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The Week’s Best Reads

From Rihanna’s team of hitmakers to the secret implosion of Google, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

The Song Machine
John Seabrook, The New Yorker

The hitmakers behind Rihanna.

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The Age of Double Standards
Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect

American Airlines can declare bankruptcy and wipe away debt. But you can’t—and that’s just the beginning.

The Case Against Google
Matt Honan, Gizmodo

Is search no longer central to Google’s mission? And are its recent moves "evil" by its early company standards?

Nathaniel Rich, The New York Times Magazine

Since Katrina, the cartoonish pace of vegetation growth in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward resembles something out of a Chia Pet commercial.

Should Science Pull the Trigger?
Carl Zimmer, Wired

They could produce drugs that would zap the viruses behind common illnesses. But is it a good idea?

The Cardinal Sees Red
Peter J. Boyer, Newsweek

Cardinal Dolan is not satisfied with the Obama compromise on contraception. America’s pope girds for battle.


The Week’s Best Longreads

From a story about an NSA spy center to the tale of a missing computer programmer, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)
James Bamford, Wired

In a story that should strike fear in the hearts of all privacy-seeking Americans, James Bamford examines an expansive new facility the National Security Agency is building in Bluffdale, Utah. Its purpose: to collect a ginormous amount of data and crack the ultimate encryption.

Foxwoods Is Fighting for Its Life
Michael Sokolove, The New York Times Magazine

The 6.7 million–square–foot Foxwoods Casino is in big trouble. Its owners, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, mismanaged the giant casino’s expansion, and it now sits $2.3 billion in debt. A new CEO—Foxwoods’s seventh since 2007—hopes to guide the unsteady ship into calmer waters.

Where’s _why?
Annie Lowrey, Slate

Where in the world did a mysterious and beloved computer programmer go? A writer—in her journey to learn to code—explores the disappearance of _why.

‘We Have No Choice’: One Woman’s Ordeal with Texas’ New Sonogram Law
Carolyn Jones, Texas Observer

The brutal realities of Texas’s new sonogram law torment a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy.


Good Riddance to Al-Shabab
Laura Heaton, Newsweek

Citizens of Somalia’s Baidoa are so ecstatic the radical Islamist group Al-Shabab has fled, they don’t even mind being occupied by the Ethiopians—yet.


The Week’s Best Reads

From the GOP’s last chance to turn back America’s clock to the stunning success of Southwest Airlines, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong
William D. Nordhaus, New York Review of Books

A scientist responds to climate change deniers who distorted his work.

2012 or Never
Jonathan Chait, New York

And if the GOP can’t win this one, what does that mean for its future? The real reasons behind the party’s existential panic.


Luv and War at 30,000 Feet
S.C. Gwynne, Texas Monthly

Since the late ’80s, every major airline in the country has gone bankrupt—except one. How on earth did scrappy, lovable, cut-rate Southwest hunt down its competition and emerge from all of the turbulence as the nation’s largest domestic carrier?

The Wrath of Putin
Masha Gessen, Vanity Fair


The Week’s Best Reads

From Steve Jobs’s chilling dark side to Mitt Romney’s long evolution on abortion, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

The Book of Jobs
Maureen Tkacik, Reuters

The chilling, sociopathic dark side of Apple’s celebrated CEO.

Scott Ritter’s Other War
Matt Bai, New York Times Magazine

The former United Nations weapons inspector and fierce critic of the Iraq invasion is still fighting, but now against only himself.

The Conversion
William Saletan, Slate

How, when, and why Mitt Romney changed his mind on abortion.

The Forgetting Pill
Jonah Lehrer, Wired

Scientists are discovering how chemicals can affect the way memories are formed, paving the way for a future where it could be possible to forget anything we wanted by taking a single pill.

The Great American Novel
Roger Kimball, The Weekly Standard

Will there ever be another one?


After the Fact
Josh Dzieza, The Daily Beast

A provocative new book describes a seven-year battle between an essayist who believes facts aren’t important and the fact-checker assigned to verify them. But the book itself is not all that it seems.

