Subscribe to The Atlantic and get 2 free issues

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our favorite stories of the week—featuring The New Yorker, Notre Dame Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Esquire and The Giddy Summit.
PUBLISHED: July 18, 2014

Breaking Ball: A Father and Son's Pitch for Baseball Glory

In Japan, where baseball is a cherished pastime and players practice relentlessly, a father and his talented son decide to take a different approach to training and pitching: playing in fewer games to avoid injury.
PUBLISHED: July 15, 2014
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5566 words)

Taylor Swift Is a Music Business Genius: A Reading List

A brief guide to the music business, according to Taylor Swift: Featuring the Wall Street Journal, Planet Money and The New Yorker.
PUBLISHED: July 7, 2014

Is This Rothko Real?

For nearly 30 years, a collector has been trying to prove his painting is a Rothko—potentially worth $20 million or more. Now, he's got new evidence.

Douglas Himmelfarb spotted the painting in 1987 at an auction preview in South Los Angeles. The offerings that day were a mix of furniture and no-name artwork. This canvas was large and dirty, and depicted three rectangles of color stacked on top of one another. A handful of people stood clustered around it as someone pulled it off the wall and turned it around. On the back was a signature:



EX. NO. 7

A woman scoffed, Mr. Himmelfarb recalls: "Mark Rothko did not paint in California, and there is no such thing as the California School of Fine Arts."

PUBLISHED: April 24, 2014
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2911 words)

What’s in a Home? A Reading List

This week's picks from Emily include stories from Thought Catalog, The Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, and The Billfold.
PUBLISHED: Jan. 19, 2014

The Lobotomy Files

This story pick comes from our featured Longreader, Nicole Greenfield, who writes:

I must admit it was the photo of 90-year-old Roman Tritz, clear blue eyes and a blank stare to the camera’s side, that initially drew me into one of my favorite longreads of the week. But the photo didn’t prepare me for the truly harrowing nature of Tritz’s story, a deeply personal look into one of the thousands of forced lobotomies the U.S. government performed on World World II veterans, the details of which are uncovered for the first time in this multimedia feature. The in-depth, but straightforward reporting of such a horrendous trend, performed in the absence of answers, begs all kinds of questions. How could this happen? And, importantly, could it happen again? For it’s impossible not to connect Tritz’s struggle and the stories of veterans today also suffering from PTSD, also without adequate assistance, also afraid, also wondering, as Tritz himself did pre-operation, “Does anybody really care?” This is one that will stick with me for a while.

PUBLISHED: Dec. 13, 2013
LENGTH: 48 minutes (12000 words)

Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our favorite stories of the week, featuring The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, SB Nation, Priceonomics and Esquire, with a guest pick by Sasha Belenky.
PUBLISHED: Nov. 22, 2013


After their twin daughters were diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C, a fatal genetic disease, Hugh and Chris Hempel sought experimental treatments to save their daughters' lives. They went public with their findings and kept detailed medical records to share with researchers, assuming the role of "citizen-scientists":

Ms. Hempel began giving cyclodextrin to the girls in early 2008. "I am posting this message to the entire world to let everyone know that Hugh and I will not sue any doctor, scientist, researcher, hospital or non-profit if anything happens to Addi and Cassi as we embark on trying experimental treatments to save them from Niemann-Pick Type C disease," she wrote in her blog.

From the beginning, scientists said drinking cyclodextrin wasn’t likely to help because not enough of the drug could reach the brain and other organs.

In December 2008, the Hempels’ doctor applied to the Food and Drug Administration for permission to give the girls intravenous infusions. The scientists were alarmed. No one knew how cyclodextrin worked. No one knew effective dose levels. And no one was sure if it was safe.

The planned collaboration of parents and scientists was moving forward. But Chris and Hugh Hempel wanted to set the pace.

PUBLISHED: Nov. 18, 2013
LENGTH: 78 minutes (19565 words)

Lance Armstrong: The Downfall of a Champion

An excerpt from the new book Wheelmen, on the doping scandal that brought down Lance Armstrong, and a scene from the 2004 Tour de France:

"But soon, Landis said, everyone on board realized what was happening. The bus was being transformed into a secret blood transfusion unit.

"The riders had known they would be asked to take blood at some point in the Tour, but weren't told when. As had happened before, someone—sometimes a motorcycle driver who had been hired to do it, sometimes the team chef, sometimes a security worker—had delivered the blood immediately before the transfusions. Engine trouble was just a ruse designed to outsmart the journalists and the French police who suspected the Postal team of doping."
PUBLISHED: Oct. 9, 2013
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4382 words)