United States

A weekly conversation with a non-fiction writer about how they got their start, how they work, and how they tell stories. Co-produced by Longform and The Atavist.


Episode 253: Steven Levy  

Steven Levy writes for Wired, where he is the editor of Backchannel.

“It’s about people. Travis Kalanick’s foibles aren’t because he’s a technology executive. It’s because he’s Travis Kalanick. That’s the way he is. There is a certain strain in Silicon Valley, which rewards totally driven people, but that is humanity. And advanced technology is no guarantee—and as a matter of fact I don’t think it’ll do anything—from stopping ill-intentioned people from doing ill-intentioned things.”

Thanks to MailChimp, Audm, Rover, and Babbel for sponsoring this week's episode.

@StevenLevy stevenlevy.com Levy on Longform [03:00] readthissummer.com [04:00] "Hackers in Paradise" (Rolling Stone • Apr 1982) [05:45] Whole Earth Catalog [06:15] Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution (O’Reilly Media • 2010) [11:00] "The Birth of the Mac: Rolling Stone’s 1984 Feature on Steve Jobs and his Whiz Kids" (Rolling Stone • Oct 2011) [19:00] "Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s Future, From Virtual Reality to Anonymity" (Wired • Apr 2014) [20:45] Levy's MTV Cover Story (Rolling Stone • 1983) [not online] [23:30] Levy's Bruce Springsteen Story (Philadelphia Magazine • 1975) [not online] [28:00] New York Diaries: 1609 to 2009 (Teresa Carpenter • Modern Library • 2012) [30:30] "Reviewing the First Iphone In a Hype Typhoon" (Wired • Jun 2017) [31:30] "From the Archives: The Original Review of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’" (Richard Goldstein • New York Times • Jun 2017) [32:00] Without a Doubt (Marcia Clark with Teresa Carpenter • Graymalkin Media • 2016) [37:45] Levy’s Archive at Newsweek [39:45] In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives (Simon & Schuster • 2011) [42:30] Backchannel [48:45] "One More Thing: Inside Apple’s Insanely Great (or Just Insane) New Mothership" (Wired • May 2017)

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Episode 252: Mark Bowden  

Mark Bowden is a journalist and the author of 13 books, including Black Hawk Down and his latest, Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam.

“My goal is never to condemn someone that I’m writing about. It’s always to understand them. And that, to me, is far more interesting than passing judgment on them. I want you to read about Che Thi Mung, an 18-year-old village girl, who was selling hats on corners in Hue in the daytime and going home and sharpening spikes to go into booby traps to try and kill American soldiers and ARVN soldiers in the evening. I want to understand why she would do that, why she would be so motivated to do that. And I think I did.”

Thanks to MailChimp, LeVar Burton Reads, Babbel, and HelloFresh for sponsoring this week's episode.

@markbowdenwrite markbowdenbooks.com Bowden on Longform [01:00] Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (Grove Press • 2010) [01:00] Bowden’s Black Hawk Down Series at The Inquirer [01:15] Bowden’s Archive at The Atlantic [01:15] Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam (Atlantic Monthly Press • 2017) [02:00] Startup: A Novel (Doree Shafrir • Little, Brown and Company • 2017) [02:00] readthissummer.com [09:30] "Hell Sucks" (Michael Herr • Esquire • Aug 1968) [10:15] The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (Tom Wolfe • Picador • 2008) [10:30] Thy Neighbor’s Wife (Gay Talese • Harper Perennial • 2009) [11:15] Bowden’s Inquirer stories reprinted in Road Work: Among Tyrants, Beasts, Heroes, and Rogues (Atlantic Monthly Press • 2004) [24:15] "Tales of the Tyrant" (Atlantic • May 2002) [28:30] Worm: The First Digital World War (Atlantic Monthly Press • 2011) [29:15] The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden (Atlantic Monthly Press • 2012) [35:00] Erin Lee Carr on the Longform Podcast [35:45] "The Enemy Within" (Atlantic • Jun 2010)

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Episode 239: S-Town's Brian Reed  

Brian Reed, a senior producer at This American Life, is the host of S-Town.

