Longform Podcast #105: Ben Anderson

Ben Anderson is a war journalist and documentary filmmaker for Vice News. His latest book is The Interpreters.

"You're surrounded by people who are so poor. Maybe their family members have already been killed. And they still can't leave. So compared to that, I can't really take the idea that I've suffered and that I need stop and go to a spa for a few days. I can't take that idea that seriously. Compared to them, it feels like I am leading an almost privileged existence."

Thanks to TinyLetter and GoDaddy for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. @BenJohnAnderson
  2. Ben Anderson on Vice News
  3. [12:00] The Slaves of Dubai (Vice News • Apr 2009)
  4. [15:30] "My Holidays in the Axis of Evil" (BBC • Feb 2003)
  5. [20:43] No Worse Enemy (Oneworld Publications • Oct 2012)
  6. [21:15] This is What Winning Looks Like (Vice News • May 2013)
  7. [23:20] The Battle for Marjah (HBO • Feb 2010)
  8. [33:16] Vice on HBO
  9. [40:00] James Wood's New Yorker archive
  10. [42:40] Afghan Interpreters (Vice News • Jul 2014)
  11. [42:40] The Interpreters (Vice News • Aug 2014)
  12. [43:00] King Leopold's Ghost (Adam Hochschild • 1998)
  13. [54:30] Longform Podcast #1: Matthieu Aikins

Wednesday, August 13

Longform Podcast #104: Lewis Lapham

Lewis Lapham, formerly the editor of Harper's, is the founder of Lapham's Quarterly.

"The best part of my job was to come across a manuscript. You never knew what would show up. ... I always had the sense of opening a present, hoping to be both delighted and surprised. Often I was disappointed. But when I wasn't, it was a lot of fun. And word got around that I was that kind of an editor, that I was willing to try anything if you could make it interesting."

Thanks to TinyLetter and GoDaddy for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. Lapham's Quarterly
  2. Lapham on Longform
  3. [2:30] With the Beatles (Melville House • Oct 2005)
  4. [17:00] "Who is Lyndon B. Johnson?" (The Saturday Evening Post • Sep 1965) [unavailable online]
  5. [21:00] "Monk: High Priest of Jazz" (The Saturday Evening Post • Apr 1964)
  6. [29:00] "Alaska: Politicians and Natives, Money and Oil" (Harper's • May 1970)
  7. [31:00] "The Coming Wounds of Wall Street" (Harper's • May 1971) [paywall]
  8. [43:30] "Harper's Lapham: Good-bye, Long Tale" (Christopher Swan • The Christian Science Monitor • July 1985)

Wednesday, August 6

Longform Podcast #103: Adam Higginbotham

Adam Higginbotham has written for Businessweek, Wired and The New Yorker. His latest story is A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite, for The Atavist.

"There's always a narrative in a crime story. Something has always gone wrong. These guys are always in prison, because they all fucked something up or trusted the wrong person. They always get caught in the end. Because if they hadn't, you wouldn't be reading about it."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. @HigginbothamA
  2. adamhigginbotham.com
  3. Higginbotham on Longform
  4. [2:13] A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite (The Atavist • Jul 2014)
  5. [26:16] The Face
  6. [28:14] "Richard Branson Turns 50" (Independent on Sunday Review • Jul 2000)
  7. [32:51] "The Inkjet Counterfeiter" (Wired (UK) • Oct 2009)
  8. [40:48] "The Gangster Prince of Liberia" (Details • Nov 2007)
  9. [41:30] "The Last Days of the Lipstick Killer" (GQ • May 2008)
  10. [41:39] "The Green River Killer" (Sunday Telegraph • May 2004) [pdf]
  11. [46:18] "Life at the Top" (The New Yorker • Feb 2013)

Wednesday, July 30

Longform Podcast #102: Brin-Jonathan Butler

Brin-Jonathan Butler has written for SB Nation, ESPN, and The New York Times. His new book is A Cuban Boxer’s Journey.

