The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.

Sign up to receive this list free every Friday in your inbox.

* * *

1. The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit

Michael Finkel | GQ | August 20, 2014 | 30 minutes (7,500 words)

Finkel tracks down the man known as the North Pond Hermit: Christopher Thomas Knight lived for nearly 30 years in a secret camp in the woods of Central Maine, stealing food and supplies from nearby homes. “I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.”

2. A Brutal Dictator, and the Wall Street Hedge Fund That Gave Him $100 Million

Cam Simpson & Jesse Westbrook | Bloomberg Businessweek | August 22, 2014 | 13 minutes (3,311 words)

How Robert Mugabe, the notorious president of Zimbabwe, raised money from Wall Street to violently crush his opposition.

3. If Only They Had Treated Him Before

Wayne Drash | CNN | August 15, 2014 | 37 minutes (9,300 words)

When Will Bruce killed his mother in 2006, he believed she was an al Qaeda agent. Bruce suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and after seven years in a psychiatric hospital he is slowly reintegrating back into society with the help of his father. Together, they question why the American mental health system is unable or unwilling to help potentially violent patients before tragedy occurs, and advocate for change.

4. The Spy Who Loved Me

Lauren Collins | The New Yorker | August 25 | 35 minutes (8,783 words)

Jacqui met Bob Lambert at an animal-rights protest in 1984, when she was twenty-two. Their son was born the next year. Two years after that, Bob disappeared from their lives, seemingly without a trace. In this piece for The New Yorker, Collins investigates who Bob Lambert really was: a British police officer part of a massive undercover operation, whose officers—known as “deep swimmers”—spent years surveilling different radical groups.

5. Football in Ferguson

Robert Klemko | Sports Illustrated | August 19, 2014 | 11 minutes (2,992 words)

Despite the turmoil tearing apart their small Missouri town, the boys of the McCluer High School football team still have their first game of the season Friday. Klemko follows the team and their coach, as they try to make sense of the madness around them as well as their “city’s conflicted past, its tumultuous present and its uncertain future, and what it all means for the people of Ferguson.”

* * *

Photo: WCSH 6