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

Letters From …

Vienna: Selective Amnesia

Alice Miller

Commonplace Book


Anne Matthews

Book Essay

Hannah Arendt on Trial

Daniel Maier-Katkin and Nathan Stoltzfus

Book Reviews

The Bombmaker’s Burden

Shirley Streshinsky

Say Anything

Jennifer Sinor

Bad Medicine

Alison Bass

True North

Fergus M. Bordewich

Out of Africa

Graeme Wood

Science, Right and Wrong

Sam Kean



Nathaniel Rich


The campus of the future is a strange, unsettling place

Ralph Lombreglia



Rachel Hadas


Karl Kirchwey


Spencer Reece


Musical Chairs

A veteran cellist with the National Symphony takes a close look at the entrances and exits of world-famous conductors

Janet Frank

Tuning Up

Father’s Day

What he wished for me and what he taught me

Stephen Goodwin