"He smiled at me and just to make small talk, I said, 'You know, you’ve got this gold grill on your teeth. Where did you get that from?' And he said, 'Oh, I just melted my gold medals into my mouth.' And I thought, 'I think I’ve got a story here.'"

Thanks to TinyLetter, WW Norton & Company and Open Road Integrated Media for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. @brincio
  2. Butler on Longform
  3. [4:45] Pitching Around Fidel (S.L. Price • 1998)
  4. [7:45] Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway • 1952)
  5. [12:00] "Mike Tyson Jail Interview" (YouTube)
  6. [19:30] Granma
  7. [29:30] "Héroes for Sale" (SB Nation • June 2014)
  8. [35:45] Split Decision: The Story of Guillermo Rigondeaux (Documentary directed by Butler)

Wednesday, July 23

Longform Podcast #101: Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah has written for The Believer, The LA Review of Books, Transition and The Paris Review. "If He Hollers Let Him Go," her essay on Dave Chappelle, was a 2014 National Magazine Award finalist.

"So the stakes are high. I’m not just writing this to write. I’m writing because I think there’s something I need to say. And there’s something that needs to be said. ... What I hope is that a young kid or an older person will see that you have choices, that you don't have to accept what people hand to you. That you have control."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. the-rachelkaadzighansah.tumblr.com
  2. [:30] "If He Hollers Let Him Go" (The Believer • Oct 2013)
  3. [15:15] Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix (Charles R. Cross • Hyperion • 2005)
  4. [17:10] "What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum?" (Hunter S. Thompson • The National Observer • May 1964) [Google Books]
  5. [19:45] "Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You: The Roots Are One of the Most Respected Hip-Hop Acts in the World; Why Can’t They Leave the Sad Stuff Alone?" (Capital New York • Dec 2011)
  6. [24:40] "He Shall Overcome: Jay-Z Is $450 M Beyond the Marcy Projects. Where Does He Go From Here?" (New York Observer • Dec 2010)
  7. [27:16] "The B-Boy’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Review of the RZA’s Tao of Wu" (Transitions • Sep 2012)
  8. [27:52] "When the Lights Shut Off: Kendrick Lamar and the Decline of the Black Blues Narrative" (Los Angeles Review of Books • Jan 2013)
  9. [29:37] "We a Baddd People" (VQR • Jun 2014)
  10. [35:15] "Stakes Is High—and Black Lives Are Worthy of Elaboration" (Kameelah Janan Rasheed • Gawker • Jun 2014)
  11. [44:25] Miles: The Autobiography (Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe • Simon and Schuster • 1989)
  12. [48:20] "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You: The BeyHive" (NPR • Mar 2014)

Wednesday, July 16

Longform Podcast: The 100th Episode

A look back at some of our favorite moments from the first 99.

Thanks to our sponsors, TinyLetter and Squarespace.


Show Notes:

  1. [4:45] #3: David Grann
  2. [7:00] #4: Jon Mooallem
  3. [10:10] #7: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  4. [14:15] #9: Jeanne Marie Laskas
  5. [12:32] #10: Chris Jones
  6. [18:00] #22: Charles Duhigg
  7. [20:00] #29: Matthew Power
  8. [23:45] #37: Ann Friedman
  9. [26:30] #39: Natasha Vargas-Cooper
  10. [28:00] #43: Margalit Fox
  11. [31:20] #57: Eli Saslow
  12. [34:50] #62: Malcolm Gladwell
  13. [39:00] #64: Gay Talese
  14. [43:35] #65: Elizabeth Wurtzel
  15. [46:10] #67: Evan Wright
  16. [49:30] #75: George Saunders
  17. [52:10] #77: Dan P. Lee
  18. [57:00] #78: Ariel Levy
  19. [102:30] #84: Sabrina Rubin Erdely
  20. [104:20] #88: Sam Biddle
  21. [106:30] #91: Michael Lewis
  22. [110:30] #95: Wesley Morris

Wednesday, July 9

Longform Podcast #99: John Heilemann

John Heilemann is the managing editor of Bloomberg Politics and the co-author of Game Change and Double Down.

