Winter 2016 Issue


Editor's Note


Robert Wilson


Responses to Our Autumn 2015 Issue

Our readers

Letters From …

Letter from the Aral Sea: All Dried Up

Jeffrey Tayler

Works in Progress

Climate Change in a New Light

Margaret Foster

Waves of Change

Simon Winchester

Spotted Opera

Our Editors

The Rap’s the Thing

Chloe Taft

Off the Charts

Brad Edmondson

Back to the Country

Charlotte Salley

Tuning Up

Evolution by Other Means

Ian Tattersall

Commonplace Book

Winter 2016

Anne Matthews

Book Reviews

A Model Marriage

Mary Beth Norton

Son of Gonzo

Scott Stossel

Riddles for the Afterlife

Sarah Ruden

Hail to the Chiefs

Michael Sherry

Taken to the Leader

Bruce Cumings

Hot Rocks

Sarah Zielinski

Speaking in Tongues

Michael Upchurch

Back Talk


Ralph Keyes


Medication Nation

Philip Alcabes

Our increasing reliance on drugs—prescribed, over-the-counter, illegal, and ordered online like pizza—suggests we have a deeper problem

How Chemistry Became Biology

Priscilla Long

And how LUCA, Earth’s first living cell, became Lucas, my adorable grandnephew


Susan Jacoby

The advent of new religions in the 1800s led to fierce debates that persist today

My Newfoundland

Paul West

The sensations of landing on the island long ago haunted a writer’s final memories

A Life in Letters

Merrill Joan Gerber

A decades-long correspondence with the Italian writer Arturo Vivante covered it all: hardship, love, and the endurance of art

Where the Heart Is

Leslie Berlin

A grandmother’s life in five moves, from Hitler’s Europe to the American Midwest


Real Papa

Onyinye Ihezukwu



Langdon Hammer

The poetry of Sandra M. Gilbert

Four Poems

Sandra M. Gilbert

Delicious poems from the paintings of four masters


The Phaedra Syndrome

André Aciman

Desire, denial, and the making of compelling TV

Vermeer and the Art of Solitude

Sudip Bose

Some works are not meant to be blockbusters

Jacob A. Riis: The Other Half

Our Editors

A retrospective at the Museum of the City of New York