This year, Longreads worked with a group of outstanding writers and publishers to produce original stories and exclusives that hadn’t been previously published online. It was all funded with support from our Longreads Members. You can read them all here.

Here’s a list of the 10 most popular stories we published this year. Join us to help fund more stories in 2015.

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1. A Birth Story (Meaghan O’Connell)

Illustration by Kjell Reigstad

Meaghan O’Connell had a perfect pregnancy and the perfect birth plan—and then she went into labor.

2. The Prodigal Prince: Richard Roberts and the Decline of the Oral Roberts Dynasty (Kiera Feldman, This Land Press)

Photo by mulmatsherm
Photo by mulmatsherm

He was the heir to the televangelist’s empire, but Richard Roberts soon disappeared from the university that his father founded.

3. Escape from Jonestown (Julia Scheeres)


15-year-old Tommy Bogue was sent to a promising new church settlement in Guyana—run by a charismatic leader named Jim Jones.

4. For the Public Good: The Shameful History of Forced Sterilization in the U.S. (Belle Boggs, The New New South)

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 11.10.46 AM

“I never figured out why they did that to me.” The story of a man who was sterilized by the state of North Carolina more than 65 years earlier, when he was only 14 years old and living in an institution for delinquent children.

5. Why Do So Many People Pretend to Be Native American? (Russell Cobb, This Land Press)

Illustration by Kjell Reigstad
Illustration by Kjell Reigstad

“What do Bill Clinton, Miley Cyrus, Johnny Cash, and Elizabeth Warren all have in common? Answer: All of them have claimed to be part Cherokee, but none have been able to prove it.”

6. Falling: Love and Marriage in a Conservative Indian Family (Debie Thomas, River Teeth)

Illustration by Laura McCabe
Illustration by Laura McCabe

Thomas shares her story about growing up in a conservative Indian family and reconciling the idea of arranged marriages with the Western world’s version of falling in love.

7. The Rise and Fall of John DeLorean (Suzanne Snider, Tokion)


“It was the end of the story of John DeLorean as part of the American Dream—how a humble kid from Detroit could rise to the very top.”

8. ‘Mango, Mango!’ A Family, a Fruit Stand, and Survival on $4.50 a Day (Douglas Haynes, Orion)

Illustration by Kjell Reigstad
Illustration by Kjell Reigstad

Life—and critical decisions—inside the largest commercial center in Central America. “Fifty-three Walmart Supercenters would fit inside its roughly 225 acres.”

9. David Foster Wallace and the Nature of Fact (Josh Roiland, Literary Journalism Studies)


“David Foster Wallace saw clear lines between journalists and novelists who write nonfiction, and he wrestled throughout his career with whether a different set of rules applied to the latter category.”

10. The Honey Hunters (Michael Snyder, Lucky Peach)

Photos by Shumon Ahmed

The most lucrative of all the forest’s products, and the most dangerous to gather.

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Read all of our Longreads Exclusives