By the autumn of 1871, the Western frontier was rolling backward, retreating in the face of savage Indian attacks. When a ragtag army of federal soldiers arrived on the Llano Estacado to crush the hostile natives once and for all, they had numbers and firepower on their side. What they didn’t know was that their enemies were led by Quanah Parker, a half-white war chief who may have been the greatest fighter of his time.
It was a dazzling feat of wartime espionage. But does it argue for or against spying?
Did American conservationists in Africa go too far?
Gambling addiction is a simple disease. Living the addiction is a bit more complicated. A chronicle of dependency in seven parts, about poker, Lolita, and how to lose $18,000 in 36 hours.
Who lost Vietnam? There were certainly many factors, but an important book forces us to consider this: For the first time in human history, a poorly trained peasant army humbled a great power with the gun its fighters carried. This is the story of that gun, and of the scandalous way that Washington responded to it.
After a woman living in a hotel in Florida was raped, viciously beaten, and left for dead near the Everglades, the police investigation quickly went cold. But a private detective, Ken Brennan, became obsessed with the case: how had the 21-year-old blonde disappeared from her room, unseen by security cameras?
Last February, when a 12,000-pound orca named Tilikum dragged his SeaWorld trainer into the pool and drowned her, it was the third time the big killer whale had been involved in a death. Many observers wondered why the animal was still working. But some experts, knowing the psychological toll of a life spent in captivity, have posed a darker question: Was it human error, or can a killer whale choose to kill?
The man who keeps finding famous fingerprints on uncelebrated works of art.
Gerald Blanchard could hack any bank, swipe any jewel. There was no security system he couldn’t beat.
In the Northwest’s San Juan Islands, best known for killer whales and Microsoft retirees, a teen fugitive has made a mockery of local authorities, allegedly stealing cars, taking planes for joyrides, and breaking into vacation homes. His ability to elude the police and survive in the woods has earned him folk-hero status. But some wonder if the 18-year-old will make it out of the hunt alive.
Incarceration in America is a failure by almost any measure. But what if the prisons could be turned inside out, with convicts released into society under constant electronic surveillance? Radical though it may seem, early experiments suggest that such a science-fiction scenario might cut crime, reduce costs, and even prove more just.
In the fall of 2001, a nation reeling from the horror of 9/11 was rocked by a series of deadly anthrax attacks. As the pressure to find a culprit mounted, the FBI, abetted by the media, found one. The wrong one.
The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition with deadly consequences.
Attorney General Eric Holder entered the Justice Department on a mission to reinvent it. He’d rectify the dubious hires of the Bush era; he’d shut down Guantánamo and try the most notorious detainees here on U.S. soil; he’d speak forcefully and often about the return of the rule of law. Unfortunately, Washington doesn’t like an idealist.
A colonel cracks down on corruption.
How America’s reddest state—and most notorious prison—became a model of corrections reform.
A proud city forgets “The Player Who Left” and remembers what it used to be.
The category is artificial intelligence. This question-answering computer system is ready to challenge some flesh-and-blood “Jeopardy!” champions.
The writer was an acclaimed, prize-winning young writer. Then he started playing the video game “Grand Theft Auto.” For three years he has been cocaine addicted, sleep deprived and barely able to write a word. Any regrets? Absolutely none.
What’s a drug used to deworm livestock—a drug that can obliterate your immune system—doing in your cocaine? Nobody knows.
Why does the world’s greatest surfer get no love?
The performance of the miners shows that humans are not wolves, set to descend upon each other.
You think it’d be impossible to share your house with your wife, your daughter, and fifty million or so Argentine ants. And you would be correct.
If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts.
The scientific, legal, and ethical obstacles.
A $9 billion cathedral of science, the new Large Hadron Collider exists in a near-magical realm. Exploring its whiz-bang machinery, deep underground, the author probes the collider’s brush with disaster—and the secrets it may soon unlock.
What should medicine do when it can’t save your life?
If you were desperate and hopeless enough to log on to a suicide chat room in recent years, there was a good chance a mysterious woman named Li Dao would find you, befriend you, and gently urge you to take your own life. And, she’d promise, she would join you in that final journey. But then the bodies started adding up, and the promises didn’t. Turned out, Li Dao was something even more sinister than anyone thought.
Snipers—once a breed apart due to the brutal intimacy of their kills—may have found the war that needs them the most in Afghanistan. Going inside the world of “Russ Crane,” the author discovers the sharp-shooter’s special talents and torments.