"If you're a writer, and you're not an asshole, you want the maximum number of people to read your stuff. There's nothing wrong with that. There's no great glory in cultivating some niche audience. I do this work because I believe in what I'm doing. I'm not trying to compromise my principles or my standards to get a larger audience. But once I've written the thing of which I feel confident and proud, which I feel is ethically and journalistically sound, I then want the maximum number of people to read it."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. @jheil
  2. [9:15] "Congress's Watch Dog: The General Accounting Office" (Washington Monthly • Nov 1989)
  3. [23:15] "Can the BBC Be Saved?" (Wired • Mar 1994)
  4. [24:00] Heilemann's New Yorker archive
  5. [33:00] "The Networker" (New Yorker • July 1997) (sub req'd)
  6. [34:30] The Valley
  7. [35:00] The Reckoning (David Halberstam • 1986)
  8. [37:00] "The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth" (Wired • Nov 2000)
  9. [41:30] The Pride Before the Fall (2001)
  10. [44:00] "The Power Grid" archive
  11. [44:45] "The Choir Boy" (New York • May 2005)
  12. [48:00] What It Takes (Richard Ben Cramer • 1992)

Wednesday, June 25

Longform Podcast #98: Sarah Nicole Prickett

Sarah Nicole Prickett is the founding editor of Adult.

"I'll admit to being resistant to the 'by women for women' label that Adult had before because I saw it as being just 'by women,' period. That’s way more feminist than making something for women, which is very prescriptive and often comes in various shades of pink."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. Pre-order: Adult #2
  2. Prickett's TinyLetter
  3. @snpsnpsnp
  4. snpsnpsnp.com
  5. [8:40] Fashion
  6. [2:30] "How to Make Love in America" (Hazlitt • Jul 2013)
  7. [11:20] "The Ultimate Humiliation" (n+1 • May 2014)
  8. [17:15] The Cut
  9. [17:15] Bon
  10. [22:30] "Like Every Time My Pelvis Touches A Sink Brim" (Fiona Duncan • Adule • June 2014)
  11. [24:30] "Florida” (Joe Coscarelli • Adult • March 2014)
  12. [34:12] "House On Fire” (Larissa Pham • Adult • May 2014)
  13. [35:10] "Ass Man” (Brad Phillips • Adult • March 2014)

Wednesday, June 18

Longform Podcast #97: Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor at The Atlantic. His latest cover story is "The Case for Reparations."

"The writer hopes for change, but writers can't assume that their work is going to cause change."

Thanks to TinyLetter and I Am Zlatan, the international bestseller published by Random House, for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. @tanehisicoates
  2. Coates's blog for The Atlantic
  3. Coates on Longform
  4. "The Case for Reparations" (The Atlantic • May 2014)
  5. [4:20] "Longform Podcast #7: Ta-Nehisi Coates"
  6. [4:35] "Fear of a Black President" (The Atlantic • Aug 2012)
  7. [7:05] "The Case for Reparations: An Intellectual Autopsy" (The Atlantic • May 2014)
  8. [8:05] "For Asians, School Tests Are Vital Steppingstones" (Kyle Spencer • New York Times • Oct 2012)
  9. [10:08] Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (Kenneth Jacks • Oxford University Press • 1985)
  10. [16:10] "The Story of the Contract Buyers League" (James Alan McPherson • The Atlantic • Apr 1972) [pdf]
  11. [18:53] "Zlatan’s Revenge!" An excerpt from I Am Zlatan (Zlatan Ibrahimovic • Grantland • May 2014)
  12. [19:18] Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores "maybe the best goal ever scored" [YouTube]
  13. [40:40] "Ta-Nehisi Coates Disagrees With ‘Jonathan Chait,’ and So Do I" (Jonathan Chait • New York • Mar 2014)
  14. [43:15] Elizabeth Kolbert on Longform
  15. [51:07] "Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek " (John Branch • New York Times • Dec 2012)
  16. [58:23] Nobody Knows My Name (James Baldwin • Dial Press • 1961)

Wednesday, June 11

Longform Podcast #96: Nathaniel Rich

Nathaniel Rich writes for Rolling Stone, Harper's and the New York Times Magazine. His latest novel is Odds Against Tomorrow.

