From a ghostwriter’s wild effort to finish Julian Assange’s autobiography to the return of extinct animals, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
Andrew O’Hagan, The London Review of Books
An epic account of a writer’s disastrous attempt to ghostwrite the autobiography of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
How Much My Novel Cost Me
Emily Gould, Medium
Writing her first book got her into debt. To finish the next one, she had to become solvent.
The Mammoth Cometh
Nathaniel Rich, The New York Times Magazine
Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening — and it’s going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad.
Deal Me Out
Alex Pareene, The Baffler
The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin doesn’t explain Wall Street to his readers—he justifies it.
A Star in a Bottle
Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker
An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out.
Michael Daly, The Daily Beast
In the wake of his arrest, El Chapo leaves behind a wife that now joins a long list of Mexican beauty queens whose fairytales were cut short by their law-breaking lovers.
To send suggestions for future editions, email david (dot) sessions (at) thedailybeast (dot) com. For more great longreads, visit our friends at Longreads.com.
From sexual assault at a fundamentalist evangelical college to Wall Streeters in drag, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
Sexual Assault at God’s Harvard
Kiera Feldman, The New Republic
Patrick Henry College, a small evangelical school in northern Virginia, was supposed to be a safe place for its predominantly homeschooled students. For these young women, it wasn’t.
Scientology’s Vanished Queen
Ned Zeman, Vanity Fair
After the wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige disappeared from public view, in 2007, those who asked questions were stonewalled, or worse. Now interviews with former insiders provide a grim picture of Shelly Miscavige’s youth, marriage, and fall from grace.
My 13-Year Effort to Save a Boy in Haiti
Jonah Ogles, Outside
As a teenager, I began sponsoring a poverty-stricken boy in the Caribbean. Twelve years and thousands of dollars later I flew down to meet him—and to learn if my efforts did any good at all.
One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag
Kevin Roose, New York
What I saw when I crashed a Wall Street secret society.
After the Defeat
Mike Elk, In These Times
After the United Auto Workers union’s historic loss at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee, theories about about why it happened—and what comes next for labor in the South.
From Chris Christie’s corrupt career to the rise and fall of Flappy Bird, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
It’s Not Just the Bridge
Alec McGillis, The New Republic
Chris Christie’s entire career reeks.
36 Hours on the Fake Campaign Trail With Donald Trump
McKay Coppins, BuzzFeed
With all but his closest apostles finally tired of the charade, even the Donald himself has to ask, what’s the point? On the plane and by the pool with the man who will not be king.
The Decline of the Revival
Jim Hinch, Los Angeles Review of Books
Conservative Christian writers face the sunset of their influence in America.
What’s the Point if We Can’t Have Fun?
David Graber, The Baffler
How animal play upends the ideology of humans as calculating rational actors.
Caity Weaver, Gawker
My week on the high seas with Paula Deen.
28 Days of Fame
Christina Warren, Mashable
The strange, true story of the loved, hated, App Store-dominating game Flappy Bird.
From Vladimir Putin’s loneliness at the top to a creepy, secretive supermarket chain, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
The Loneliness of Vladimir Putin
Julia Ioffe, The New Republic
He crushed his opposition but has nothing to show for it but a country that’s falling apart.
A Valuable Reputation
Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker
After Tyrone Hayes said a chemical was harmful, its maker pursued him.
This Land Was Your Land
Christopher Ketcham, The American Prospect
In Utah and other western state, the country’s most pristine wilderness faces new threats from Big Energy and its powerful allies.
The Office of the Future
Jay Monaco, Jacobin
A view inside C&S Wholesale Grocers, America’s secret corporate empire, home to the future of white-collar exploitation.
A Failed Televangelist Exorcised My Demons Over Skype
Scott Bixby, The Daily Beast
Bob Larson has performed more than 20,000 exorcisms over the past 30 years. Now, he’s using Skype to target Satan—and easy marks for his buck-raking ministry.
From the rise of a Christian cult in Wells, Texas to the confessions of an ex-TSA agent, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
Sinners in the Hands
Sonia Smith, Texas Monthly
When is a church a cult?
Dear America, I Saw You Naked
Jason Edward Harrington, Politico Magazine
And yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.
Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars
Michelle Goldberg, The Nation
Empowered by social media, feminists are calling one another out for ideological offenses. Is it good for the movement? And whose movement is it?
A Botched Operation
Eyal Press, The New Yorker
Steven Brigham’s abortion clinics keep being sanctioned for offering substandard care. Why is he still in business?
In the Shadow of Sharon
Avishai Margalit, The New York Review of Books
By all accounts, Ariel Sharon had an astoundingly quick mind. But he was either untrained for, or simply distrusted, any form of abstract thinking.
Inside the Conservative Christian Movie the Oscars Ousted
Jonathan D. Fitzgerald and David Sessions, The Daily Beast
A right-wing sugar daddy, two groups of evangelical filmmakers, a famous composer, an Oscar nod, and an Academy backlash: the strange story of a Christian movie’s 15 minutes of fame.
From beheaded journalist Daniel Pearl’s last story to a murder case that implicated a gay evangelical cult leader, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
This is Danny Pearl’s Final Story
Asra Q. Nomani, Washingtonian
Asra Nomani spent a decade chasing her friend’s killer, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Then she went to Guantanamo Bay to see him.
Love and Death in the House of Prayer
Jeff Tietz, Rolling Stone
Tyler Deaton, a self-appointed apostle in one of the fastest-growing evangelical movements, loved Jesus, Harry Potter and, much to his dismay, other men. When his wife turned up dead, the secrets began to spill out.
Amy Chozick, The New York Times Magazine
The gravitational pull of a possible 2016 campaign is bringing all the old Clinton characters into her orbit. Can she make the stars align, or will chaos prevail?
Recipe for Scandal
Kevin Goldman, Vanity Fair
The inside story of how one of London’s most glittering marriages—that of foodie goddess Nigella Lawson to advertising mogul Charles Saatchi—combusted after a paparazzo snapped Saatchi apparently throttling his wife over lunch.
Not Here to Make Friends
Katie J.M. Baker, The New Inquiry
Kids are ideal contestants, making little league reality shows better than the adult versions. But what if they don’t want to play by the rules?
From the sentence that launched America’s endless global war to the amazing world of underground marijuana smuggling, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
The Most Dangerous Sentence in U.S. History
Gregory D. Johnsen, BuzzFeed
Written in the frenzied days after 9/11, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force was intended to give President Bush the ability to retaliate against whoever orchestrated the attacks. More than 12 years later, this sentence remains the primary legal justification for nearly every covert operation around the world.
In the Name of Love
Mika Tokumitsu, Jacobin
“Do what you love” is the mantra for today’s worker. But the ideological function of that phrase is to re-classify work as pleasure—and that drives workers apart.
A Dangerous Mind
Robert Kolker, New York
When do awful thoughts, shared with complete strangers, become criminal actions? The troubling case—in every direction—of New York’s “cannibal cop.”
The Online Avengers
Emily Bazelon, The New York Times Magazine
Are antibullying activists the saviors of the Internet—or just another kind of curse?
Inside the Incredible Booming Subterranean Marijuana Railroad
Jason Kersten, GQ
The Feds can’t see them. Or hear the digging. They don’t know how many there are or where they are headed. They know only that the tunnels are coming. And when they cross our border, when the soil gives way and the drugs start flowing, it’s already too late.
How the NSA Recruits In a Post-Snowden World
Joshua Kopstein, The Daily Beast
The surveillance state sold itself to hackers as the coolest place to work. Now it’s seen as the enemy, and that means going elsewhere to build an army of digital cat burglars.
From the internet’s hostility to women to a politician’s lonely quest for the facts on GMOs, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet
Amanda Hess, Pacific Standard
“Ignore the barrage of violent threats and harassing messages that confront you online every day.” That’s what women are told. But these relentless messages are an assault on women’s careers, their psychological bandwidth, and their freedom to live online. We have been thinking about Internet harassment all wrong.
Gabriel Sherman, New York
When the head of Fox News moved to Garrison, New York, he bought a little newspaper and tried to instill his own brand of American values. Guess what happened next? An excerpt from the book that has the Fox empire in a panic.
