Gangrey: Our Top 5 Longreads of 2011

Gangrey.com is a site dedicated to the practice of great newspaper and magazine storytelling. 

Some of these picks make it seem like we like each other. We do, most of the time. But we’re also intense critics. We get together in the woods in Georgia one weekend each year to tear one another apart. Physical combat is not rare. It’s in that spirit that you’ll find some cross pollination in the picks below. You’ll also see some good stuff that hasn’t shown up on the Top 5 lists so far. That’s on purpose. Hope you enjoy, and please know you’re welcome to come join us for last call over at gangrey.com. Drinks are on Wright.

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Wright Thompson

Thompson is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine, and he lives in Oxford, Mississippi.


“A Brevard Woman Disappeared, But Never Left Home,” Michael Kruse, St. Petersburg Times

“You Blow My Mind. Hey, Mickey!” John Jeremiah Sullivan, New York Times Magazine

“The View From Within,” Seth Wickersham, ESPN The Magazine

“Why Does Roger Ailes Hate America?” Tom Junod, Esquire

“The Real Lesson of the Tucson Tragedy,” David Von Drehle, Time

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Justin Heckert

Heckert is a writer living in Atlanta. 

“The Apostate” by Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker

 ”The Bomb That Didn’t Go Off,” Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

“Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?” Susan Dominus, New York Times Magazine

“A Brevard Woman Disappeared, but Never Left Home”, by Michael Kruse, St. Petersburg Times

“Staying the Course”, Wright Thompson, ESPN 

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Thomas Lake

Lake is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated living in Atlanta.


 “A Brevard Woman Disappeared, But Never Left Home,” Michael Kruse, St. Petersburg Times

“True Grits,” Burkhard Bilger, The New Yorker (sub. required)

“Diving Headlong Into A Sunny Paradise,” Lane DeGregory, St. Petersburg Times

“Could This Be Happening? A Man’s Nightmare Made Real,” Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times

“When A Diver Goes Missing, A Deep Cave Is Scene Of A Deeper Mystery,” Ben Montgomery, St. Petersburg Times

“The Beards Are A Joke,” Justin Heckert, Atlanta Magazine, April 2011

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Mark Johnson

Johnson is a 2010 Pulitzer winner who covers health and science for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and once played guitar for a Rockford, Ill., grunge band called The Bloody Stumps.


“Watching the Murder of an Innocent Man,” Barry Bearak, New York Times Magazine

“Punched Out,” John Branch, New York Times

“The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist,” Rich Schapiro, Wired

“Imminent Danger,” Meg Kissinger, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Diving headlong into a sunny paradise,” Lane DeGregory, St. Petersburg Times

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Michael Kruse

Kruse, a staff writer at the St. Petersburg Times and contributing writer to ESPN’s Grantland, won this year’s ASNE award for distinguished non-deadline writing.


“The Lost Boys” Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly

The easiest-to-read hardest thing I read this year.

“The Lazarus File,” Matthew McGough, The Atlantic

Simple: suspense and surprise.

“You Blow My Mind. Hey, Mickey!” John Jeremiah Sullivan, The New York Times Magazine

My first reaction when I read this? Jealousy and awe. And when I read it a second time? And a third? Same.

“A man’s nightmare made real,” Chris Goffard, the Los Angeles Times

Riveting. The work of a master.

“God’s Away on Business,” Spencer Hall, Every Day Should Be Saturday

George Teague, college football and big thoughts.

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Ben Montgomery

Montgomery is an enterprise reporter for the St. Petersburg Times, and he lives in Tampa.


“If I Die Young,” Lane DeGregory, St. Petersburg Times

“The Guiltless Pleasure,” Rick Bragg, Gourmet

“A Lot To Lose,” Tony Rehagen, Indianapolis Monthly

“The Shepard’s Lamb,” Danielle Paquette, Indiana University Daily Student

“Voice of America,” by Coozledad, rurritable

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