls out?

Can Democrats Catch Up in the Super PAC Game?
Robert Draper, The New York Times Magazine

They have a distaste for the new rules of the campaign-finance game. But they are playing.

‘Where Was My Mind Wandering?’
Geoffrey Gray, New York

In the perfect sky of Roger Federer’s tennis world, something has been amiss. And only he can find it.

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The Well-Hung Boy Next Door
Wells Tower, GQ

Men aren’t porn stars; at best, they’re props. But not James Deen, who’s gotten huge with teenage girls by being average.

Rachel Maddow’s Quiet War
Ben Wallace-Wells, Rolling Stone

America's leading lefty wonk has seen the enemy, and it's not just the GOP—it's the battles she fights every day with herself.

How the Modern Olympics Got Their Start
Frank Deford, Smithsonian

As London gets set to host the XXXth Olympiad, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford connects the modern Games to their unlikely origin—in rural England.

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Best Scientology Longreads

From The New Yorker to St. Petersburg Times, the best journalism on the controversial church. By David Sessions.

The Apostate (2011)
Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker

Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology.


Members of the Church of Scientology walk past the new Flag Building, owned by the church, Aug. 28, 2007 in Clearwater, Fla. (Chris O'Meara / AP Photo)

What Is Scientology? (2012)
Tony Ortega, The Village Voice

An in-depth but readable guide to what Scientologists believe, with links to Scientology reporter Tony Ortega’s hundreds of articles about the church.

The Cult of Greed (1991)
Richard Behar, Time

“Ruined lives. Lost fortunes. Federal crimes.” In this 1991 cover story, Time magazine declared, “Scientology poses as a religion but really is a ruthless global scam.”

Attack the Attacker (1996)
Joel Sappell and Richard W. Welkos, Los Angeles Times


The Week’s Best Reads

From the truth behind the Fast and Furious scandal to a Baptist minister’s acceptance of his gay son, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The Truth About ‘Fast and Furious’
Katherine Eban, Fortune

A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust.


Seeing Nora Everywhere
Lena Dunham, The New Yorker

The opportunity to be friends with Nora in the last year of her life informs the entirety of mine.

A Tempest in My Soul
Joan Garrett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

A son’s secret brings a Southern Baptist minister to his knees.

Inside Anonymous
Quinn Norton, Wired

How the secretive hacker group picks targets, launches attacks, and takes powerful organizations down.

The Rock-Star Diplomat’s Last Tour
Steven Lee Myer, The New York Times Magazine

What is Hillary Clinton’s future? Given the problems facing the world, it’s hard to look past the next six months.

War of the Wombs
Abigail Pesta, Newsweek

Keith Mason and his wife are leading a growing national campaign to legally define human embryos as people, which would outlaw abortion—and possibly some forms of birth control.



The Week’s Best Reads

From the myth of the “creative class” to the college-degree cartel bankrupting America’s students, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The Fall of the Creative Class
Frank Bures, Thirty Two

The theory that hip, “creative class” residents drive economic growth has become an article of faith among urban planners. Frank Bures believed it until he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and started finding cracks in the gospel.


Death By Degrees
The Editors, n+1

What if college degrees have nothing to do with education, and everything to do with keeping a privileged class in power?

Why Iran Should Get the Bomb
Kenneth N. Waltz, Foreign Affairs

Contrary to the claims of American and Israeli officials, a nuclear Iran would create more stability in the Middle East, not less.

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.

Follow the Dark Money
Andy Kroll, Mother Jones

The down and dirty history of secret spending, PACs gone wild, and the epic four-decade fight over the only kind of political capital that matters.

Vanishing Languages
Russ Rymer, National Geographic

By the next century nearly half of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken on Earth will likely disappear, as communities abandon native tongues in favor of English, Mandarin, or Spanish. What is lost when a language goes silent?

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The Week’s Best Reads

From the evangelical bully trying to control the GOP to the creepy new economics of pleasure, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Bully Pulpit
Jane Mayer, The New Yorker

Evangelist talk-show host Bryan Fischer’s campaign to control the Republican Party.


Obama’s Drift Toward War With Iran
Robert Wright, The Atlantic

There are things Obama could do to greatly increase the chances of a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear problem, but he seems to have decided that doing them would bring political blowback that would reduce his chances of reelection.

Dierdre N. McCloskey, The New Republic

The creepy new economics of pleasure.

The Streets of Tirana
Kevin Heldman, Capital New York

An investigation into the heart of Albanian-American organized crime.

The Mind Reader
David Cyranoski, Nature

Adrian Owen has found a way to use brain scans to communicate with people previously written off as unreachable. Now he’s fighting to take his methods to the clinic.