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The Week’s Best Reads

From the wild rise and fall of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom to the making of gay-marriage foe Maggie Gallagher, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

A Newsman Breaks the Mold in the Arab World
Anthony Shadid, The Washington Post

In this story from 2006, Anthony Shadid, who died of an asthma attack Thursday while covering Syria for The New York Times, profiled the editor of Dubai’s al-Arabiya news channel. (For more of Shadid’s best stories, click here.)

Kim Dotcom, Pirate King
Brian Gruley, David Fickling, and Cornelius Rahn, Bloomberg Businessweek

Is Megaupload's founder a criminal mastermind, or the world's most entertaining scapegoat? A file-sharing wizard's ridiculous rise and fall.


The Making of a Gay Marriage Foe
Mark Oppenheimer, Salon

How Maggie Gallagher's college pregnancy made her a single mom, and a traditional-marriage zealot.

How Companies Learn Your Secrets
Charles Duhigg, The New York Times Magazine


The Week’s Best Reads

From the story of a gay Rutgers student’s suicide to Mitt Romney’s determination to keep his passion a secret, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Story of a Suicide
Ian Parker, The New Yorker

Two college roommates, a webcam, and a tragedy.

Who in God’s Name Is Mitt Romney?
Frank Rich, New York

The Republican candidate has been running for president for half a decade, but familiarity has done nothing to dispel his mystery. And it’ll stay that way as long as he refuses to discuss his driving passion—his faith.

Burning Man
Jay Kirk, GQ

On his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, Sam Brown was set on fire by an improvised explosive device. He survived, doomed to a post-traumatic life of unbearable pain. Then his doctors told him about an experimental treatment, a painkilling video game supposedly more effective than morphine.

The Doctor Will Sue You Now
Mark Seal, Vanity Fair

When famed dermatologist Arnold Klein, the Father of Botox, landed Michael Jackson as a client, it was a dream fulfilled. But in the wake of Jackson’s death, Klein has been engulfed by a toxic cloud of accusation, litigation, and bankruptcy.

What’s Wrong With the Teenage Mind?
Alison Gopnik, The Wall Street Journal

Children today reach puberty earlier and adulthood later. The result: a lot of teenage weirdness. Alison Gopnik on how we might readjust adolescence.


Do-It-(All)-Yourself Parents
Linda Perlstein, Newsweek

They raise chickens. They grow vegetables. They knit. Now a new generation of urban parents is even teaching their own kids.

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The Week’s Best Reads

From the game of chicken between Israel and Iran to the memos that reveal Obama’s intimate decision making, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Israel vs. Iran
Ronen Bergman, The New York Times Magazine

When will it explode?

The Obama Memos
Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker

The making of a post-post-partisan president.

Amazon’s Hit Man
Brad Stone, Businessweek

Larry Kirshbaum was the ultimate book-industry insider—until Amazon called.

A Life in Writing
Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian

“The nirvana would be if the questions raised by Oprah Winfrey would be answered by the faculty at Harvard,” says Alain de Botton, author of Religion for Atheists.

The Revolt of the Salaried Bourgeoisie
Slavoj Žižek, London Review of Books

How the chance to be exploited in a long-term job came to be seen as a privilege.



The Week’s Best Reads

From Andrew Sullivan’s Washington-shaking essay on Obama to the end of George Lucas’s career, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

Obama’s Long Game
Andrew Sullivan, Newsweek

The right calls him a socialist, the left says he sucks up to Wall Street, and independents think he’s a wimp. But the president may just end up outsmarting them all.

The Good Wife
Ariel  Levy, The New Yorker

Can Callista Gingrich save her husband from himself?

What Future for Occupy Wall Street?
Michael Greenberg, New York Review of Books

As Occupy marches on the Supreme Court, the prospects of its survival.