“It’s a story about the remarkableness of what could be called an unremarkable life.”

Thanks to MailChimp, Babbel, and Squarespace for sponsoring this episode.

@brihreed Reed's This American Life archive [28:45] Cops See It Differently, Part One (This American Life • Feb 2015) [28:45] Wake Up Now (This American Life • Dec 2014) [44:30] Stoner (John Wiliams • Viking • 1965) [45:15] Photo of the S-Town planning room [46:00] The Known World: A Novel (Edward P. Jones • HarperCollins • 2003)

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Episode 251: Ginger Thompson  

Ginger Thompson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning senior reporter at ProPublica. Her most recent article is "How the U.S. Triggered a Massacre in Mexico."

“How many times have I written the phrase ‘a town that was controlled by drug traffickers?' I had no idea what that really meant. What does it mean to live in a town that’s controlled by drug traffickers? And how does it get that way? One of the things I was hoping that we could do by having the people who actually lived through that explain it to us was that—to bring you close to that and say, ‘No, here’s what that means.’”

Thanks to MailChimp, Casper, and Outside the Box for sponsoring this week's episode.

@gingerthomp1 Thompson on Longform [01:30] "How the U.S. Triggered a Massacre in Mexico" (ProPublica / National Geographic • Jun 2017) [01:45] Thompson’s Archive at The New York Times [01:45] "Trafficking In Terror" (New Yorker • Dec 2015) [02:30] readthissummer.com [02:45] Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets (Luke Dittrich • Random House • 2016) [02:45] Luke Dittrich on the Longform Podcast [05:15] Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (Svetlana Alexievich • Picador • 2006) [34:30] "A Drug Family in the Winner’s Circle" (New York Times • Jun 2012) [38:45] "Nafta to Open Foodgates, Engulfing Rural Mexico" (New York Times • Dec 2002) [38:45] Thompson’s “Fatal secretes in Honduras” series (with Gary Cohn • Baltimore Sun • 1995) [43:15] "Calderón Wins Narrow Victory in Mexico Election" (with James C. McKinley Jr. • New York Times • Jul 2006) [45:30] "Mexico City Journal; The Rich, Famous and Aghast: A Peep-Show Book" (New York Times • Sep 2002) [46:30] "Richest Mexican talks equity— Business International Herald Tribune" (New York Times • Jun 2006) [52:15] "Reaping What Was Sown On the Old Plantation; A Landowner Tells Her Family’s Truth. A Park Ranger Wants a Broader Truth." (New York Times • Jun 2000) [55:30] "‘There’s No Real Fight Against Drugs’" (Atlantic • Jul 2015)

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Episode 250: Patricia Lockwood  

Patricia Lockwood is a poet and essayist. Her new book is Priestdaddy: A Memoir.

“[Prose writing is] strange to me as a poet. I’m like, ‘Well I guess I’ll tell you just what happened then.’ But the humor has to be there as well. Because in my family household…the absurdity or the surrealism that we have is in reaction to the craziness of the household. So something like your underwear-clad father with his hand in a vat of pickles, sitting in a room full of $10,000 guitars and telling you that he can’t afford to send you to college—that’s bad. That’s a sad scene. But it’s also totally a lunatic scene. It’s, just the very fact of it, all these accoutrements, all the elements of the scene—they are funny.”

Thanks to Audible and MailChimp for sponsoring this week's episode.

@TriciaLockwood Lockwood on Longform [00:00] Stoner [01:00] Priestdaddy: A Memoir (Riverhead Books • 2017) [02:00] readthissummer.com [02:30] How To Be a Person in the World (Heather Havrilesky • Doubleday • 2016) [02:30] Heather Havrilesky on the Longform Podcast [09:15] Balloon Pop Outlaw Black (Octopus Books • 2012) [10:00] Wave Books [10:00] Octopus Books [10:15] Black Ocean [11:30] "The Dark Mystery of Emily Dickinson’s ‘Master’ Letters" (Nicholas Rombes • The Rumpus • May 2011) [12:00] Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Penguin Poets • 2014) [20:15] Lockwood’s Jonathan Franzen Tweet [20:45] Lockwood’s Paris Review Tweet

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Episode 249: John Grisham  

John Grisham is the author of 38 books, including his latest novel, Camino Island.

