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The Best Magazine Articles Ever
July 28, 2010 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Kevin Kelly has posted a list of what he believes are the best magazine articles ever.
posted by reenum (88 comments total) 247 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just read a psychology article about poignancy that mentioned Updike's description of Ted Williams' last time up to bat, and wanted to read the article. Thanks!
posted by Beardman at 12:28 PM on July 28, 2010


That's a pretty good list; the ones that I recognize definitely belong.
posted by Edgewise at 12:30 PM on July 28, 2010


I guess women aren't very good magazine journalists. :(
posted by mudpuppie at 12:34 PM on July 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


What? No Chuck Klosterman?
posted by Flashman at 12:35 PM on July 28, 2010


See also: Longform.org

(If anyone can find a text version of On the Wings of Commerce, I'd love to see it.)
posted by gwint at 12:35 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Lots of David Foster Wallace on that list. He deserves it, especially for the state fair piece, the cruise ship piece, and the tennis stuff.

I remember reading the Sports Illustrated article about Crow basketball when it came out. One of the best pieces of sportswriting I've ever read (maybe just behind DFW on tennis.)

Biggest omission for me: Janet Malcolm's "In the Freud Archives," originally published as a two-parter in the New Yorker.
posted by escabeche at 12:36 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I guess women aren't very good magazine journalists. :(

I was going to say the same thing. Also no one tell languagehat about the DFW.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:36 PM on July 28, 2010


No John McPhee?
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Continuing the popular overrating of Gene Weingarten, I see. Still, lots of good reading on this list, but Best Ever? Who does he think he is, Jeff Albertson?
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:40 PM on July 28, 2010


Oh yeah, and of course George W.S. Trow's "Within the Context of No Context," which took up most of the Nov 17, 1980 issue of the New Yorker.
posted by escabeche at 12:40 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The list includes Malcolm Gladwell but no Chuck Klosterman?!
posted by Fizz at 12:41 PM on July 28, 2010


A little heavy on the Ted Williams and DFW. Actually, this is more like a list of the most famous magazine articles of recent history. Considering the enormous amount of quality material out there, and the respect people (like me) have for his opinion, I wish KK had dug a little deeper.
posted by Faze at 12:42 PM on July 28, 2010


The Best Magazine Articles Ever Published In The US
posted by IanMorr at 12:43 PM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm going to have to say the two articles by Jon Krakauer from when Outside was actually an insightful, engaging, gripping magazine instead of 90 page advertising catalog, were two of the best articles I'd ever read. I distinctly remember at the end of the one that became "Into The Wild" staring at the wall in awe and overwhelmed by emotion for about an hour.

Too bad that magazine is such a pile of shit now.
posted by spicynuts at 12:45 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not a single OC and Stiggs piece from National Lampoon, no mention of MAD, nothing from Byte (the whole issue devoted to the release of the original Mac 128 was brilliant), nothing from Adbusters, and not even one Playboy interview? Horse shit. And I live and breath magazines, fwiw.
posted by dbiedny at 12:47 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh YES, I don't care if these are the best ever or not, they're right there, entertaining, on one page, and linked! Thanks for posting!
posted by vito90 at 12:48 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can not believe this supposedly definitive list left out the articles I consider to be the best of all time. This is total bullshit.
posted by Think_Long at 12:49 PM on July 28, 2010 [13 favorites]


DFW FTW. Glad to see his two best--Consider the Lobster and Roger Federer--ranked appropriately.

I liked David Lynch Keeps His Head better than the others listed (except String Theory), though.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:50 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


nothing from Adbusters

Isn't Adbusters more of a design-y, anti-consumerist Utne Reader, i.e. most of the content comes from elsewhere?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:51 PM on July 28, 2010


Almost 75% of these are from the last twenty years. Are we living in some golden age of magazine writing or is this actually just the best articles that happen to be online?
posted by octothorpe at 12:52 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd rate HST's Strange Rumblings in Aztlan ahead of the Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved... hell, put 'em both on the list, Tome Wolfe's on there twice.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:52 PM on July 28, 2010


I've been copying many of these into my to-read doc over the last week or so. Anyone have some less-obvious suggestions?
posted by swift at 12:53 PM on July 28, 2010


John Waters, "Hatchet Piece (101 Things I Hate)"
National Lampoon, November 1985
posted by rswst8 at 12:56 PM on July 28, 2010


I guess women aren't very good magazine journalists.

