Graeme Wood

  • Political Awakening

    Those who wish to see politics in everything frequently get their wish. The selection of a Nobel laureate in literature is a case in point. In 2001, the choice of V. S. Naipaul looked to some like a post-9/11 gesture of sympathy with America—even an endorsement of America’s incipient military rebukes to Islamism. Four years later, awarding the anti-American Harold Pinter looked like a rebuke to the American rebuke. And last year’s selection, the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, looks like the most overtly political winner in the past three decades.

    The attention garnered by other laureates

  • culture June 04, 2010

    Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens

    For Americans of my generation—the wrong side of thirty, but too young to remember the golden age of student protest—the tales of youth offered by Christopher Hitchens in his new memoir may provoke somewhat more envy than we care to admit. A Trotskyite protester in Hitchens's salad days could enjoy the thrilling illusion that letter-writing campaigns and streetside invective might one day succeed in buckling the world order and building an epoch of peace on its ruins.

  • End Papers

    In 1922, the German mark was shedding value so fast that anyone who visited the country holding a stable foreign currency could live like a kaiser. Ernest Hemingway crossed from France into the German town of Kehl and saw that economics was not wasted on the young. Students had figured out that their francs could take them a long way across the border. “This miracle of exchange makes a swinish spectacle where the youth of the town of Strasbourg crowd into the German pastry shop to eat themselves sick and gorge on fluffy, cream-filled slices of German cake at 5 marks the slice. The contents of

  • Uneasy Rider

    If ever you have reason to step out of an airport in Peru, Kenya, or another of the places in Ted Conover’s latest book of reportage, you will preserve your life by following one simple procedure. Ignore the scrum of eager cab drivers at the door and instead proceed to the edge of the parking lot. Find the driver with the fewest teeth, the most gray hairs, and the thickest glasses. He’s your man: Anyone who has survived to AARP age with these handicaps, on third-world roads, must have an abundance of caution, or perhaps just a jalopy that can’t reach the hundred-mile-per-hour standard of Peruvian