“A Time to Kill didn’t sell. It just didn’t sell. There was never any talk of going back for a second printing. No talk of paper back. No foreign deal. It was a flop. And I told my wife, I said, ‘Look, I’m gonna do it one more time. I’m gonna write one more book…hopefully something more commercial, more accessible, more popular. If this doesn’t work, forget this career. Forget this hobby. I’m just gonna be a lawyer and get on with it.”

Thanks to Casper, Squarespace, and MailChimp for sponsoring this week's episode.

@JohnGrisham jgrisham.com [00:30] The Firm (Dell • 2009) [00:30] The Pelican Brief: A Novel (Dell • 2010) [00:30] The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town (Dell • 2012) [01:30] Wesley Lowery on the Longform Podcast [01:30] Heather Havrilesky on the Longform Podcast [01:30] Hua Hsu on the Longform Podcast [01:45] Luke Dittrich on the Longform Podcast [01:45] Krista Tippett on the Longform Podcast [02:15] readthissummer.com [08:00] A Time to Kill: A Novel (Dell • 2009) [15:15] The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald • Scribner • 2004) [15:15] The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck • Penguin Classics • 2006) [19:45] The Firm [23:00] Camino Island: A Novel (Doubleday • 2017) [28:45] "The Law-School Scam" (Paul Campos • Atlantic • Sep 2014) [36:45] Book Tour with John Grisham [49:30] Stoner

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Episode 248: Erin Lee Carr  

Erin Lee Carr is a documentary filmmaker and writer. Her new film is Mommy Dead and Dearest.

“I feel like I’ve always had the story down—that’s not been really difficult for me. So the difficult thing, I think, for me, has always been access. Can I get the access? Can I withstand the pressure? You know, there’s been so many times where I wasn’t being paid to do the job, and I had to wait on the access. And it’s not for the faint of heart. You know, I could have spent a year and a half of my life doing [Mommy Dead and Dearest] and I could’ve not gotten the access to Gypsy, and it kind of would’ve been a wash.”

Thanks to MailChimp, Kindle, Squarespace, V by Viacom, and HelloFresh for sponsoring this week's episode.

@erinleecarr erinleecarr.com [02:00] Mommy Dead and Dearest [02:00] Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop [02:30] "Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom To Be Murdered" (Michelle Dean • BuzzFeed • Aug 2016) [04:30] Carr’s Vice archive [05:15] Girls [05:45] Capturing the Friedmans [11:15] "First Animal to Survive in Space" (Motherboard • Sep 2012) [12:45] David Carr’s Archive at The New York Times [13:45] "David Carr: The News Diet of a Media Omnivore" (Fresh Air • Oct 2011) [14:15] Click, Print, Gun: The Inside story of the 3D-Printed Gun Movement [25:00] Raw Deal: The Untold Story of NYPD’s “Cannibal Cop” (Gil Valle • WildBlue Press • 2017) [32:00] Nick Bilton on the Longform Podcast [32:00] American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road (Nick Bilton • Portfolio • 2017) [42:45] Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills [47:00] "Erin Lee Carr’s New True-Crime Documentary to Air on HBO (Exclusive)" (Gregg Kilday • Hollywood Reporter • Oct 2016) [50:30] "Laura Poitras, Glen Greenwald and Edward Snowden with David Carr" (Times Talks • Feb 2015) [52:15] "Still Rendering" (Medium • Feb 2016) [55:00] The Night of the Gun: A reporter investigates the darkest story of his life. His own. (David Carr • Simon & Schuster • 2009)

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Episode 247: Ariel Levy  

Ariel Levy, a New Yorker staff writer, is the author of The Rules Do Not Apply.

“I don’t believe in ‘would this’ and ‘would that.’ There’s no ‘everything happens for a reason.’ Everything happens, and then you just fucking deal. I mean we could play that game with everything, but time only moves in one direction. That’s a bad game. You shouldn’t play that game—you’ll break your own heart.”