You can always rectify that erroneous assumption here with some links...

Young Women, Newsweek, and Sexism by Jessica Bennett, Jesse Ellison, Sarah Ball.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:56 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


You can also find decent long form content on Twitter at Longreads and at Conor Friedersdorf's feed.
posted by reenum at 12:56 PM on July 28, 2010


P.J. O'Rourke's "How to Drive Fast on Drugs while Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink"
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:58 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, this is more like a list of the most famous magazine articles of recent history.

I agree. There is a long history of great magazine writing and this didn't even scratch the surface, it's almost all 1990s and forward.

My all-time favorite literary experience was when I moved into my first house in LA and found a huge abandoned cache of 1930s Esquire Magazines. They were full of articles by Hemingway, Faulkner, F Scott Fitzgerald, Ring Lardner, etc. My all time favorite was "I Drink American" and I recently went to some effort to locate it, I found it in an Esquire anthology. I hadn't read it in 20 years, and it was just as good as I recalled it, maybe better.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:01 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I suspect this will be a controversial suggestion, but I'd put Why the Future Doesn't Need Us on there. I think in some ways it's kind of silly and overly dramatic, but it's still one of the most gripping magazine articles I've ever read.
posted by resiny at 1:02 PM on July 28, 2010


Oh, I see it's been added. Wasn't on the list when I saw it yesterday.
posted by resiny at 1:03 PM on July 28, 2010


Beardman, I love that article. It has this gem of a phrase: "Diagonally across the field, by the Red Sox dugout, a cluster of men in overcoats were festering like maggots."
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:07 PM on July 28, 2010


Well, he does suggest that we should e-mail him to suggest more, so get to it!
posted by Madamina at 1:10 PM on July 28, 2010


Ok, those of you who are posting the titles of specific articles that you think were overlooked know that if you take the 2 minutes to find and post a link (1*2) you will save the thousands of people that are reading this thread 2 minutes (xx,xxx * 2) right? The difference in energy expenditure and the resulting heat released could be enough to prevent us reaching the tipping point in the two-phase system that drives our global climate and save us all from the most severe consequences of global warming.
Provide links if you love the Earth.
posted by vapidave at 1:16 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Looking at the list and seeing DFW's contributions to Harper's I recall how long its been since an article in that magazine caused me to laugh rather than cry or go numb with despair.
posted by Verdant at 1:16 PM on July 28, 2010


God MeFites can suck the fun out of just about anything sometimes.
posted by proj at 1:17 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Secrets of the Blue Box"? Check.

Carry on.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:19 PM on July 28, 2010


This is a great list, and as an ongoing experiment, kind of interesting. Note that the list isn't finished--KK is asking for more submissions, and the list has grown since the last time I saw it. If you have a suggestion, email him!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:24 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What, no "Burt & Lonnie: Trouble in Paradise?"

Buuuuullshiiiit.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:32 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looking at the list and seeing DFW's contributions to Harper's I recall how long its been since an article in that magazine caused me to laugh rather than cry or go numb with despair.

Try the latest issue's piece on The Room.
posted by clorox at 1:32 PM on July 28, 2010


No magazines before 1945, huh?
posted by kenko at 1:33 PM on July 28, 2010


Wow, and almost all of them come from the last 20 years. I can tell a lot of research went into this list.
posted by kenko at 1:35 PM on July 28, 2010


I also decry the lack of John McPhee. IMHO, he's one of the very best. So the abscense here is puzzling. The Gravel Page is my pick for one of the best. But very little McPhee is on the web, so maybe that could have influenced the omission.
posted by warbaby at 1:35 PM on July 28, 2010


SI did a great feature on the whole Pat Tillman mess a few years ago.
posted by resiny at 1:49 PM on July 28, 2010


Best MeFi post of the year. So many of these were dormant in my memory and now I can go back and read them one by one. Thanks so much.
posted by Hurst at 1:54 PM on July 28, 2010


Someone (read: not me) should put together a backlog of MeFi FPPs that discuss these. I am pretty sure there have been threads on the LambdaMOO article, You've Got Blog, Egyptair 990, Leaving Your Kid In The Backseat of Hot Cars, and Evan Ratliff's disappearance. But that's just from memory.
posted by norm at 1:55 PM on July 28, 2010


Maybe I can live without Klosterman, but I don't see Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves by Lester Bangs on this list.
posted by ovvl at 1:57 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Definitely US-only, and definitely biased, but this is a pretty good sampler of the past half-century's best magazine writing. (Particularly pleased to see Neal Stephenson's awesome sprawling piece on the laying of transoceanic fibre optics in there.)

