Magazine June 23, 2014, Issue

The Great Flood

The Johnstown Girls, by Kathleen George (Pittsburgh, 348 pp., $24.95)

On May 31 of this year, the often-flooded city of Johnstown, Pa., marked the 125th anniversary of the Great Flood of 1889. Five hundred more people died that day (more than 2,200 out of a city of 29,000) than died in the horrific Hurricane Katrina in 2005. There were more civilian deaths in Johnstown that day than in any American disaster except 9/11.

Whole families were wiped out in minutes. Once darkness fell, many bodies were consumed when debris piled up at the Stone Bridge burst into flame. In the next days, bodies — many never to be identified — lay

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Right Reforms

Liberals are taking the publication of a new collection of essays by conservatives as an occasion to diagnose what ails the Right. The favor should be returned. Liberalism’s reaction to ...
Politics & Policy

#NoNotMe

Collective guilt is en vogue at the moment, the ever-supple concepts of “privilege,” “rape culture,” and “entitlement” having been gradually brought into the mainstream and then ruthlessly applied to anything ...
Politics & Policy

A Concert of Democracies

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and continuing pressure on Ukraine reveal more than the Obama administration’s national-security paralysis and a lack of strategic vision. Like the collapse of the League of ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Fight the Dragon

The standard economic model treats free trade as obviously positive, creating prosperity for all participants. Conservatives, and most neoliberals, have embraced that view and consistently press for further liberalization while ...
Politics & Policy

Victus

There were a few plying the dark arts of lobbying in Washington before it, but Patton Boggs was in some ways the original modern lobbyist shop. A D.C. law firm ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

The Real Tinsel

The story can now be told. Sort of. Almost 1 million years ago, when then-president George H. W. Bush was running for a second term, his running mate, Dan Quayle, gave ...
Politics & Policy

Monster Mash

Sometimes your feelings about a two-hour movie can be summed up by the way you react to a single fleeting scene. In the latest incarnation of Godzilla, that moment arrived ...
Country Life

Homecoming

As a weekender, I do not subscribe to any of the daily newspapers upstate, so I had no advance notice of Sergeant Shawn Farrell’s homecoming, which happened on a Wednesday. ...
Politics & Policy

Dysfunctional Government

This book speaks directly to the malaise that has accompanied Barack Obama’s second term in office. “The West,” write John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, “has lost confidence in the way ...
Politics & Policy

High Stakes

In October 1986, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met in Iceland for what were supposed to be brief working discussions to prepare for a summit later ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Poetry

OVERHEARD “Just think about her name and hit ‘delete.’” I want to interrupt, say, “Don’t believe the steps could be so simple and complete. Love rifles through your trash bin to retrieve each image that ...
Happy Warrior

Personal Library

Not long ago, I popped into a Salvation Army store in suburban Maryland to check out the used-book section. I’d unearthed plenty of gems in similar places, so it wasn’t ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Is Causation Magical? While I share David Pryce-Jones’s aversion to Gabriel García Márquez’s unforgivable political affiliations and the undue accolades he received in eulogy, I’m not certain that Mr. Pryce-Jones’s article ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Hillary Clinton has a new book out. At this point what difference does it make? ‐ President Obama gave a commencement address at West Point, which he meant as a ...
The Long View

Memorandum

CONFIDENTIAL TO: POTUS FROM: Strategy RE: Rebranding as “Promise Keeper” Sir: We’ve spent the past few cycles seeing where we are in re: our rebranding efforts, and we think we’re making great progress. In the past ...
Athwart

Argument of the Week

It would appear that writers for Slate wake, stretch, yawn, and think: What comfortable, familiar, harmless aspect of life can we destroy today? What means of arranging society, accumulated over ...

Most Popular

Elections

Trump’s Disgraceful Gambit

The Rudy Giuliani–led press conference at the RNC yesterday was the most outlandish and irresponsible performance ever by a group of lawyers representing a president of the United States. If Giuliani’s charge of a “national conspiracy” to produce fraudulent votes in Democratic cities around the country ... Read More
Elections

Trump’s Disgraceful Gambit

The Rudy Giuliani–led press conference at the RNC yesterday was the most outlandish and irresponsible performance ever by a group of lawyers representing a president of the United States. If Giuliani’s charge of a “national conspiracy” to produce fraudulent votes in Democratic cities around the country ... Read More
Elections

Election 2020’s Endgame

Today on the menu: States are certifying their votes, and Trump's legal team is in turmoil. The 2020 Election Starts to Wind Down Michigan and Pennsylvania are set to certify their election results today, and Nevada is scheduled to do the same tomorrow. Saturday night, U.S. district judge Matthew W. ... Read More
Elections

Election 2020’s Endgame

Today on the menu: States are certifying their votes, and Trump's legal team is in turmoil. The 2020 Election Starts to Wind Down Michigan and Pennsylvania are set to certify their election results today, and Nevada is scheduled to do the same tomorrow. Saturday night, U.S. district judge Matthew W. ... Read More
Elections

System over Policy, Nation over Faction

One of the more insidious things about President Trump is the way he acts as a kind of gravitational distortion in our political-moral space. His combination of self-serving unscrupulousness and weaponized charisma adds ethical weight to the decisions of more ordinary politicians and pundits. Political ... Read More
Elections

System over Policy, Nation over Faction

One of the more insidious things about President Trump is the way he acts as a kind of gravitational distortion in our political-moral space. His combination of self-serving unscrupulousness and weaponized charisma adds ethical weight to the decisions of more ordinary politicians and pundits. Political ... Read More
Politics & Policy

‘The Dumbest Coup’

Noah Rothman’s excellent piece in Commentary, “The Dumbest of Coups,” deserves to be widely read. I’ve been writing about conspiracy theories for a while now — QAnon, the Flat-Earth gang, etc. — and one of the things you quickly learn about conspiracy theories is that every conspiracy theory is, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

‘The Dumbest Coup’

Noah Rothman’s excellent piece in Commentary, “The Dumbest of Coups,” deserves to be widely read. I’ve been writing about conspiracy theories for a while now — QAnon, the Flat-Earth gang, etc. — and one of the things you quickly learn about conspiracy theories is that every conspiracy theory is, ... Read More