Thanks to MailChimp, Kindle, V by Viacom, and 2U for sponsoring this week's episode.

@avlskies ariellevy.net Levy on Longform [00:45] The Front Row [01:00] Outside the Box [02:15] Levy’s New Yorker archive [02:30] Ariel Levy on the Longform Podcast [02:30] The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir (Random House • 2017) [13:00] Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture (Free Press • 2005) [20:00] Fan Club [24:15] "Thanksgiving in Mongolia" (New Yorker • Nov 2013) [25:30] "Trial by Twitter" (New Yorker • Aug 2013) [25:30] "The Perfect Wife" (New Yorker • Sep 2013) [25:45] "Breaking the Waves" (New Yorker • Feb 2014) [25:45] "Living-Room Leopards" (New Yorker • May 2013)

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Episode 246: Jeffrey Gettleman  

Jeffrey Gettleman is the East Africa Bureau Chief for the New York Times and the author of Love, Africa: A Memoir of Romance, War, and Survival.

“I’m not an adventure-seeking adrenaline junky. I like to explore new worlds, but I’m not one of these chain-smoking, hard-drinking, partying types that just wants thrills all the time. And unfortunately that’s an aspect of the job. And as I get older and I’ve been through more and more, the question gets louder. Which is: Why do you keep doing this? Because you feel like you only have so many points, and eventually the points are going to run out.”

Thanks to MailChimp, V by Viacom, 2U, and Kindle for sponsoring this week's episode.

@gettleman Gettleman on Longform [01:15] Gettleman’s Archive at The New York Times [01:30] Gettleman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work [01:30] Love, Africa: A Memoir of Romance, War, and Survival (Harper • 2017) [08:30] Tampa Bay Times (Previously St. Petersburg Times) [11:30] Fan Club [12:30] The Front Row [18:00] "Into the Heart of Falluja" (New York Times Magazine • May 2004) [22:00] "The World’s Worst War" (New York Times • Dec 2012) [30:00] "Rape Epidemic Raises Trauma of Congo War" (New York Times • Oct 2007) [30:30] "Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profits" (New York Times • Sep 2012) [35:45] Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad • Dover Publications • 1990) [38:45] "Ominous Signs, Then a Cruel Attack" (New York Times • Sep 2013) [45:45] "Jeffrey Gettleman’s World of War" (Jack Shafer • Slate • Mar 2009)

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Episode 245: Rafe Bartholomew  

Rafe Bartholomew is the former features editor at Grantland and the author of Two and Two: McSorley’s, My Dad, and Me.

“I never saw it as something negative because [my dad] comes out, to me, at the end, extremely heroic. … He becomes this dad who I idolized as a bartender, a guy who would hang out with me and make me laugh, a guy I just adored almost every step of the way. I mean, of course, everybody gets into fights. But to me it was always so obvious that he had overcome the problems in his childhood, he’d overcome his own drinking problem, he’d done all these things, and by the time I was older, he’d even found a way to get back into writing and self-publish a couple of books of poems about the bar. So he’s sort of managed to tick off all those goals, just maybe not on the same schedule, maybe not in the most normal way.”

Thanks to MailChimp, V by Viacom, and 2U for sponsoring this week's episode.

@Rafeboogs rafebartholomew.com Bartholomew on Longform Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball (Berkley • 2011) Bartholomew’s Archive at Grantland Two and Two: McSorley’s, My Dad, and Me (Little, Brown & Company • 2017) "The Old House at Home" (Joseph Mitchell • New Yorker • Apr 1940) [3:45] Bartholomew’s Archive at Harper’s [22:00] The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams (Darcy Frey • Mariner Books • 2013) [22:00] Swee’ Pea: The Story of Lloyd Daniels and Other Playground Basketball Legends (John Valenti • Atria • 2016) [29:00] Coverage of Grantland at Deadspin [29:30] "The Legend of the Iron Five" (Chuck Klosterman • Grantland • Jun 2011) [24:11] "Press X for Beer Bottle: On L.A. Noire" (Tom Bissell • Grantland • Jun 2011) [37:10] "Mayweather-Pacquiao: A Sad Morning in Manila" (Grantland • May 2015) [38:30] "One Hundred Years of Arm Bars" (David Samuels • Grantland • Aug 2015) [44:30] "Death and Tradition at the U.K. Grand National" (Sam Knight • Grantland • Apr 2013) [45:00] "Dropped" (Jason Fagone • Grantland • Mar 2014)

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Episode 244: Nick Bilton  

Nick Bilton is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair and the author of American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road.