The Last Days of Mary Kennedy
Laurence Leamer, Newsweek

She was the love of Bobby Jr.’s life. Then everything unraveled. A Kennedy historian reveals the heartbreaking story of Mary’s long decline.

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The Week’s Best Reads

From the dark secrets of Manhattan’s Horace Mann school to a decades-long cancer hoax, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

Prep-School Predators
Amos Kamil, The New York Times Magazine

Many years later, graduates of the Horace Mann School, an elite private school in New York, are finally able to tell their stories of sexual abuse.


The Netanyahu Paradox
David Margolick, Vanity Fair

Benjamin Netanyahu has largely vanquished his domestic foes—the Israeli media and the political opposition—in a battle backed by two U.S. billionaires and reportedly fueled by his wife, Sara. But the one thing he can’t control is his country’s destiny.

The Long, Fake Life of J.S. Dirr
Adrien Chen, Gawker

A decades-long cancer hoax unravels.

Girls Love Me
Katy Vine, Texas Monthly

On the next Justin Bieber, 16-year-old Austin Mahone, and how pop stars are made:

The Quiet Evangelist
Peter Wilby, The New Statesman

Alan Rusbridger can claim to be the The Guardian’s greatest editor. But will he also be its last?

Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No. 203
Sam Weller, The Paris Review

An interview with the sci-fi author, who died this week.

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The Week’s Best Reads

From the return of behavior modification to Obama’s blueprint for crushing Romney, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The Perfected Self
David H. Freedman, The Atlantic

B. F. Skinner’s notorious theory of behavior modification was denounced by critics 50 years ago as a fascist, manipulative vehicle for government control. But a new wave of smartphone apps is giving them an unlikely comeback.

Hope: The Sequel
John Heilemann, New York

Inside Obama-campaign headquarters, the president’s senior strategists are confident they have demographics, history, and the better candidate on their side. But just to make absolutely sure they’ll beat Mitt Romney, they’re planning to ditch their hopey-changey past and double down on Rovean ruthlessness.

Will Craig Venter’s Bugs Save the World?
Wil S. Hylton, The New York Times Magazine

Some will be designed to devour things, like pollution. Others will generate food and fuel. There will be bugs to fight global warming, bugs to clean up toxic waste, bugs to manufacture medicine and diagnose disease, and they will all be driven to complete these tasks by the very fibers of their synthetic DNA.

How Germany Conquered Amazon
Michael Naumann, The Nation

The lone Western country with a thriving bookstore culture.


How Texas Inflicts Bad Textbooks on Us
Gail Collins, The New York Review of Books

The people picking the nation’s textbooks think “evolution is hooey.” So why are they so powerful?

The Beach Boys’ Crazy Summer
Andrew Romano, Newsweek

He heard voices, did drugs, and fell apart. Can the band’s reunion tour help put Brian Wilson back together again?

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The Week’s Best Reads

From the the child abuse epidemic that destroyed an Oklahoma megachurch to Muammar Gaddafi’s massive spy network, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

The Yankee Commandante
David Grann, The New Yorker

A story of love, revolution and betrayal.

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 Battleground
Alex MacGillis, The New Republic

Over the past year, Ohio politics has been in upheaval. What does that mean for November?

Jamming Tripoli
Matthieu Aikins, Wired

Inside Muammar Gaddafi’s secret surveillance network.

Roland Barthes Gave Us the TV Recap
Sam Anderson, The New York Times Magazine

What would the man who essentially created cultural criticism make of a world in which criticism has become a kind of pop culture?

The Mystery of the Multiverse
Brian Greene, Newsweek

The latest developments in cosmology point toward the possibility that our universe is merely one of billions.

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The Week’s Best Reads

From Obama’s previously untold romance during his Columbia years to the crazy run of fugitive George Wright, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

Becoming Obama
David Maraniss, Vanity Fair

When Barack Obama met Genevieve Cook in 1983 at a Christmas party in New York’s East Village, it was the start of his most serious romance yet. But as the 22-year-old Columbia grad began to shape his future, he was also struggling with his identity: American or international? Black or white?

Michael Finkel, GQ

George Wright, America’s most elusive fugitive, ran from authorities on three continents. Now that he’s been found, he may pull off the greatest escape of all.

Forgive Us Our Debts
Benjamin Kunkel, The London Review of Books

How money made debt a tool of violence and injustice.

The Operator
Charles Homans, The New Republic

What does the 2012 campaign’s biggest donor really want?