Still, it's so rare that I get to trot out expert professional skills on the blue, so as a mag writer myself I'll nitpick a bit, since even sticking with the US-only theme there are some glaring omissions . . .

-- Picking anything else other than "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas" (Rolling Stone, Nov. 1971, 2 parts) as HST's best is either empty contrarian posturing or retroactive moralizing of some misguided sort. It's his finest work. It's not just one of the half-dozen best magazine pieces ever written, it's one of the best pieces of American literature ever produced. The Kentucky Derby piece, though a wicked fun read, was spring training by comparison.

-- Something from Chris Heath's stunning body of work (either one of his gritty long features on the sex trade from the brief period in the early '90s when Details was one of the best magazines going or else one of his feature writing seminars disguised as pop-tart profiles from late '90s Rolling Stone) should be on here. (And if Details' website didn't suck as bad as the mag now does, I'd be able to link to a representative sample.)

-- So should something from PJ O'Rourke's tenure as Rolling Stone's foreign correspondent in the mid-1980s.

-- Also at least one of "The Oil We Eat" by Richard Manning, Harper's, February 2004; "The Sicario" by Charles Bowden, Harper's, May 2009; "The Uses of Disaster" by Rebecca Solnit, Harper's, October 2005; "Opium Made Easy" by Michael Pollan, Harper's, April 1997.

-- Any part (or all three) from the three-part series "The Climate of Man" by Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker, 2005, which formed the basis for her book Field Notes from a Catastrophe

-- And of course something from the essays collected in Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion.

-- Finally, "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold" is overwritten and overrated. There, I said it. Grar me all you want, and I'll still argue there are any number of Tom Wolfe or Joan Didion pieces that deserve its spot in the pantheon. (Goddamn Gay Talese turned The Mafia into a hyper-detailed yawnfest, for chrissake.)

I could go on like this - fun to talk shop - but I'll leave it there and let the Talesians mount their counterattacks.
posted by gompa at 1:57 PM on July 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


I guess women aren't very good magazine journalists.

They sure can read 'em though! Cleo, Cosmo, Elle...I could go on!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:01 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, people. Less "This list is bullshit because it doesn't have x." and more "You know what else is great? X."
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:01 PM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


On lack of preview, see gompa.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2010


I also decry the lack of John McPhee.

Uh, McPhee is on the list:

John McPhee, "The Control of Nature: Atchafalaya." The New Yorker, February 23, 1987.

I would include William Langewiesche's profile of wine critic Robert Parker, "The Million-Dollar Nose" in this list (Atlantic, December 2000).
posted by Wet Spot at 2:18 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn, Wet Spot, you reminded me I forgot Langewiesche's multipart Atlantic series "American Ground" (later turned into a book) - the best writing and reporting anywhere on the destruction of the World Trade Center and its aftermath.
posted by gompa at 2:28 PM on July 28, 2010


One of the unspoken qualifications is, "Can be found online for free". Type of media doesn't seem to matter much - a couple links are to PDFs - but the suggestion has to have an URL attached and no paywall in the way.

Kevin Kelly doesn't link to articles on fan sites rather than official venues (such as Hunter S. Thompson's), but he tells you how to find them.

So that explains why most suggestions are recent.

Another reason is probably because long-form articles from the last twenty years are more likely to still be relevant and timely than long-form articles from seventy years ago. Recent articles are more likely to be online at all. They're also more likely to have been recently read by people making suggestions. Old articles are as likely as not completely unavailable unless their authors' fans or heirs are making an effort to get them online - I don't think there's any commercial interest at all in putting online the back catalogs of Collier's, the pre-Henry Luce version of Life magazine, Judge, Look, and so on. For that matter, it's possible nobody knows who's got rights control for long-dead magazines that haven't fallen into public domain.