George Lucas Is Ready to Roll the Credits
Bryan Curtis, The New York Times Magazine

The filmmaker has one last mission: to prove that, with Red Tails, he can still make the kind of movie everyone will want to see.

How Empire Ruled the World
Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Le Monde Diplomatique

Compared to 600 years of Ottoman Empire and two millennia of imperial Chinese rule, the nation-state is just a blip on the historical horizon.

Richard Beck, n+1

A critical history of the indie-music fan’s online bible, Pitchfork Media, from its inception in 1995 to the present.


The Week’s Best Reads

From Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s plan to beat Apple to the twilight of Joan Didion, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

State of the Union
David Remnick, The New Yorker

Jodi Kantor’s new book about the Obama marriage, and why the president and first lady have it so much better than most of their predecessors.

Steve Ballmer Reboots
Ashlee Vance, Businessweek

Cooler tech, more energy, higher profit—the Microsoft CEO is out to prove Steve Jobs wrong and make Redmond relevant again

Why Write Novels at All?
Garth Risk Hallberg, New York Times Magazine

Writers of the Franzen Generation have decided that the purpose of fiction is to make us feel less alone. Will that be enough to save the novel?

I’ll Be Your Mirror
Madiha R. Tahir, The Caravan

How a former cricket star Imran Khan became Pakistan’s most loved politician.


The Autumn of Joan Didion
Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic

Her work is a triumph—and a disaster.

Letter from New Orleans
Wright Thompson, Grantland

The National Championship Game, Louisiana politics, and Edwin Edwards's last campaign.


The Week’s Best Reads

From the zany split personality of Stephen Colbert to neurosis inside the Obama campaign machine, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

How Many Stephen Colberts Are There?
Charles McGrath, New York Times Magazine

A suburban dad. A fictional television blowhard. And now a political money launderer. How one funny guy became three.

The Meaning of Mitt
Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, Vanity Fair

Digging into Mitt Romney’s record as a Mormon leader, his business deals at Bain Capital, and that infamous car trip with the family dog strapped to the roof, the authors pierce the Mitt bubble to find that the contradictions, question marks, and ambivalence go deeper than his politics.

The Collector
Eliza Gray, The New Republic

Did a famed connoisseur of political memorabilia commit an audacious crime?

How the CIA Screws Up
Paul R. Pillar, Foreign Policy

I served in the CIA for 28 years and I can tell you: America's screw-ups come from bad leaders, not lousy spies.


Bottle Rocket
Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker

Newt Gingrich’s return.

Yes We Can (Can’t We?)
Andrew Romano, Newsweek

While the GOP votes, team Obama is crafting a juggernaut. Andrew Romano talks to top advisers about their 2012 strategy—including David Axelrod, who admits that he shares some of the blame for the president's dismal approval rating.

Hall of Fame

Christopher Hitchens’ Greatest Journalism

From his epic takedown of Henry Kissinger to his petty crime spree in Bloomberg’s New York, The Daily Beast picks just a few highlights from Christopher Hitchens’s prolific career.

The Case Against Henry Kissinger
Harpers, March 2001

Hitchens’s sprawling takedown of Nixon’s secretary of state appeared in two installments in Harpers, making the definitive case that Kissinger is a war criminal.

Assassins of the Mind
Vanity Fair, February 2009
When Iran’s Ayatollah Khameini issued a fatwa on novelist Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses, it was the opening shot in a war on cultural freedom. Two decades later, the violence continues, and Muslim fundamentalists have gained a new advantage: media self-censorship.

The Medals of His Defeats
The Atlantic, April 2002

Hitchens takes the Great Man down a peg or two—and still finds that Winston Churchill was a great man.

As American As Apple Pie
Vanity Fair, July 2006

Fellatio has a long and storied history, but not until 1972—with the release of Deep Throat—did it come out, so to speak, in polite company. From the Wild West to the Wild White House, Hitchens explores the blowjob’s emergence as the nation’s signature sex act.

