What are the best short histories and articles in the history of the New Yorker?
March 14, 2010 7:35 PM   Subscribe

What are the best short histories and articles in the history of the New Yorker?

So - I have access to the New Yorker digital archive and I want to go back and read the best stuff in the history of the magazine, mainly short stories, profiles and interesting articles, but I don't know what to look for. Google is not helping, so I am turning to AskMe.

Anything goes, but bonus points for responses with the month/year of publication!
posted by falameufilho to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: John Hersey's article about Hiroshima, in the August 31, 1946 issue, is widely considered one of the best non-fiction pieces ever published by the magazine.
posted by briank at 7:41 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you tried searching newyorker.com? I just finished reading Mark Danner's classic pieces on Haiti. Here's a search for Danner's pieces at the New Yorker.
posted by lukemeister at 7:43 PM on March 14, 2010

This is one of my favorite fiction pieces from recent New Yorkers, Ziggurat by Stephen O'Connor, in the June 29, 2009 issue.
posted by EmilyFlew at 7:45 PM on March 14, 2010

The Itch from June 30 2008 and Travels in Siberia, a two-parter starting Aug 3 2009, are probably my two favorite from the past two years that I've had regular access to it. I also have notes from two profiles of con men. From Oct 23 2006 , Aleksey The Great and "The Runner" by David Samuels from Sep 3 2001.

What else have you previously liked? Have you been reading it steady for a while already? If so, that would help us maybe rule out recent items.
posted by knile at 7:54 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Mosquito Killer by Malcolm Gladwell (Published July 2, 2001 in the New Yorker)

"Millions of people owe their lives to Fred Soper. Why isn't he a hero?"

The New Yorker wants to sell you a subscription to read this article (and only gives you a few paragraphs for free). The link above takes you to the article hosted on the original author's website (who gives it out for free, in full and gives you the choice of HTML or PDF download). Enjoy.
posted by stringbean at 8:39 PM on March 14, 2010

Best answer: The MetaFilter newyorker tag should keep you busy for a while. There are almost 147 posts that use it.

One famous essay I've never read is In the Context of No Context. It's supposedly very good. Though it's not short.
posted by Kattullus at 9:07 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Donald Barthelme's stories are classic 20th century fiction; almost all the early ones appeared first in the New Yorker. Search by author, sort by date and go to the last few pages of the results to start with his groundbreaking early stories.
posted by mediareport at 9:27 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Since you have access to *all* the issues, I'd just go back to issue number one and work my way forward from there. Peek in and see what articles and short stories it contains, read the first sentence, first paragraph, see if it interests you. (Disclosure: This is what I want to do... someday.)
posted by exphysicist345 at 10:43 PM on March 14, 2010

Best answer: This is long, but unbelievably good. A three-part profile of Earl Long's last campaign for the governorship of Louisiana, written by the always wonderful AJ Liebling. You seriously MUST read this.
posted by ecab at 10:58 PM on March 14, 2010

Also, I'd like to second Travels in Siberia. Probably my favorite New Yorker piece in the last couple years.
posted by ecab at 10:59 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My google-fu is weak this morning, but a librarian, either at MeFi or your brick-n-mortar library(you can call them), could help you generate a list of New Yorker articles that have won Pulitzer prizes. There will be many great articles that didn't win, but the articles that were awarded prizes are a good start.
posted by theora55 at 7:06 AM on March 15, 2010

Best answer: Lillian Ross' profile of Ernest Hemingway: "How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen?"
posted by Joe Beese at 7:46 AM on March 15, 2010

Also: anything written by Joseph Mitchell.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:47 AM on March 15, 2010

Best answer: Eichmann in Jerusalem
posted by xammerboy at 4:50 PM on March 15, 2010

Best answer: Can't vouch for "OF ALL TIME!!0111" significance, but these are some I've really loved in the past few years:

Bill Buford on Mario Batali

Oriana Fallaci, shortly before her death

The Itch

Is Solitary Confinement Torture?

A Race in Topology

Maps and Mortality in the time of cholera

The Mass Observation Movement

The Grameen Bank and microfinance, before it became an overly saturated buzzword

Neuroeconomics and the brain

Harold Pinter

Robert Walser

Why do we read diaries?

Thomas Bernhard

TV Dinners: The Rise of Food Television

Review of The Passion of the Christ

Chris Burden and the limits of art

Morandi's still lifes

Michelle Obama and the politics of candor

A singular woman: Elizabeth Hardwick

Some more I don't have links to at the moment:
-The Donner Party (April 24 2006)
-The Churchlands and Neurophilosophy
-Milan Kundera and Die Weltliteratur
-Perpetual Motion: Gerhard Trimpin's 'Der Ring 3'
-Picturing Auschwitz, about recovered photo albums of life within Auschwitz
-a thing on Gerhard Richter's glass work recently, but I think it had a lot more to do with my love of the subject than any special merit in the article itself

There was an excellent one a few years ago on chronic pain, and another more recently on trying to unravel the mysteries of why the best-performing hospitals work so well. I think in the past few years the magazine's been really excellent at providing in-depth articles on neuroscience and medicine (and how the medical system is changing) for the layperson.
posted by ifjuly at 12:11 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Following up ifjuly's suggestions for articles on neuroscience and medicine, look for articles by Jerome Koopman and Atul Gawande.
posted by lukemeister at 7:15 PM on March 17, 2010

Sorry, Jerome Groopman
posted by lukemeister at 8:07 PM on March 17, 2010

As an addendum to my other answer, there's also the less used thenewyorker tag.
posted by Kattullus at 9:02 PM on March 17, 2010

Best answer: "This week The New Yorker publishes its eighty-fifth anniversary issue. To celebrate, we will over the next eighty-five weekdays turn a spotlight on a notable article, story, or poem from the magazine’s history. The issue containing that day’s selected piece will be made freely available in our digital archive and will remain open until the next day’s selection is posted. We hope readers will take the opportunity to delve beyond the featured pieces and discover the wealth of reporting, fiction, poetry, humor, art, and photography the archive has to offer." You have access to the archive, so the one-day window does not limit your choices. Also, thanks to stbalbach, "Here are the essays and short stories originally published in The New Yorker that were later collected in Houghton Mifflin’s annual “Best American” anthology series (1915-present)."
posted by Dave 9 at 2:56 PM on March 20, 2010

I just finished reading my Feb 8&15 issue (yeah, yeah) and I had dog-eared Angell's The Guam Caper to come post to this thread. Specifically, I was going to suggest that you go in chronological order: St. Clair McKelway's A Reporter With The B-29s, followed by That Was A Reporter At Wit's End: The Blowing of Peter Roger Oboe, followed by Angell's overview in The Guam Caper. (I hope this isn't too redundant with Dave 9's comment.)
posted by knile at 12:26 PM on April 6, 2010

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