Kelly is still taking suggestions. If you can link to good stuff from back then, not telling him while complaining that he doesn't know is more or less the opposite of helping him balance his list.
posted by ardgedee at 2:36 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Gay Talese "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold"

from Esquire: "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" ran in April 1966 and became one of the most celebrated magazine stories ever published, a pioneering example of what came to be called New Journalism -- a work of rigorously faithful fact enlivened with the kind of vivid storytelling that had previously been reserved for fiction.
posted by notmtwain at 3:15 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, self-link, kinda, but my first AskMe was along these lines and Mefites gave me some great stuff: here.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:23 PM on July 28, 2010


Another great HST is his heartfelt obituary for Richard Nixon. While everyone else was trotting out the "let's respect the elder statesman" stuff, Doctor G opined that his body should have been burned in a trash bin.
posted by Skot at 3:26 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seconding Gay Talese. That article still kicks ass 45-odd years later.
posted by blucevalo at 3:32 PM on July 28, 2010


Hi Metafilterians,

Kevin Kelly, host of the list here. I greatly appreciate the suggestions for great articles that have been posted on this thread. I'll add them to the list that appears on my site.

I am sorry I did not make it clearer that the "best-ever" in the name is aspirational and that the list is a work-in-progress. Two days ago the list had 4 items in it — the articles I started with. I have done no research on this list, zero. How the list was made: I announced I am collecting the best articles ever, and if you have a suggestion, please add to it.

The list makes no claim to be complete. It is obviously severely incomplete. If you notice that it does not include your favorites, I am eager to add it. Just email me at kk at kk dot org and I will add it. Everyone else will gain by your addition.

Several commenters have mentioned that there is nothing by "so and so." Unfortunately that is not enough information to act. I would love to read your favorite author, but I want to read the best by them. Please say what article by so and so, and where it appeared, and if possible a link if it exists.

Again thanks for the suggestions so far.
posted by kk at 3:42 PM on July 28, 2010 [23 favorites]


I wish there were something from The New Republic:

A History of Violence by Steven Pinker

What Dick Cheney really believes by Spencer Ackerman and Franklin Foer

Or something from this book.

(It is partly TNR's fault since its articles are pretty buggy -- for instance, not displaying the author's name in the byline of that Pinker article -- and it puts some articles behind a pay wall.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:44 PM on July 28, 2010


Ok I found a few of the articles recommended here that are available online. It was either that or do laundry.

escabeche: "...Sports Illustrated article about Crow basketball..."

spicynuts: "I'm going to have to say the two articles by Jon Krakauer from when Outside... "Into The Wild""

George_Spiggott: "How to Drive Fast on Drugs while Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink
"


On Preview thanks for the list kk, welcome to Metafilter.
posted by vapidave at 4:14 PM on July 28, 2010


kk: Joined: August 25, 2004
posted by proj at 4:38 PM on July 28, 2010


oops. The intro got me.
As I were.
posted by vapidave at 5:07 PM on July 28, 2010


Yeah, I mostly read the topics but don't comment much.
posted by kk at 5:21 PM on July 28, 2010


This article by Arundhati Roy is a complete knockout. I found it thanks to this post here on Metafilter.

NB: It is long. It is emotionally difficult to read. It is detailed and meticulous and utterly transported me.
posted by rtha at 6:08 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What about the New Yorker Hiroshima issue?
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:53 PM on July 28, 2010


The list includes Malcolm Gladwell but no Chuck Klosterman?!

Frankly, I'll pass on them both. Klosterman blathers on about pop-culture crap I don't care about.

Gladwell's sin is that he carefully chooses anecdotes and spins them as proof of larger issues, without really addressing the finer points. It's maddening to read, because even though what he posits might be true, he doesn't really provide any evidence for it.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the appeal of his work - he writes well and his ideas are attractive. It's just that if you dig into the work, it's profoundly unfulfilling fluff.

--

Derail aside, it's a great list in progress, and should provide me with a ton of good stuff to read on my next flight.
posted by chrisamiller at 7:55 PM on July 28, 2010


It doesn't matter if this is the actual best ever definitive desert island as voted by you chart topping here it is list of best magazine articles ever, it's still awesome and all in one place. Or so I thought until someone linked longform.org.

