Cover Story

The Virtue of an Educated Voter

The Founders believed that a well-informed electorate preserves our fragile democracy and benefits American society as a whole

by Alan Taylor


Chicago Hope

Can the collaboration between a progressive boarding school and a big-city charter academy transform American Public High School Education?

by Lincoln Caplan

Writing the Unimaginable

When future generations look back at the fiction of our time, what will they make of the failure to address the crisis of climate change?

by Amitav Ghosh

Put a Bird on It

How did a beguiling South American hummingbird end up in the basement of a Pennsylvania museum?

by Erik Anderson


Death can come at any time, from above or below, but life requires putting fear aside

by Brandon Lingle

Thine as Ever, P. T. Barnum

A scholar offers three utterly fictitious letters he wishes the famous showman had written

by A. H. Saxon

Little Bowls of Colors

Writing in a foreign language can reveal secrets long buried in our mother tongue

by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough


Editor's Note


Robert Wilson

Letter From …

East Timor: Mountain of Memory

Karen J. Coates

Tuning Up

The Thing About Books

Jethro K. Lieberman

Commonplace Book

Autumn 2016

Anne Matthews

American Places

Monhegan Island, Maine

DeWitt Hardy


The Accident

Jean McGarry


More Than You Know

Jason Koo

Works in Progress

Out of Sight

Sarah Rice

In Our Urban Greenery

Jill Jonnes

One Hundred Autobiographies

David Lehman

Glimpses of the Great War

Charlotte Salley

GIF Books

Elyse Graham

Louisiana’s Vanishing Act

Julia Lewando


Out of the Studio, Into the Light

The long journey of Robert Irwin

Andy Grundberg

All in the Family

Gazing into the soul of a lauded play and seeing glimpses of one’s past

Wendy Smith

Book Essay

A Life Written in Invisible Ink

In her rebellious and much-celebrated poetry, Adrienne Rich both deciphered and created the feminist world she inhabited

Sandra M. Gilbert

Book Reviews

Second Thoughts

To manipulate time, we must first understand how it works

George Musser

Darkness Illuminated

A horror writer whose real demons were off the page

Susan Cheever

Territories of Conquest

A new history of the bloodletting that opened the frontier

Andrew Graybill

Before the Rebellion

A colonial American artist’s portraits of an age

Meryle Secrest

The Old Urbanist

Jane Jacobs saw cities as places for people

Edward Glaeser

Healing the Masses

The evolution of care at the nation’s oldest public hospital

T. M. Luhrmann

A Rare Intelligence

How a spy novelist’s travels reinvigorated his work

Bruce Falconer