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

Harper's Magazine, August 2014Middle-class Americans have taken it for granted that they will be able to stop working in their mid-sixties and enjoy a tranquil retirement. But as Jessica Bruder reports in the cover story of our August 2014 issue, they can no longer count on this. Many would-be retirees lost their jobs, their houses, and their life savings in the recession of 2008, and some have taken to the road in RVs, crisscrossing the country in search of temporary work. Depending on the time of year, they sort products in mammoth Amazon warehouses, sell Fourth of July fireworks, flip burgers at baseball games, or assist in sugar-beet harvests. They also staff many of the country’s campgrounds, trailer parks, and other tourist locations. These geriatric migrants are, Bruder writes, the “Okies of the Great Recession.”

For her first Easy Chair column, Rebecca Solnit writes about Stanford University, tracing its history and ties to the tech industries of Silicon Valley. Solnit exposes the self-glorifying libertarian roots of the university, which was founded with money from Leland Stanford’s government-subsidized railroad empire and relied on the same octopus-like networks still active in the Valley today.

Negar Azimi visited Cairo last fall, around the time Egypt’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted after only a year in office and put in detention; the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were either jailed or had gone into hiding; and General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was poised to take over the government. Azimi describes an Egyptian populace both suspicious of the Brotherhood as a political entity and wildly enthusiastic about their latest strongman. They seemed to have forgotten that Sisi had served as Hosni Mubarak’s head of military intelligence and had ordered bloody raids on sit-ins by Morsi’s supporters just last year. Now the country’s pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi blocs are at war with each other. And Sisi, who, to no one’s surprise, was overwhelmingly elected Egypt’s new president, is likely to join the region’s disheartening roster of despots.

I think I can say with certainty that Francis I is the first pope to have been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year and to have made the cover of Rolling Stone. He is celebrated by progressives both inside and outside the Catholic Church for his seemingly liberal views. Yet as Mary Gordon reports, one group has been disappointed in him so far: American nuns. Exemplified by Sister Simone Campbell and her lobbying group, Network, these women are at the forefront of social action in the United States. But their positions on the Affordable Care Act, abortion, and gay marriage have put them at odds with the Catholic hierarchy. In “Francis and the Nuns: Is the new Vatican all talk?” Gordon describes this ecclesiastical clash and criticizes the supposedly populist pontiff for supporting the wrong side.

In this month’s Annotation, Jenna Krajeski examines video evidence from a night of rioting against the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Security cameras have been placed all over Turkey (by 2010, 4,000 cameras had been installed in Istanbul alone), and on the night of September 10, 2013, cameras in Antakya, a city in southern Turkey near the Syrian border, recorded the death of Ahmet Atakan, the sixth protester to have died during antigovernment demonstrations. Krajeski pieces together various bits of footage — including clips recorded by cell phones — to determine how and why Atakan died.

Also in this issue: Frederic Morton on why the world went to war in 1914; William Pfaff on the rise of American militarism; new fiction by Diane Cook; Laura Kipnis on narcissism; Christopher Tayler on the letters of Malcolm Cowley; and Joshua Cohen on Dave Eggers and Joan Rivers.

Share
Single Page

More from Ellen Rosenbush:

Editor's Note November 13, 2014, 12:03 pm

Introducing the December 2014 Issue

Sarah Topol follows the trade routes used by arms smugglers, Eric Foner explores the hidden history of the Underground Railroad, Karl Ove Knausgaard recounts a humiliating episode from grade school, and more

Editor's Note October 19, 2014, 7:51 pm

Introducing the November 2014 Issue

Doug Henwood on stopping Hillary Clinton, fighters and potential recruits discuss the rise of the Islamic State, the inevitability of factory farming, and more

Editor's Note September 12, 2014, 12:41 pm

Introducing the October 2014 Issue

Rebecca Solnit on silencing women, a Marine commander returns to Iraq, the decline of PBS, and more

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

United States Canada

  • jem

    Although the stories have remained strong as usual, the cover art recently has been disappointing. The few more artistically geared covers in early and mid 2013 were beautiful and alluring, particularly April 2013. Even as someone who visited Adventureland as a kid and as such the August 2014 cover art is somewhat evocative, it feels slapdash and hokey, not really befitting such a finely laid-out and artistic magazine. Just my two cents. Looking forward to the issue though.

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2014

Gateway to Freedom

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Guns and Poses

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Christmas in Prison

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Poison Apples

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Growing Up

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Sarah Topol follows the trade routes used by arms smugglers, Eric Foner explores the hidden history of the Underground Railroad, Karl Ove Knausgaard recounts a humiliating episode from grade school, and more
Photograph by Angela Strassheim
Article
Growing Up·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The best coming-of-age stories have a hole in the middle. They pretend to be about knowledge, but they are usually about grasping, long after it could be of any use, one’s irretrievable ignorance.”
Photograph by Ben Pier
Article
Guns and Poses·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“‘It’s open shopping,’ he said. ‘A warehouse. The whole of Libya.’”
Map by Mike Reagan
Article
Gateway to Freedom·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The Vigilance Committee survived until the eve of the Civil War, and over the course of its several incarnations it propelled the plight of fugitives to the forefront of abolitionist consciousness.“
Photograph by Amani Willett
Article
Christmas in Prison·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Amount that President Obama has added to America’s “brand value” according to the Nation Brands Index:

$2,100,000,000,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

A former New York City police officer who had been arrested in 2012 for exchanging online messages about cooking women alive and eating them, and for illegally accessing data about potential victims in law-enforcement databases, was sentenced to time served.

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