Also, I can keep coming back to it: What is your favorite magazine article of all time? Email me and I'll add it, or add a star. Good.
posted by doublehappy at 7:55 PM on July 28, 2010


*Eric Schlosser, Why McDonald's Fries Taste So Good, The Atlantic, 2001. This article, by the author of Fast Food Nation, caused riots throughout India and forced McDonalds to stop using beef-based fats in french fries.

*Gary Taubes, What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?, New York Times Magazine, 2002. This is the article that kicked off the whole anti-carbs trend and popularized Atkins.

*David Grann, The Old Man and the Gun, New Yorker, 2003. Currently under film option. I'd also give a second star to Grann's "The Chameleon".

*William Langewiesche, How to Get a Nuclear Bomb, The Atlantic, 2006. Influential in nuclear disarmament circles, still.

* Michael Shnayerson, The Rape of Appalachia, Vanity Fair, 2006. The article to read on mountaintop removal coal mining.

*Donovan Hohn. "Moby-Duck", Harper's, 2007. The pun on Moby-Dick is not just because of the articles heroic length. Like in the novel, the essay is a weird hodgepodge of style and content, sometimes straightforward journalism about ocean currents and the plastic derbies that floats in it, other-times existential angst on the modern human condition. It is one of the best nonfiction essays I've ever read, a nod to the literary greatness of Moby-Dick, it is able to achieve similar heights, and depths.
posted by stbalbach at 7:56 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Another * for Gary Wolf's Xanadu piece, kk.
posted by Municipal Hare at 8:16 PM on July 28, 2010


If Bill Joy can get in with a slight, derivative essay like "Why the future doesn't need us" certainly Vernor Vinge's original essay on The coming technological singularity deserves to be on there.
posted by wobh at 8:18 PM on July 28, 2010


Metafilter: I mostly read the topics but don't comment much.

Doesn't really fit, does it?
posted by sourwookie at 9:10 PM on July 28, 2010


I love this. Goodbye summer.

No "Hiroshima" by John Hersey? That's repeatedly picked as one of the best articles of all time. I think the New Yorker picked it as their best issue of all time.

Janet Malcolm needs to be in there. I nominate "The Journalist and the Murderer." Not available online for free, unfortunately.

Something by Atul Gawande should be in there. He's the New Yorker author that elicits the loudest internal Hurrah! from me when I see he's got a byline. Maybe Whose Body Is It Anyway? [pdf]
posted by painquale at 9:31 PM on July 28, 2010


No "Jessica Simpson - It's Not a Fat Suit!"??? Because that one went down in my history books. That's some fine work they do at In Touch.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:48 PM on July 28, 2010


It makes me uncomfortable to find I have read something like 30% of the suggestions as posted when I write this. I did not realize I had become a student of magazine writing.
posted by mwhybark at 9:49 PM on July 28, 2010


also, yeah, no "Hiroshima"? Barbarians.
posted by mwhybark at 9:49 PM on July 28, 2010


heh. I guess that'd be "barbarian," kk. my grumbling should be taken as self-critique rather than list-critique. But yeah, "Hiroshima" should be in there, and for that matter, Joe Mitchell's "Up in the Old Hotel," which I prefer to "Joe Gould's Secret."

I can't put my finger on it, but in 1994 Bill Vollmann was in Serbia for Spin with a couple of colleagues when they ran over a landmine. The resulting article was published that in Spin, probably that fall. While waiting for my then-girlfriend's plane to arrive at SeaTac, reading Vollmann's deliberately flat account of driving over the mine, I burst into startled tears.

Later, re-reading it, I saw that Vollmann had used unshaded prose as a deliberate technique to jar the reader. I was put in mind of it on seeing the Kaufmann "Adaptation" when the dual Nic Cage characters suddenly experience a fatal car wreck.

I strongly feel Vollmann belongs on that list, and this citeless article is the one I would choose. Help me, interwebs!
posted by mwhybark at 10:10 PM on July 28, 2010


Moby-Duck is one of those articles that I will never forget.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:24 PM on July 28, 2010


Maybe one of Janet Malcolm's long features? On Joe McGinnis (Fatal Vision) (1989) or Sylvia Plath (1993) or Jeffrey Masson (1983)? I loved all of those.