“I’ve been covering tech for a long, long time. And the thing I’ve always tried to do is cover the people of the tech culture, not the tech itself. … I've always been interested in the good and bad side of technology. A lot of times the problem in Silicon Valley is that people come up with a good idea that’s supposed to do a good thing—you know, to change the world and make it a better place. And it ends up inevitably having a recourse that they don’t imagine.”

Thanks to MailChimp, Viacom, and Audible for sponsoring this week's episode.

@nickbilton nickbilton.com Bilton on Longform [00:00] Ponzi Supernova [01:15] American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road (Portfolio • 2017) [01:45] Bilton’s New York Times archive [01:45] Bilton’s Vanity Fair archive [01:45] Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal (Portfolio • 2014) [07:30] "The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable" (Adrian Chen • Gawker • Jun 2011) [07:30] Adrian Chen’s first appearance on the Longform Podcast [07:30] Adrian Chen’s second appearance on the Longform Podcast [09:15] NYC Resistor [11:45] "Uber’s C.E.O. Plays With Fire" (Mike Isaac • New York Times • Apr 2017) [16:00] Fan Club [21:30] Bits, New York Times technology blog [21:45] Gizmodo [23:00] Bill Keller’s New York Times archive [23:00] John Markoff’s New York Times archive [25:45] "The iEconomy" series [27:30] "How the Kindle Moved From BlackBerry to iPad" (New York Times • Sep 2011) [29:45] "Disruptions: Fliers Must Turn Off Devices, but It’s Not Clear Why" (New York Times • Nov 2011) [50:45] "Meet the Dread Pirate Roberts, The Man Behind Booming Black Market Drug Website Silk Road" (Andy Greenberg • Forbes • Sep 2013) [50:45] "Silk Road Creator Ross Ulbricht Sentenced to Life in Prison" (Andy Greenberg • Wired • May 2015) [50:45] "The Rise & Fall of Silk Road Part I" (Joshuah Bearman • Wired • Apr 2015) [50:45] "The Rise & Fall of Silk Road Part II" (Joshuah Bearman • Wired • May 2015) [51:00] "Exclusive: How Elizabeth Holmes’s House of Cards Came Tumbling Down" (Vanity Fair • Oct 2016) [52:00] "‘It’s An Honor’" (Jimmy Breslin • New York Herald Tribune • Nov 1963)

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Episode 243: Samin Nosrat  

Samin Nosrat is a food writer, educator, and chef. Her new book is Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking.

“I kind of couldn’t exist as just a cook or a writer. I kind of need to be both. Because they fulfill these two totally different parts of myself and my brain. Cooking is really social, it’s very physical, and also you don’t have any time to become attached to your product. You hand it off and somebody eats it, and literally tomorrow it’s shit. … Whereas with writing, it’s the exact opposite. It’s super solitary. It’s super cerebral. And you have all the time in the world to get attached to your thing and freak out about it.”

Thanks to MailChimp, Squarespace, Away, and Masters of Scale for sponsoring this week's episode.

@CiaoSamin ciaosamin.com [01:45] Chez Panisse [02:00] Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking (Simon & Schuster • 2017) [03:30] Pop-Up Magazine [27:45] Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (Michael Pollan • Penguin Books • 2014) [30:00] Nosrat’s Archive at Edible [30:45] "Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch" (Michael Pollan • New York Times Magazine • Jul 2009) [34:00] Wendy MacNaughton on the Longform Podcast [37:45] An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace (Tamar Adler • Scribner • 2012) [39:15] Levels of the Game (John McPhee • Farrar, Straus and Giroux • 1979) [52:15] Outliers: The Story of Success (Malcolm Gladwell • Back Bay Books • 2011) [54:30] Golden Boy Pizza [55:30] "Cookbook Author Samin Nosrat Celebrates with Champagne and Babybels" (Sierra Tishgart • Grub Street • Apr 2017) [57:00] Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (Michael Moss • Random House • 2014)

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Episode 242: Sarah Menkedick  

Sarah Menkedick is a freelance writer and the founder of Vela. Her upcoming book is Homing Instincts: Early Motherhood on a Midwestern Farm.

