Special Feature — January 20, 2017, 12:01 pm

The Forty-Fifth President

Our ongoing coverage of Donald Trump’s presidency

Photograph (detail) by Philip Montgomery

Photograph (detail) by Philip Montgomery

Index
CABINET OF CURIOSITIES

    Matthew Sherrill
Publisher’s Note
TRUMP THE MALEFICENT
Trump’s vocational training is strict and pitiless
    John R. MacArthur
Editor’s Notebook
MOURNING IN AMERICA
Trump’s election
    James Marcus
Folio
THE MARCH ON EVERYWHERE
The ragged glory of female activism
    Leslie Jamison
Trump: A Resister’s Guide
THE DREAM OF THE ENEMY
   
    Corey Robin
AMERICAN NIGHTMARE     Wesley Yang
TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT     Tim Barker
LIBIDINAL POLITICS     Katrina Forrester
HYMN TO HARM CITY     Lawrence Jackson
TERRORIST AND ALIEN     Nimmi Gowrinathan and Valeria Luiselli
LESSONS FROM THE LAST FIGHT     Sarah Schulman
DEMOCRACY HOW?     Celina Su
IN END TIME     Simone White
LETTER TO SILICON VALLEY     Kate Crawford
Readings
THE EMIGRANTS
Trump’s grandfather resists deportation
   Friedrich Trump
NEVER WOULD I EVER
Trump on the things he wouldn’t do
   Donald Trump
 
Browsings
THE FIRST DAY
Scenes from Donald Trump’s inauguration
    Philip Montgomery
DEALMAKER IN CHIEF
Trump’s economic authoritarianism
    Owen Davis
 
THE INDEFENSIBLE
Terror victims on Trump’s Muslim ban
    Sulome Anderson
 
DREAM ON
Being a DACA enrollee in Trump’s America
    Aviva Stahl
 
ON THE BORDER
The illustrated oral history of a Tibetan refugee
    Jason Novak
 
HAWKS AND DOVES
Scenes U.S. detention centers
    Jason Novak
 
CUT AND FOLD
A family detention center playset
    Jason Novak
 
CROWD CONTROL
A weekend of alternative estimations
    Betsy Morais
 
THE TRUMPTINI
Drinking in Trump’s America
    Betsy Morais
 
TRUMP’S PARTY
Election night at Trump’s victory party
    Joe Kloc
 
Public Record
TOWER OF BABBLE
 
    Joe Kloc

 

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In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
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The Ambassador Bridge arcs over the Detroit River, connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, the southernmost city in Canada. Driving in from the Canadian side, where I grew up, is like viewing a panorama of the Motor City’s rise and fall, visible on either side of the bridge’s turquoise steel stanchions. On the right are the tubular glass towers of the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, and Michigan Central Station, the rail terminal that closed in 1988. On the left is a rusted industrial corridor — fuel tanks, docks, abandoned warehouses. I have taken this route all my life, but one morning this spring, I crossed for the first time in a truck.

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But the exercise of labor is the worker’s own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. . . . He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.

— Karl Marx

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To look at him, Sweet Macho was a beautiful horse, lean and strong with muscles that twitched beneath his shining black coat. A former racehorse, he carried himself with ceremony, prancing the field behind our house as though it were the winner’s circle. When he approached us that day at the edge of the yard, his eyes shone with what might’ve looked like intelligence but was actually a form of insanity. Not that there was any telling our mother’s boyfriend this — he fancied himself a cowboy.

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What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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