Cover Story

Laughter and the Brain

Can humor help us better understand the most complex and enigmatic organ in the human body?

by Richard Restak


Ladies Last

After the Civil War, both women and black men struggled to win the vote. Why the men succeeded

by Brenda Wineapple

Park of Ages

Far more than just an urban retreat, Hyde Park is a living archive of British culture and history

by Amanda Foreman

Playing at Violence

Having grown up amid the horrors of Burundi’s civil war, a young man is bewildered by the American lust for warlike video games

by Pacifique Irankunda

Intimacy With the Inevitable

A doctor’s journey, from student to resident to consoler of the dying

by William Harless

At Sixty-Five

After the excesses of youth and terrors of middle age, a writer faces the contingencies of being old

by Emily Fox Gordon


Editor's Note


Robert Wilson

Letter From …

Vienna: Selective Amnesia

Alice Miller

Tuning Up

Father’s Day

Stephen Goodwin



Nathaniel Rich


Ralph Lombreglia

Commonplace Book


Anne Matthews


Musical Chairs

Janet Frank



Rachel Hadas


Karl Kirchwey


Spencer Reece

Book Essay

Hannah Arendt on Trial

The 1963 publication of her “Eichmann in Jerusalem” sparked a debate that still rages over its author’s motivations

Daniel Maier-Katkin and Nathan Stoltzfus

Book Reviews

The Bombmaker’s Burden

Winning the atomic race failed to bring him peace of mind

Shirley Streshinsky

Say Anything

The stories we tell ourselves

Jennifer Sinor

Bad Medicine

Psychiatry’s mistaken manual

Alison Bass

True North

Yankees and their slaves

Fergus M. Bordewich

Out of Africa

A writer says goodbye to all that

Graeme Wood

Science, Right and Wrong

The evolution of knowledge

Sam Kean