A Lonely Quest for the Facts on GMOs
Amy Harmon, The New York Times
A Hawaii island council member wades through the science and the passions in the fight over genetically modified crops—and pays a heavy price for his commitment to the facts.
Dan Canton’s Machine
Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect
New York’s Working Families Party has built the most effective political operation the American left has seen in decades. Can it duplicate its success in other states?
From the man who miraculously survived falling overboard to the crazy micro-genres Netflix uses to suggest movies, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
A Speck in the Sea
Paul Tough, The New York Times Magazine
John Aldridge fell overboard in the middle of the night, 40 miles from shore, and the Coast Guard was looking in the wrong place. How did he survive?
How Netflix Reverse-Engineered Hollywood
Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic
To understand how people look for movies, the video service created 76,897 micro-genres. We took the genre descriptions, broke them down to their key words… and built our own new-genre generator.
A Tale of Two Drug Wars
Bruce Barcott, Rolling Stone
As Washington and Colorado create rules and regulations for selling legal marijuana, in many other cities across the country pot arrests are near record highs.
“Did Your Father Touch You?”
Jennifer Gonnerman, New York
In 1997, an 8-year-old Chaneya Kelly reported that she had been raped by her father, Daryl Kelly, sending him to prison for up to 40 years. For the last sixteen years, she’s wanted more than anything to take that testimony back.
Evgeny vs. the Internet
Michael Meyer, Columbia Journalism Review
Evgeny Morozov wants to convince us that digital technology can't save the world, and he's willing to burn every bridge from Cambridge to Silicon Valley to do it.
I Smoked Pot With David Brooks
An imaginary response to New York Times columnist David Brooks’s “stoner friend” mentioned in an anti-pot column this week.
From Deadspin’s unmasking of the Manti Teo hoax to Ariel Levy’s harrowing account of losing her baby in Mongolia to Stephen Rodrick’s poignant portrait of Lindsay Lohan on set, The Daily Beast picks the best long-form journalism of the year.
The Lonely Quiet After Newtown
Eli Saslow, The Washington Post, June 8
Six months later, the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, fades into the past, and the parents left behind try to make the country remember.
Thanksgiving in Mongolia
Ariel Levy, The New Yorker, November 18
A journalist’s harrowing, heartbreaking story of her miscarriage while on assignment in a remote corner of Asia.
Tom Scocca, Gawker, December 5
From literature to politics, smarm—an insistence on civility, a finger-wagging disapproval of negativity—is doing its best to keep the cultural elite insulated from criticism.
Manti Teo’s Dead Girlfriend
Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey, Deadspin, January 16
The most heartbreaking and inspiring story of the college football season is a hoax.
How to Catch a Falling Star
Stephen Rodrick, The New York Times Magazine, January 13
This is what happens when you cast Lindsay Lohan in your movie.
I’m a 34-Year-Old NBA Center. And I’m Black. And I’m Gay.
Jason Collins, Sports Illustrated, May 6
The coming-out story that rocked basketball—and the world.
The Passion of Lew Wallace
John Swansburg, Slate, March 26
The incredible story of how a disgraced Civil War general became one of the best-selling novelists in American history.
From Orange County’s empty evangelical cathedral to the even darker side of Reagan’s “welfare queen,” The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
Where Are the People?
Jim Hinch, American Scholar
Evangelical Christianity in America is losing its power. What happened to Orange County’s Crystal Cathedral shows why.
The Welfare Queen
Josh Levin, Slate
In the 1970s, Ronald Reagan villainized a Chicago woman for bilking the government. Her other sins—including possible kidnappings and murders—were far worse.
How John McCain Turned His Clichés Into Meaning
Mark Leibovich, The New York Times Magazine
The “brave maverick” who became the “bitter old man” is now “learning to let go.”
The Other Side of the Story
Jenny Kutner, Texas Monthly
When she was fourteen, she had a relationship with her eighth grade history teacher. People called her a victim, and him a villain. Now, she says, it was more complicated than that.
Extracting the Woodchuck
Adam Kirsch, Harvard Magazine
Robert Frost’s “doubleness,” revealed in his letters—and poems.
Was Skylar Neese Murdered By Her Best Friends?
