Thanks to funding from Longreads Members and a generous match from WordPress.com, we were able to publish another fantastic year of original reporting, essays, book excerpts, and exclusives in partnership with other publishers and some of our favorite writers. If you like what we do and want to support us, considering becoming a Longreads Member today.
Below are the 25 most popular exclusives we published this year. You can see all of our stories here.
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On the new triangle trade, and the surprising connection between modern slavery and ecological disaster.
Is there a dietary treatment for multiple sclerosis? And if so, why is the medical establishment ignoring published academic research that started in the 1950s proving it?
Eighty years ago, in Berlin, Stella Walsh won her second Olympic medal. Decades later, Walsh’s murder and subsequent autopsy threw the legacy of track’s first female superstar into turmoil.
Thirty years ago, the world lost a great literary mind—the Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. Today, Elizabeth Hyde Stevens revisits the financial conditions that produced this life of pure literature, finding unexpected hope in the darkest period of Borges’ forgotten past.
Uncovering the dating habits of conspiracy theorists and the challenges they face.
Writing in 1924, Teffi, a Russian writer in exile known for her wit, recalls a series of humorous (but increasingly ominous) encounters with the trusted friend of the last Tsar of Russia.
7. Playing with History: What Sid Meier’s Video Game Empire Got Right and Wrong About ‘Civilization’ (Kanishk Tharoor and Kill Screen)
Twenty-five years ago, Meier turned human history into a video game, and sold 33 million copies along the way. With the launch of Civilization VI, Kanishk Tharoor takes a closer look at its impact.
And a racist joke, at that. But working women and black civil rights lawyers had the last laugh when they brought women’s workplace rights to the courts and won.
She was less like a recluse, more like a bomb going off.
A quick rundown of the ecocidal empires that came before us.
How Inception changed the way we listen to movies.
At the height of the housing crisis, one woman’s bureaucratic odyssey to discover who really owns her home leads her to startling revelations about the housing market.
The Asian arowana or “dragon fish” is protected by the Endangered Species Act and illegal to own in the U.S. But the tropical fish’s status symbol among wealthy buyers has made it the object of a thriving black market.
Essayist Chloe Caldwell on the “sisters” we choose for ourselves, and her close relationship with her surrogate younger sister, Cheryl Strayed’s daughter Bobbi.
One of the rarest religious experiences you can have in America is to join the Plain.
Barbara Williamson co-founded one of the most famous radical sex experiments in America. Then she got wild.
In this lighthearted portrait of his family’s rescue dog, author Richard Gilbert explores the larger bond between human and animal.
The bestselling author of ‘The Eighty Dollar Champion’ describes the Nazis’ secret stud farm, where dubious visionaries imagined a breed of perfect (and perfectly white) horse.
The story of the planet closest to our sun, aptly named Vulcan, which accidentally existed for half a century.
Is the conversation around guns in this country really about the right to bear arms? Author Alexander Chee interrogates the proliferation of firearms and growing gun culture in the U.S., the complicated, polarized politics around gun control—and the notion that with more guns, we are somehow safer.
Author Jonah Berger explains when and why we follow the herd.
On the rise and fall of American utopia.
What if your last name is just the word that comes after your first name?
Dan Ariely on building an understanding of how humans behave from the ground up.
Travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor recalls his most dangerous journey.