Believe Me, It’s Torture
Vanity Fair, August 2008

What more can be added to the debate over U.S. interrogation methods, and whether waterboarding is torture? Try firsthand experience. The author undergoes the controversial drowning technique, at the hands of men who once trained American soldiers to resist—not inflict—it.

Christopher Hitchens

Brooks Kraft / Corbis

I Fought the Law
Vanity Fair, February 2004

To protest the petty ordinances of Mayor Bloomberg’s New York, Hitchens went on a one-man crime spree: taking his feet off his bike pedals, feeding pigeons, and sitting on a milk crate, among other offenses. Why are the people of America’s most cosmopolitan city being treated like backward children?

I’ll Be Damned
The Atlantic, March 2005

Graham Greene's most fervent loyalty was to betrayal.


The Week's Best Reads

From the king of all real-estate scams to the strange divisiveness of Tim Tebow, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

A Boy Learns to Brawl
John Branch, The New York Times

The first part of a series investigating the life of Derek Boogard, the Canadian hockey player who died suddenly at age 28 in May. (The series continues with part two and part three.)

The King of All Vegas Real Estate Scams
Felix Gillette, Businessweek

A twisted tale of how homeowners were bilked by those they least suspected: their neighbors.

The Trial of Stephen Glass
Jack Shafer, Reuters

Journalism’s most famous, most shameless fabulist is back, and his fight to practice law in California gives us a look at his sordid psyche.

The People Who Hate Tim Tebow
Chuck Klosterman, Grantland

On the most (curious, complicated, downright strange) polarizing athlete of our age.


The Week's Best Reads

From the fatal indecision of German chancellor Angela Merkel to the inner mechanisms of the robotic Mitt Romney, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

Germany’s chancellor has her reasons for insisting on severe measures to resolve Europe’s economic crisis, but while she stalls, further damage is being done.

Building a Better Mitt Romney-Bot
Robert Draper, The New York Times Magazine

His camp doesn’t need to turn their guy into someone you’d have a beer with. They just need to eliminate the bugs in the machine.

Her Honor
Dahlia Lithwick, New York

People who think Justice Elena Kagan should recuse herself from the looming “Obamacare” case might want to take a closer look at her first term.

One Nation Under Arms
Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair

The private papers of the late George F. Kennan, Cold War architect and diplomat extraordinaire, reveal his anguish over the way his famous 1947 warning about Soviet expansionism helped transform the America he loved into one he no longer recognized: a national-security state.


The Week's Best Reads

From new baby science that will revolutionize the fight against poverty to America’s hellish relationship with Pakistan, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

This Is Penn State
L. Jon Wetheim & David Epstein, Sports Illustrated

Had Sandusky not been so brazen, had he simply restricted himself to the football facilities, there is little to suggest he would have been caught. For Sandusky—if not for the boys—Penn State football was a safe haven.

The Two-Year Window
Jonathan Cohn, The New Republic

The new science of babies and brains—and how it could revolutionize the fight against poverty.


The Ally From Hell
Jeffrey Goldberg & Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic

Pakistan lies to us, sponsors militants who attack American troops, and may have knowingly harbored Osama bin Laden. With a friend like this, who needs enemies?

Teaching Good Sex
Laurie Abraham, New York Times Magazine
Introducing pleasure to the peril of sex education.

It Does Take a Village
Melvin Konner, New York Review of Books

Can the strong human tendency to help mothers care for children produce the species-wide level of cooperation that we now need to survive?

The Resentment Machine
Freddie deBoer, The New Inquiry

How upward-oriented young strivers use the Internet to express their class anxiety.


The Week’s Best Reads

From America’s failing universities to the secrets of great innovators, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

The Rising Price of an Israeli Life
Ronen Bergman, New York Times Magazine

Understanding the exchange of a single Israeli prisoner for 1,027 Palestinians.

Why Are Our Universities Failing?
Anthony Grafton, New York Review of Books

They’re charging students more and giving them less. But that’s only one of the problems.

The Party of the Rich
Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

How Republicans abandoned the middle class.


The Tweaker
Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

About Longreads

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