Caroline Linton, The Daily Beast
Skylar, Rachel, and Shelia were the best of friends—until one of them went missing and the other two were implicated in a grisly murder case that has upended their idyllic town.
From New York’s homeless children to the retired FBI agent who disappeared on a rogue CIA mission, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
Andrea Elliott, The New York Times
There are more than 22000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression. This is one of their stories.
The Lobotomy Files
Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber, The Wall Street Journal
A cache of musty documents lost to memory exposes a time when the U.S. lobotomized some 2,000 veterans. The nation forgot. But Roman Tritz remembers.
Missing American in Iran Was on Unapproved Mission
Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, Associated Press
Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson was arrested in Iran in 2007 and is now the longest-held hostage in American history. Now, a new investigation shows he was working for the CIA—and went on a rogue mission.
State of Deception
Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker
Can the intelligence community be reformed?
Reverse-Engineering a Genius
Kurt Andersen, Vanity Fair
How did Johannes Vermeer manage to create such photo-realistic paintings in the 17th Century—and did he get help? A Texas tech company founder named Tim Jenison decided to try to find out if Vermeer could have used a camera-like contraption to create his art, by recreating one of the paintings himself.
Inside the Power of the NRA
Robert Draper, The New York Times Magazine
It has been a year since the Newtown shootings. Federal gun laws haven’t changed. Here is why.
From the death of Nelson Mandela to the exploding Christian entertainment industry in Dallas, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
The Miracle Maker
Sam Seibert, The Daily Beast
The extraordinary life of the man who liberated South Africa—and then kept the country from falling apart.
Tom Scocca, Gawker
From literature to politics, smarm—an insistence on civility, a finger-wagging disapproval of negativity—is doing its best to keep the cultural elite insulated from criticism.
The Homeschool Apostates
Kathryn Joyce, The American Prospect
They were raised to carry the fundamentalist banner forward and redeem America. Now, the “Joshua Generation” is rebelling.
What Would Jesus Film?
Christopher Kelly, D Magazine
With a little oil money and a lot of faith, Dallas has become the production center for Christian entertainment.
From the animal injury epidemic on Hollywood movie sets to Washington’s trouble with the new legal marijuana economy, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
Animals Were Harmed
Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter
The epidemic of animal injury on major Hollywood movie sets reveals the dark irony of the American Humane Association’s system of verifying that “no animals were harmed.”
Long Way Home
Rosanne Cash, Oxford American
The daughter of American folk icon Johnny Cash on her life in Tennessee.
Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker
Washington State finds out how hard it is to set up a legal marijuana economy.
Rumsfeld’s War and its Consequences Now
Mark Danner, The New York Review of Books
A political history of Donald Rumsfeld from the Nixon years to the war in Iraq that he promised would be over in three months.
The Book of Tebow
Thomas Lake, Sports Illustrated
He prayed. He won. And then he disappeared. Will we ever see Tim Tebow in the NFL again?
From the inside story of an elderly adjunct professor’s death in poverty to MOOC pioneer Sebastian Thrun’s admission of defeat, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
Death of a Professor
L.V. Anderson, Slate
An 83-year-old French instructor’s undignified death became a cause célèbre for exploited academics. But what really happened to Margaret Mary Vojtko?
Wall Street Isn’t Worth It
John Quiggin, Jacobin
Cutting the banks down to size isn’t just got politics—it’s good policy.
The Godfather of Free Online Education Changes Course
Max Chafkin, Fast Company
He captivated the world with visions of self-driving cars and Google Glass and has signed up 1.6 million students for online classes. So why is he pivoting away from MOOCs? “We don’t educate people as others wished, or as I wished,” says online education pioneer Sebastian Thrun.
How is Hamid Karzai Still Standing?
William Dalrymple, The New York Times Magazine
Enemies left, enemies right, and then there’s his family. Building an Afghan legacy is even more complicated than it appears.
Burkhard Bilger, The New Yorker
Inside Google quest to create a self-driving car.
The Hip Hop Poseur
Terrence McCoy, Miami New Times
Jimmy Sabatino can’t stop scamming—even though he’s in prison.
Every week, we pick the best long-form journalism from the newest magazines and journals.
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