"I'm drawn to obsession. I think I'm an obsessive in a way, probably most writers are. It's an obsessive act to sit at a desk by yourself."

Thanks to TinyLetter and EA SPORTS FIFA WORLD CUP for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

  1. @NathanielRich
  2. nathanielrich.com
  3. Rich on Longform
  4. [15:45] "Diving Deep Into Danger" (New York Review of Books • Feb 2013)
  5. [21:45] Odds Against Tomorrow (Farrar, Straus & Giroux • Feb 2013)
  6. [23:30] Longform Podcast #64: Gay Talese
  7. [23:45] The Bridge (Gay Talese • Harper & Row • 1964)
  8. [26:15] "The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox" (Rolling Stone • Jun 2011)
  9. [26:30] "Tyler Hadley's Killer Party" (Rolling Stone • Dec 2013)
  10. [35:30] "How to Spend 47 Hours on a Train and Not Go Crazy" (New York Times Magazine • Feb 2013)
  11. [40:00] "For Whom the Cell Tolls" (Harper's • May 2010)
  12. [43:45] "The Man Who Saves You From Yourself" (Harper's • Nov 2013)
  13. [44:30] San Francisco Noir (Little Bookroom • Mar 2005)
  14. [45:15] David Sullivan speaks at the Commonwealth Club (Jul 2010)

Wednesday, June 4

Longform Podcast #95: Wesley Morris

Wesley Morris, a Pulitzer Prize winner, covers film at Grantland.

"That's what writing about race and popular culture is for me: it's crime reporting. It's not me looking for an agenda when I go to the movies ... but I feel a moral responsibility to report a crime being committed. That's what I'm forced to do over and over again."

Thanks to this week's sponsors, Warby Parker and TinyLetter.


Show notes:

  1. @wesley_morris
  2. Morris's Grantland archive
  3. [1:15] Reba modeling Warby Parker
  4. [37:15] "The Cultural Crater of 12 Years a Slave" (Grantland • Oct 2013)
  5. [39:15] "Strange Fruitvale" (Grantland • Jul 2013)
  6. [39:15] Longform Podcast #89: Alice Gregory
  7. [40:00] Longform Podcast #7: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  8. [40:00] "The Case for Reparations" (Ta-Nehisi Coates • The Atlantic • May 2014)
  9. [55:30] "The Unstoppable Scarlett Johansson" (Anthony Lane • New Yorker • Mar 2014)
  10. [47:30] Molly Lambert's Grantland archive

Wednesday, May 28

Longform Podcast #94: Gary Smith

Gary Smith, a four-time National Magazine Award winner, retired last month after 32 years at Sports Illustrated.

"We were on the Santa Monica Freeway, Ali's driving 70 miles an hour and his eyes are drifting asleep—the medication for Parkinson's would do that to him. I'm thinking, 'Oh, crap.' We're weaving between lanes, cars are honking, and I'm wondering in the passenger seat, 'Should I grab the wheel from the greatest champ of all-time?' The writer in me wants to let it go, let the crash happen just so I get a scene for the story. But the human in me was just getting scared as hell."

Thanks to TinyLetter and EA SPORTS FIFA WORLD CUP for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

  1. Smith on Longform
  2. [18:30] "Crime and Punishment" (Sports Illustrated • Jun 1996)
  3. [39:00] "The Secret Life of Mia Hamm" (Sports Illustrated • Sep 2003)
  4. [40:00] "Someone to Lean On" (Sports Illustrated • Dec 1996)
  5. [41:00] "As Time Runs Out" (Sports Illustrated • Jan 1993)
  6. [42:15] "Tyson the Timid, Tyson the Terrible" (Sports Illustrated • Mar 1988)
  7. [47:45] "Damned Yankee" (Sports Illustrated • Oct 1997)
  8. [48:30] "Ali and His Entourage" (Sports Illustrated • Apr 1988)
  9. [52:00] "Coming Into Focus" (Sports Illustrated • Jul 2006)