The Daily Beast’s Best Longreads, Dec 29-Jan 4, 2014
A young novelist dies, the American military is betrayed and James Patterson is profiled. The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
The mystery of Marsha Mehran—the best-selling young novelist who died a recluse in a rubbish-strewn cottage on Ireland’s west coastBy Cahal Milmo, The IndependentThe story of a romantic, restless spirit who struggled to find a place that she could call home
The Tragedy of the American MilitaryBy James Fallows, The AtlanticThe American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. The result is a chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can’t win.
The Henry Ford of BooksBy Todd S. Purdum, Vanity FairThe planet’s best-selling author since 2001, James Patterson has more than 300 million copies of his books in print, an army of co-writers, several TV deals in the works, and an estimated income of $90 million last year alone. But where’s the respect? Exploring the contradictions of this one-man publishing conglomerate and how Patterson’s childhood and advertising career made him the ultimate storyteller.
The End of GangsBy Sam Quinones, Pacific-StandardLos Angeles gave America the modern street gang. Groups like the Crips and MS-13 have spread from coast to coast, and even abroad. But on Southern California’s streets they have been vanishing. Has L.A. figured out how to stop the epidemic it set loose on the world?
The VirologistBy Andrew Marantz, New YorkerHow a young entrepreneur built an empire by repackaging memes.