With the deaths of Christopher Hitchens and Kim Jong Il, as well as the release of our January 2012 issue and David Brooks’s selection of Alan Lightman’s “The Accidental Universe” as one of the top magazine essays of the year, Harpers.org has been busier than usual this week. We’ve collected everything below for those who may have missed something engaging:
- Alan P. Lightman’s “The Accidental Universe: Science’s crisis of faith,” from the December 2011 issue, which was selected by Brooks for a “Sidney” award, his personal choices for the year’s best essays. Brooks’s New York Times column citing Lightman is available here.
- From the January 1991 issue, Hitchens’s “Why We Are Stuck in the Sand: Realpolitik in the Gulf,” in which he questioned the motives for the Gulf War. From the December 2011 issue, Terry Eagleton’s “Man of the World: Christopher Hitchens’s marks and misses,” a review of Hitchens’s Arguably: Essays. And on the website, a short note on Hitchens from our publisher, John. R. MacArthur.
- Two Readings on Kim Jong Il: “The Dear Leader’s Wild Kingdom,” from December 1997, is an official North Korean bulletin noting auspicious signs during the run-up to Kim’s confirmation as general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea. “But You Can Call Me Il” is a list of titles allegedly used by world leaders to describe Kim. (“World’s Greatest Writer” is but the least laughable.)
- James Sligh’s Iraq War Review, compiled from Weekly Review items on the Iraq War. And of course this Tuesday’s edition of the Weekly, by our newest assistant editor, Ryann Liebenthal.
- Sligh also put Six Questions to one of our frequent contributors, Jay Kirk. Kirk has a new book out in paperback, about Carl Akeley and his quest to build the African wing of the American Museum of Natural History.
- Scott Horton posted a Q&A with Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, as well as an analysis of a British court decision ordering the United States to return a prisoner originally rendered by British troops.
- Mr. Fish drew a seasonal cartoon.
Thank you for reading, and subscribing, everyone. Happy holidays to you all.