How McDonald’s Came Back Bigger Than Ever
Keith O’Brien, The New York Times Magazine

The fast food giant is growing explosively even as its PR battle gets harder. Now, it’s setting its sights on the holdouts who aren’t convinced.

What Your Klout Score Really Means
Seth Stevenson, Wired

The annoying influence metric isn’t going away, and soon a low Klout score could mean not getting jobs or getting worse customer service.




The Week’s Best Reads

From America’s secret wars to the downward spiral of once-promising conservative journalist Tucker Carlson, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The Rise of the Killer Drones
Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone

How America goes to war in secret.


Earth to Ben Bernanke
Paul Krugman, The New York Times Magazine

The Federal Reserve chairman has the power, and the obligation, to end the slump and the human misery that comes with it. So what’s stopping him?

Tucker Carlson’s Downward Spiral
Alex Pareene, Salon

Once a promising young magazine writer, the bow-tied Daily Caller pundit has come to epitomize right-wing hackdom.

Mitt Romney’s Dark Knight
Jason Zengerle, GQ

If Karl Rove was George W. Bush’s brain, Eric Fehrnstrom is Mitt Romney’s balls.

Get Rich U.
Ken Aluetta, The New Yorker

Is Stanford too close to Silicon Valley?

The Tabloid Turncoat
Steve Fishman, New York

Colin Myler, the New York Daily News’ new editor, knows his enemies at Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post. Maybe too well.

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The Week’s Best Reads

From the state of America’s income inequality to the dramatic sinking of the Costa Concordia, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The White Plight
Andrew Hacker, The New York Review of Books

Charles Murray writes another book about race.


Another Night to Remember
Bryan Burrough, Vanity Fair

When the Costa Concordia hit a rock off the Italian coast on Jan. 13, it became the largest passenger ship ever wrecked, supplanting the Titanic in maritime history.

Six Degrees of Aggregation
Michael Shapiro, Columbia Journalism Review

How The Huffington Post ate the internet.

Truth or Consequences
Joe Hagan, Texas Monthly

Eight years ago, Dan Rather broadcast an explosive report on the Air National Guard service of President George W. Bush. It was supposed to be the legendary newsman’s finest hour. Instead, it blew up in his face. Joe Hagan finally gets to the bottom of the greatest untold story in modern Texas politics.

How America Came to Torture Its Prisoners
Larry Siems, Slate

I read nearly 140,000 formerly classified documents about America’s abuse of prisoners since 2001. Here is what I learned.

Can You Make Yourself Smarter?
Dan Hurley, The New York Times Magazine

A new memory game has revived the tantalizing notion that people can work their way to a higher I.Q.


The Week’s Best Reads

From a 3,000-plus-page biography of Lyndon Johnson to the blockbuster increase in Americans living alone, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

The Big Book
Chris Jones, Esquire

Robert Caro has spent 38 years writing the biography of one man. The fourth volume of that work, like its three predecessors a giant achievement and certain bestseller, is about to be published. But Caro is not done.

Why Noah Went to the Woods
Mark Sundeen, Outside

He was a proud Marine who survived three brutal tours in Iraq and had plans to redeploy with the National Guard. But when 30-year-old Noah Pippin vanished inside Montana’s remote Bob Marshall Wilderness, he left behind a trail of haunting secrets—and a mystery that may never be solved.

The Disconnect
Nathan Heller, The New Yorker

Why are so many Americans living by themselves?

The Camorra Never Sleeps
William Langewiesche, Vanity Fair

For years before they caught him, the Italian police had no idea that Paolo Di Lauro was one of Naples’s most powerful crime bosses, running a drug and counterfeit-goods empire—and responsible for a peace his turf had rarely known. Now they long for the days when he was in charge.


The Crisis in American Walking
Tom Vanderbilt, Slate

How we got off the pedestrian path.

The Devil in Deryl Dedmon
Tony Dokoupil, Newsweek

In a parking lot in Mississippi, he killed a black man with his truck. He's in jail for a hate crime—but his black friends disagree.

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The Week’s Best Reads

From the spread of addictive viral games to the case against having kids, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

What Isn’t for Sale?
Michael J. Sandel, The Atlantic

Market thinking so permeates our lives that we barely notice it anymore. A leading philosopher sums up the hidden costs of a price-tag society.


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

How time-wasting video games escaped the arcade, jumped into our pockets, and took over our lives.

The Book That Drove Them Crazy
Andrew Ferguson, The Weekly Standard

Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind, 25 years later.

The Case Against Kids
Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker

Is procreation immoral?

My Racial Profiling Lesson
Edward Conlon, The Daily Beast

A former New York cop tells the story of an arrest of three Mexican tourists that took an unprecedented turn.

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