The art of autopsy has a long history and uncertain future.
In 1944, Denis Avey swapped identities with a Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz. Now, at 91, he reveals why he did it.
The men who want to be cryonically preserved, and the women who sometimes find it hard to be married to them.
As Dickens and even George Eliot knew, humour can be a route to the deepest, darkest places. Howard Jacobson asks why we don’t take comic fiction more seriously.
A review of “The Social Network”—and a meditation on the ways technology shapes and changes how we behave toward one another.
In thirty-eight years, The Price is Right never had a contestant guess the exact value of prizes in the Showcase showdown. Until Terry Kniess outsmarted everyone—and changed everything.
Long Live Its Long Lines, Thin Fins, Its Lead Head.
An all-access, totally non-exclusive interview with the would-be king of hip-hop.
Imagine if Mick Jagger responded to Keith Richards about his new autobiography.
David Dunning, a Cornell professor of social psychology, was perusing the 1996 World Almanac. In a section called Offbeat News Stories he found a tantalizingly brief account of a series of bank robberies committed in Pittsburgh the previous year. From there, it was an easy matter to track the case to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, specifically to an article by Michael A. Fuoco: Arrest in Bank Robbery, Suspect’s Tv Picture Spurs Tips.
There is no greater delicacy than a plate of live, briny bivalves—and no richer source of them than the Gulf Coast. Yet in Galveston Bay, where acres of reefs were obliterated by Hurricane Ike, empty waters are causing oystermen to hang up their nets. Is this the end of our precious mollusk?
One fire, one goat, many cooks. A pyro-gastronomical experiment.
On the high seas, the bluefin is being hunted into extinction. Will we ever be able to think about seafood the same way?
Hasidim, West Indians, hipsters and pizza. One Brooklyn restaurant thinks it’s the perfect recipe.
Movie star, conceptual artist, fiction writer, grad student, cipher—he’s turned a Hollywood career into an elaborate piece of performance art. But does it mean anything? A critical investigation, with bathroom break.
Andrew Breitbart is messing with you.
It has been nearly four years since Roger Ebert lost his lower jaw and his ability to speak. Now television’s most famous movie critic is rarely seen and never heard, but his words have never stopped.
The entity behind C Street.
In his small-town Alabama high school, Omar Hammami was among the coolest, most gifted students in his class. How did he grow up to become a leader in an African terror group linked to Al Qaeda?
The daily e-mail from Mike Allen, Politico’s star reporter, has become a morning ritual for Washington’s elite.
He’s a boxer, a Buddhist, a hoops junkie, and a kind of Yoda to every funny person born since 1965. The author survives a rare sparring session with Garry Shandling, the reclusive master of American comedy.
America’s nastiest rappers in shocking revelation—they’ve been evangelical Christians all along.
Haley Barbour, Mississippi’s first son.
For the thousands of women who have been trafficked into Houston and forced to work as prostitutes in the city’s underground sex trade, escaping from captivity may be the easiest part of the nearly impossible road to recovery.
And the bottle girls who work at clubs are not prostitutes. As Tiger Woods’s very public escapades through the 21st-century courtesan economy suggest, it’s all much more complicated than that.
California is not just deciding whether pot should be legal. It’s determining the shape of a major new American industry.
As Wall Street hangs on the question “Will Greece default?,” the author heads for riot-stricken Athens, and for the mysterious Vatopaidi monastery, which brought down the last government, laying bare the country’s economic insanity. But beyond a $1.2 trillion debt (roughly a quarter-million dollars for each working adult), there is a more frightening deficit. After systematically looting their own treasury, in a breathtaking binge of tax evasion, bribery, and creative accounting spurred on by Goldman Sachs, Greeks are sure of one thing: they can’t trust their fellow Greeks.
Every year, more than 100,000 Americans start dialysis. One in four of them will die within 12 months—a fatality rate that is one of the worst in the industrialized world. Oh, and dialysis arguably costs more here than anywhere else. Although taxpayers cover most of the bill, the government has kept confidential clinic data that could help patients make better decisions. How did our first foray into near-universal coverage, begun four decades ago with such great hope, turn out this way? And what lessons does it hold for the future of health-care reform?
The exciting world of immersive retail.
Manhattan Never Was What We Think It Was.
How Wall Street Transformed Work in America.