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The American Scholar

18 articles

The Torture Colony

A utopian German settlement in Chile had already turned darkly cultish by the time it became a secret torture site for enemies of the Pinochet regime.


Visions and Revisions

Maintaining the manual On Writing Well.


On Friendship

The author examines his closest relationships.


A Jew in the Northwest

On leaving New York for Portland.


Miles from Nowhere

In 1968, the author revisits remote British Columbia, which he traveled two years earlier.


Living With Voices

A radical new treatment for auditory hallucinations.


The Growing Menace

On the ground with U.S. troops in Afghanistan.


The Disadvantages of an Elite Education

What happens when top universities focus on careers rather than minds.


The Embarrassment of Riches

A pre-recession essay on becoming extremely wealthy.


Solitude and Leadership

A speech on the value of being alone with your thoughts, delivered to the plebe class at West Point.



A flurry of interactions in a doctor's office hint to varieties of unnamed medical problems and domestic unhappiness.

"Why wasn’t the doctor coming out? I could give her a ride, but not to another state, not to Wheeling, West Virginia. Beyond the glass doors, a vacuum started loudly. Suddenly, the woman who’d drawn my blood walked quickly past us, tears streaming, mouth tight, clutching a pink piece of paper."


Alone at the Movies

Afternoons with Altman and Allen.

For a year or two during the mid-1970s, living in New York, I was a moviegoer. I was in my early 20s then, working off and on, driving a cab, setting up the stage at rock shows, writing occasional pieces for The Village Voice. But there were also long empty spells. I tried to write some fiction and couldn’t, tried to read and could—but only for so long. I ended up going to the movies.


Dubya and Me

On witnessing the transformation of George W. Bush over 25 years.


The Man Who Shot the Man Who Shot Lincoln

The strange life of Boston Corbett, the soldier who killed John Wilkes Booth in 1865.


Baseball’s Loss of Innocence

After the 1919 Black Sox scandal, Ring Lardner, America’s first great sportswriter, walked away from the game.


A Pigeon in Piketown

The shooting death of the last wild Passenger Pigeon, atomic energy, mastodon watering holes, and other footnotes in Ohio history.


The Last Island of the Savages

A voyage to North Sentinel island, home to one of the last entirely isolated populations on Earth.


Afghanistan: ‘So This is Paktya’

Night raids by the “Hash Monster” and other perils facing American soldiers at a remote base in the wilderness of the Paktya Province as they attempt to turn over power to the Afghan Army.