Editor's Note — June 13, 2013, 2:39 pm

Introducing the July 2013 Issue of Harper’s Magazine

A global-warming get-rich-quick scheme, a magic-mushroom murder, and more

July 2013

Our cover story this month takes on some of the biggest crises of the day: financial fraud, climate change, and water shortages. All three come together in the story of Otto Spork, a Canadian dentist who persuaded hundreds of investors to buy into a phony plan to sell water from Iceland’s glaciers directly to the drought-prone nations of the world. After his scam collapsed — leading some to compare him to Bernie Madoff — he disappeared. Our reporter McKenzie Funk spent five years chasing after Spork, traveling from Ontario to Iceland to Palm Beach and talking with a variety of shadowy informants and grifters looking to cash in on climate change. Funk’s Spork saga (say it three times fast) is a crash course in the absurdity of the financial world and a preview of the thirsty future that awaits us all.

In “Blood Spore,” the intrepid Hamilton Morris delves into the 1980 murder of Dr. Stephen Pollock, whose pioneering research on magic mushrooms also made him into something of a mycological kingpin, selling psychedelic spores via mail order. This true-crime story takes the author from San Antonio, Texas (where Pollock died), to Amsterdam, where two entrepreneurs known as the Truffle Brothers manufacture nearly 20,000 tons of fungal gold per year. Morris never quite unravels the mystery of Pollock’s death, although a conversation preserved on an ancient cassette tape points glaringly toward collusion by the local police. But he does provide a vivid, comical, and frequently surreal window into the world of mycological obsessives, who wander the earth with their “eyes perpetually narrowed, minds bent on finding the precious fruit others squash under heel and haunted by the knowledge that no matter how hard they look something will always have escaped them.”

Elsewhere in the issue, Mark Edmundson deplores the state of American poetry, with its narcissistic tone and puny ambition. Thomas Frank considers a trio of Eighties-era empire builders (Margaret Thatcher, Al Neuharth, and Howard Phillips), Jeff Madrick argues that bankruptcy isn’t so bad after all,  and Jane Smiley surveys several new memoirs — a form she calls “tempting but treacherous.” Russell Mokhiber’s Annotation, “Plaque Ops,” reveals the corporate conquest of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. And Julie Hecht’s story, “May I Touch Your Hair?,” looks back to summers spent at the beach during the Fifties — a touching remembrance of a coiffure-fixated childhood.

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Official Business March 17, 2015, 4:01 am

Radio Hustle

Listen to the broadcast version of “American Hustle,” Alexandra Starr’s story, for the April 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine, about how elite youth basketball exploits African athletes.

Official Business January 8, 2015, 3:57 pm

The Art of Outrage

We defend Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish its cartoons—and our right to critique them.

Memento Mori September 2, 2014, 5:33 pm

Charles Bowden (1945–2014)

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

June 2015

Loitering With Intent

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Polite Coup

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Findings

What Went Wrong

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Shooting Down Man the Hunter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
What Went Wrong·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In the seventh year of his presidency, Barack Obama was presenting himself as a politician who followed the path of least resistance. This is a disturbing confession.”
Photograph by Pete Souza
Article
Surviving a Failed Pregnancy·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If this woman — who spent her days studying gray screens for early signs of gestation — could not see my pregnancy, what were the chances that anyone else would?”
Illustration by Leigh Wells
Article
Interesting Facts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“My husband is forty-six. I am forty-five. He does not think that, in my forties, after cancer, chemotherapy, and chemically induced menopause, I can get pregnant again, but sisters, I know my womb. It’s proven.”
Photograph by McNair Evans
Post
Kid Chocolate’s Place·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Cuban eyes often look close to tears.”
Illustration by the author
Article
Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If you short-circuit the bottom, you threaten the entire cycle,” Joye told me. “Without a healthy ocean, we’ll all be dead.”
Illustration by John Ritter

Length in days of the sentence Russian blogger Alexei Navalny served for leading an opposition rally last year:

15

Israeli researchers developed software that evaluates the depression of bloggers.

A teenager in Singapore was convicted of obscenity for posts critical of Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s founding father, that included an image of Lee having sex with Margaret Thatcher.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today