Editor's Note — April 12, 2013, 11:24 am

Introducing the May Issue of Harper’s Magazine

The twenty-first-century Jungle, a U.S. official’s dubious lobbying in Afghanistan, and more

Harper's Magazine, May 2013

In The Jungle (1906), Upton Sinclair described the appalling working conditions then prevalent in the nation’s slaughterhouses — and as soon as President Theodore Roosevelt read the novel, he proposed legislation to make the meatpacking industry safer for both workers and consumers. More than a century later, journalist Ted Conover went to work at the Cargill meatpacking plant in Schuyler, Nebraska, as a USDA meat inspector. In this issue of Harper’s Magazine, he describes the process of industrialized slaughter in this modern facility. Meatpacking is a cleaner, more automated, and more humane business than it was in Sinclair’s day. And in this account, the meat inspectors are almost heroic in their diligence. Yet the machinery of slaughter remains unsettlingly gruesome, as Conover witnessed. The level of detail he’s able to provide on the printed page will make you question how often you eat meat, and at what price.

Although corruption in Afghanistan is nothing new, the involvement of a top U.S. official is. This month’s Annotation, by Antonia Juhasz, demonstrates how Zalmay Khalilzad, a U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan during the George W. Bush administration, attempted to steer a lucrative oil contract away from a Chinese company that had successfully bid on it. In a letter of protest to the Afghan government, Khalilzad argued that the contract should have been awarded to his client, the Western-based Tethys Petroleum company—even though the Chinese bid was lower and promised the Afghan government a higher royalty rate. Khalilzad, who was born in Mazar-i-Sharif, is now rumored to be considering a run for the Afghan presidency.

Also in this issue:

Sallie Tisdale’s haunting memoir of her struggle to find the cause of her persistent headache. In “An Uncommon Pain,” Tisdale describes how the ordinary headache may have many different causes. Her account will resonate with many readers who live with chronic pain. 

In “Jingo Unchained,” Michael Brick gives readers a portrait of the American wrestler who since taking on the persona of RJ Brewer, “son” of Arizona governor Jan Brewer, has become the performer Mexicans most love to hate. 

Also included are photographic portraits by Katy Grannan; a story by Charles Baxter; a review of Willa Cather’s letters; and, in Readings, a memoir by Chinese dissident Liao Yiwu, Elizabeth Warren vs. HSBC, fiction by Joshua Cohen and Mary Ruefle.

You can subscribe to Harper’s Magazine by clicking here. You’ll receive immediate online access to the May issue and our 163-year archive, as well as subsequent issues of the print edition.

Share
Single Page

More from Ellen Rosenbush:

Editor's Note July 10, 2014, 1:05 pm

Introducing the August 2014 Issue

Jessica Bruder on the end of retirement, Mary Gordon on the new Vatican, Laura Kipnis on narcissism, and more

Editor's Note June 12, 2014, 8:00 am

Introducing the July 2014 Issue

Kevin Baker on the lost glory of America’s railroads, Mark Hertsgaard on Obama’s environmental failures, Sarah Menkedick on why Mexican immigrants are moving back home, and more

Editor's Note May 15, 2014, 1:45 pm

Introducing the June 2014 Issue

Maud Newton reflects on America’s ancestry obsession, Randall Kennedy revisits the Civil Rights Act, Scott Horton reveals a possible coverup at Guantánamo Bay, and more

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2014

The End of Retirement

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Octopus and Its Grandchildren

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Francis and the Nuns

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Return of the Strongman

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“From the nerd squabbles of Internet discussion threads rose an urban legend that culminated in a film that hinges on digging through my town’s trash.”
Illustration (detail) by Timothy Taranto
Article
Return of the Strongman·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If Tunisia is where the Arab Spring began, Egypt seems poised to become its burial ground.”
Photograph (detail) © Ahmed Ismail / Getty Images
Article
The Seductive Catastrophe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The world’s leaders were moved by a populace fused into a forward phalanx, were shaken by a tidal wave of militancy jubilantly united.”
Photograph courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library
Article
Me, Myself, and Id·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The one defining trait of the narcissist is that it’s always someone else.
Painting (detail) by Gianni Dagli Orti
Post
The Many Faces of Boko·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“People want education. Open a school and they will rush.”
Photograph © The author

Average number of sitcom laughs an American hears during a prime-time season:

12,000

Czech and German deer still do not cross the Iron Curtain.

British economists correlated the happiness of a country’s population with its genetic resemblance to Danes.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today