Actually, speaking of the New Yorker, there was a great expose they published about this hysteria about a purported child sexual abuse satanic cult, I think somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, maybe Washington State. (google, google, google) Lawrence Wright, Remembering Satan (1993).

Magazine journalists played such a huge role in addressing the 1980s child sexual abuse cases. I remember the amazing piece by Dorothy Rabinowitz in Harper's (1990) about the Kelly Michaels case. "From the Mouths of Babes to a Jail Cell." If I recall correctly, the piece indirectly led to Michaels' eventual successful appeal and release from prison.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:38 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a short piece that describes how the Harper's article on Kelly Michaels led to her being represented by CCR and William Kunstler, and getting her conviction overturned.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:41 PM on July 28, 2010


This is the one I immediately looked for. I read it years ago and coincidentally was thinking earlier today that I'd like to find it again. I love great magazine writing - thanks so much for this post!
posted by granted at 12:12 AM on July 29, 2010


Tom Junod's wonderful Esquire profile on Mr. Rogers (or, as he's known in the article, Mister Fuckin' Rogers!) is there, so I'm good with this list. What could have been cruel parody is a kind and respectful reflection. I still have that issue and read it when I need to be reminded of the power of "grace."

I also still have the issue with "The Things that Carried Him," which I can't bring myself to read yet, although I feel obligated to at some point as someone who's had the privilege of sitting this war out.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:10 AM on July 29, 2010


the Harper's article on Kelly Michaels led to her being represented by CCR

They got her unstuck from Lodi.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:22 AM on July 29, 2010


This thread inspired me to see how many of the prose pieces (books, articles, article series) from the Top 100 Works of Journalism in the U.S. in the 20th Century (NY Times report) were available for free online. Haven't had time to go through the complete list, and I probably missed some titles that might be legitimately out there somewhere, but here's a few of them. Many of the books and series are excerpted online, but I only included them if the excerpt was long enough or complete enough as a standalone piece.

Single articles Article series Books I'll try to work through the rest of the list tonight.
posted by ardgedee at 5:29 AM on July 29, 2010 [16 favorites]


"Mother Earth, Mother Board: Wiring the Planet" really is as great as its many nominations indicate. That article dramatically raised my opinion of Neal Stephenson.
posted by NortonDC at 7:51 AM on July 29, 2010


FYI: The History of the Standard Oil Company is actually two volumes. For some fundamentally irritating fucking reason you cannot find the entire piece online—even though it's well outside the copyright period, one of the first (if not the first) case of investigative journalism authored by a woman, and one of the most important pieces of muckraking in history. In this day of Google Books scanning everything under the sun it is a fucking outrage that you can't get the whole thing online. I was actually so pissed-off about this that I went ahead and made my own PDF (complete with illustrations). I'll post a link when I get home from work tonight.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:00 AM on July 29, 2010


I just read "Still Life." "A Texas teenager is paralyzed from the neck down in a sports accident. His condition requires that he always lay down. Skip Hollandsworth's moving, detailed account captures a family who lived in a time capsule for over 30 years."

I hate crying at work.
posted by robstercraw at 1:08 PM on July 29, 2010


As promised, the rest of the list:

Single articlesArticle seriesGreat journalism isn't necessarily great reading, especially decades later. I.F. Stone's journal is some of the most vigorous, lively writing about inside-beltway wonkery that's ever been set to print, but it's still inside-beltway wonkery, relentlessly hashing out the details of events that happened sixty years ago, requiring far more intimate knowledge of the world then, and of the timeline of events that made his work a must-read for people around the world.

With that said, a lot of the work here holds up, years and decades later. I had an enjoyable couple evenings tracking these down.
posted by ardgedee at 7:59 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Harper's is already overrepresented, but I thought this month's article Barack and Hamid's excellent adventure was outstanding.

(I hate to do it to Harper's, but here's the full text on Blogspot anyway. ... Maybe if I make a call to action to SUBSCRIBE?!)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:18 PM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


http://deathofacheerleaderarticle.blogspot.com/ Article appeared in the Rolling Stone, excellent about teen jealousy and getting pushed too far in a society based on money, looks and power.
posted by donaldjans at 10:48 AM on August 5, 2010


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