War Tourists Flock to Syria’s Front Lines

A group of misguided adventure seekers travel to a war-ravaged village in rebel territory north of Aleppo:

“Most people on their holiday go out partying, but we decided to do something a little different for once,” says Smith. They had “no contacts or anything like that” in southern Turkey or the northern part of Syria controlled by opposition forces. Nonetheless, they flew to Istanbul, hopped on a bus, and made their way to Kilis, a small, dusty town barely on the Turkish side of the Syrian border, the last safe stop on the road to Aleppo.

Author: Ben Taub
Source: The Daily Beast
Published: Nov 9, 2013
Length: 10 minutes (2,643 words)

Longreads List: Guns in America

From The Daily Beast’s David Sessions, a collection of stories on gun violence and policy in the U.S., featuring The Atlantic, Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek and Mother Jones.

Source: The Daily Beast
Published: Dec 15, 2012

Escape from Sea Org

Astra Woodcraft was seven when she indoctrinated into the Church of Scientology via an arm of the church known as Sea Org. What she endured, and how she escaped:

“One of my first jobs as an official member of the Sea Org was in the security department, meaning I had to make sure people obeyed church rules and ethics. It seemed that people were always in some kind of trouble—the place felt ruled by fear. You could get in trouble for random things; for instance, someone might question why there were so many loose papers on your desk. Another thing you could get in trouble for: masturbation. Early on in my new job, I had to sit down with a man in his 40s who had admitted to masturbating, and tell him to cut it out. I was 15 years old.”

Source: The Daily Beast
Published: Jul 6, 2012
Length: 10 minutes (2,614 words)

Whitey Bulger’s Women

Life as a mob boss’s girlfriend:

“By the early 1990s, Stanley began to crack under the years of control and psychological domination. She and Bulger were arguing constantly, sometimes violently, at home and in public. Once, at a wedding party, Teresa was approached by Bulger’s partner, Flemmi, who said, ‘Teresa, I know you and Jimmy are going through a rough patch, but there’s something you need to understand. That man will never let you go.’

“Stanley felt trapped. She went into a deep depression. She had become financially and emotionally dependent on Bulger; she could see no way out. Then, the ‘other woman’ entered the picture.

“Stanley was home alone one night when she got a call. An unfamiliar female voice said, ‘I think we need to talk.'”

Source: The Daily Beast
Published: Jun 11, 2012
Length: 17 minutes (4,368 words)

A Man Who Could Be Me

In this exclusive excerpt from The Council of Dads, Bruce Feiler, having just been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, asks a dear friend to be a father to his young twin daughters. Plus: Read how Bruce Feiler formed The Council of Dads.

Source: The Daily Beast
Published: Apr 27, 2010
Length: 6 minutes (1,593 words)

Karzai’s Paranoid World

As Afghanistan’s president is inaugurated for his second term, author Christina Lamb, his former neighbor, on his transformation from an affable bon vivant to a paranoid shut-in.

Source: The Daily Beast
Published: Nov 18, 2009
Length: 32 minutes (8,066 words)

Sarah Palin’s Lost Speeches

The Daily Beast has obtained the speeches Sarah Palin planned to deliver on Election Night 2008—win or lose. Read the words the McCain camp didn’t want her to say.

Source: The Daily Beast
Published: Nov 1, 2009
Length: 22 minutes (5,558 words)

John Grisham’s Debut Short Story

Read an exclusive excerpt from John Grisham’s debut collection, Ford County, a heartbreaking tale of one family’s visit to death row.

Source: The Daily Beast
Published: Oct 26, 2009
Length: 35 minutes (8,854 words)

The Last of the Wasps

In an excerpt from Tad Friend’s new memoir, Cheerful Money, he explains the proper way to say “tomato,” where his family’s money went, and what makes him a Wasp.

Author: Tad Friend
Source: The Daily Beast
Published: Sep 27, 2009
Length: 12 minutes (3,177 words)