The Week’s Best Longreads for February 2, 2013

The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week. By David Sessions.

How Smash Became Network TV’s Biggest TrainwreckKate Aurthur, BuzzFeed

Smash was supposed to be the show that saved NBC—but people laughed at it instead. How did it all go so wrong?

The Lost RussiansMike Dash, Smithsonian.com

In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, cut off from all human contact for 40 years, unaware that World War II had happened.

Nazi Goebbels' Stepchildren Are Hidden BillionairesDavid de Jong, Bloomberg

The multibillion-dollar family business passed down to the surviving step-children of Joseph Goebbels has a history intertwined with Germany's quest for domination in the 20th century.

The NRA vs. AmericaTim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

How the country’s biggest gun-rights group thwarts regulation and helps put military-grade weapons in the hands of killers.

Alt-LaborJosh Eidelson, The American Prospect

Nonunion workers’ groups are gathering strength across the country. But will they ever make the kind of impact that traditional labor once did?

Do We Really Want to Live Without the Post Office?Jesse Lichtenstein, Esquire

The postal service is not a federal agency. It does not cost taxpayers a dollar. It loses money only because Congress mandates that it do so. What it is is a miracle of high technology and human touch. It's what binds us together as a country.

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The World After HillaryMichael Tomasky, Newsweek

She changed the game irrevocably, and now she’s about to transform it again—by walking away.

For more great longreads, visit our friends at Longreads.com.