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

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1. The Disgrace of Our Criminal Justice

David Cole | The New York Review of Books | November 28, 2014 | 15 minutes (3,770 words)

Cole examines three books that highlight what is wrong with America’s justice system, and why incarceration rates are so high.

2. Firestone and the Warlord

T. Christian Miller and Jonathan Jones | ProPublica | Nov. 22, 2014 | 79 minutes (19,990 words)

ProPublica and Frontline’s investigation into how the U.S. tire and rubber company Firestone ended up partnering with warlord Charles Taylor, who was taking over Liberia during the civil war in the early 1990s. In 1992 the company agreed to pay taxes to Taylor’s rebel government, and “over the next year, the company doled out more than $2.3 million in cash, checks and food to Taylor.”

3. Finding John Updike

Paul Moran | Texas Monthly | Nov. 22, 2014 | 19 minutes (4,799 words)

One man’s story of years of scavenging through John Updike’s trash.

4. A Massacre in the Family

Michael Allen | Wall Street Journal | Nov. 25, 2014 | 19 minutes (4,851 words)

Allen investigates his great-great-grandfather’s role in the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, in which 200 Native Americans were murdered.

5. Cheerleaders For Christ

Jia Tolentino | Adult Magazine | Nov. 24, 2014 | 8 minutes (2,128 words)

“I tell people all the time I never really drank the water, but of course that’s not totally true.” Recollections of a former cheerleader at a Texas private school attached to a Baptist megachurch.