The Afterlife of a Memoir

Novelist Aminatta Forna writes about the lingering effects, fourteen years later, of having written a memoir, The Devil That Danced on the Water, about the political hanging of her father in Sierra Leone.

Published: Nov 13, 2017
Length: 9 minutes (2,371 words)

A Presumption of Guilt

Bryan Stevenson examines the connection between the modern day death penalty and lynchings of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Published: Jul 13, 2017
Length: 13 minutes (3,467 words)

Tenants Under Siege: Inside New York City’s Housing Crisis

Despite having the most progressive housing laws in the country, New York City is in the throes of a humanitarian emergency: a large-scale “displacement of populations” from their homes.

Published: Aug 17, 2017
Length: 34 minutes (8,669 words)

A Voice for the Voiceless

Poet Charles Simic celebrates the late Philip Levine, a working class writer from Jewish Detroit who spoke for the middle class and saw the extraordinary in ordinary life. It’s refreshing to talk about poetry instead of Trump sometimes.
Published: Jun 22, 2017
Length: 13 minutes (3,345 words)

The Art of Difference

With the publication of two books and new gallery showings featuring photographer Diane Arbus, Hilton Als explores her work, writings, artistic motivation, and her uncanny ability to capture on film the humanity of the “freaks” — the marginalized people — who were the subjects of her work.

Author: Hilton Als
Published: Jun 8, 2017
Length: 17 minutes (4,301 words)

Lessons from Hitler’s Rise

Confucius said, “Study the past if you would define the future.” A good place to start is this newly translated biography of Hitler.

Published: Apr 20, 2017
Length: 16 minutes (4,092 words)

‘Fuck’-ing Around

The history of swearing is more than just an evolution of social mores — it’s also a politically charged narrative at the “intersection of anger and gaiety.”

Published: Jan 23, 2017
Length: 12 minutes (3,235 words)

Pause! We Can Go Back!

Bill McKibben’s review of the new David Sax book, The Revenge of Analog, is itself a great read on the virtues and affectations newly-hip analog items — Moleskins, Scrabble boards, vinyl records.

Published: Feb 9, 2017
Length: 11 minutes (2,959 words)

Murderous Manila: On the Night Shift

“No one will be safe until many, many more have died.” In a dispatch from Manila, James Fenton describes the current war on drugs in the Philippines and two types of killings: “buy-bust” operations and EJKs, or extrajudicial killings.

Published: Feb 9, 2017
Length: 13 minutes (3,416 words)

When Public Goes Private, as Trump Wants: What Happens?

Diane Ravitch on the future of charter schools and public schools under President-Elect Trump.

Published: Nov 18, 2016
Length: 19 minutes (4,752 words)