“Getting Bin Laden,” Aug. 8, 2011. This moment-by-moment account of the mission to get Osama Bin Laden, written by Nicholas Schmidle, is every bit as thrilling as Zero Dark Thirty, and much more rigorously fact-checked.
“Taken,” Aug. 12, 2013. Sarah Stillman’s reporting illuminates an appalling, pervasive practice that you won’t believe actually exists. // I think I wrote a blog post about this one already but I'm too lazy to look it up. This article is by turns shocking, depressing, and terrifying. Small town, small time 'Murrica at its worst.
“The Apostate,” Feb. 14, 2011. Lawrence Wright’s heavily vetted and fact-checked reporting on the Church of Scientology, which later evolved into the book Going Clear, offers a rare look into the notoriously secretive organization.
“Trial By Fire,” Sept. 7, 2009. David Grann’s gripping story demonstrated that by executing Cameron Todd Willingham for the murder of his family, the state of Texas may very well have killed an innocent man. // David Grann, along with William Langewiesche, is one of the best long-form reporters in the world. His reporting on Cameron Todd Willingham is one of the reasons why.
While we're on the subject of William Langewiesche, read this if you haven't already: The World in Its Extreme. And if you feel like reading a gripping account of a horrible tragedy that will almost certainly give you nightmares, try A Sea Story.
“A Loaded Gun,” Feb. 11, 2013. In this thorough and troubling crime story, Patrick Radden Keefe examines the life of Amy Bishop, who killed six of her colleagues in a mass shooting, and 25 years ago, may have killed her brother, too.// May have? That's being generous.
What I haven't read but plan to read next:
"God Knows Where I Am,” May 30, 2011. Rachel Aviv’s look at mental health patients who reject their psychiatric diagnoses is smart and heartbreaking in equal measures.
That should keep you briefly entertained. Notably absent from the slate list: anything from Malcolm Gladwell.