“I’d been rejected a ton of times—I had that 400-page thing that never became a book. So there were plenty of epic rejections that felt catastrophic. And I’d sort of arrived at this point where I was like: I’m living in my parents' cabin, and I’m pregnant, so whatever. Fuck it. I’m gonna write whatever I want to write.”

Thanks to MailChimp and Blue Apron for sponsoring this week's episode.

@sarahmenkedick sarahmenkedick.com Menkedick on Longform [00:15] The Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh [01:00] Aaron and the Donut Dude [01:15] Homing Instincts: Early Motherhood on a Midwestern Farm (Pantheon • 2017) [01:15] Vela [02:15] "Why don’t people take writing about motherhood seriously? Because women do it" (Los Angeles Times • Apr 2017) [07:45] "A Wilderness of Waiting" (Vela • Feb 2015) [09:15] "Good Pilgrims" (Harper’s • Jul 2014) [17:30] "Living on the Hyphen" (Oxford American • Oct 2014) [19:30] "Sarah Menkedick’s Four Books on Early Motherhood" (Vela • Aug 2015) [22:30] "Written by Women" (Vela • Sep 2011)

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Episode 241: David Grann  

David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker. His new book is Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.

“The more stories I reported over time, the more I just realized there are parts of the story I can’t always get to. You know, unless this is a reality show and there’s 18 cameras in every room, and people [talk] before they sleep, and maybe you have some mind-bug in their brain for their unconscious, there are just parts you’re just not gonna know. You get as close as you can. And so the struggle to me is to get as close as I can, to peel it back as close as I can, but understanding that there will be elements, there will be pieces, that will remain lingering doubts.”

Thanks to Stamps.com, Squarespace, and MailChimp for sponsoring this week's episode.

@DavidGrann davidgrann.com Grann on Longform [00:45] David Grann on the Longform Podcast [01:45] Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (Doubleday • 2017) [14:15] Stoner [22:15] Scrivener [37:00] "The Yankee Comandante" (New Yorker • May 2012) [38:45] The Hill [43:15] "Trial By Fire" (New Yorker • Sep 2009) [1:03:45] Absalom, Absalom! (William Faulkner • Vintage • 1990) [1:03:45] "How William Faulkner Tackled Race—and Freed the South From Itself" (John Jeremiah Sullivan • New York Times Magazine • June 2012) [1:04:15] Austerlitz (W.G. Sebald • Modern Library • 2011)

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Episode 240: Alex Kotlowitz  

Alex Kotlowitz is a journalist whose work has appeared in print, radio, and film. He’s the author of three books, including There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America.

“The truth of the matter is, given what we do, we’re always outsiders. If it’s not by race or class, it’s by gender, religion, politics. It’s just the nature of being a nonfiction writer—going into communities that, at some level, feel unfamiliar. If you’re writing about stuff you already know about, where’s the joy in that? Where’s the sense of discovery? Why bother?”

Thanks to MailChimp and MeUndies for sponsoring this week's episode.

alexkotlowitz.com Kotlowitz on Longform [00:00] "Episode 03: Nick Denton, founder of Gawker Media" (Stoner • Apr 2017) [01:30] There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America (First Anchor Books • 1992) [01:45] The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America’s Dilemma (First Anchor Books • 1999) [01:45] The Interrupters [02:30] "The Trenchcoat Robbers" (New Yorker • Jul 2002) [05:00] Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families (J. Anthony Lukas • First Vintage Books • 1986) [14:45] "487: Harper High School, Part One" (This American Life • Feb 2013) [14:45] "488: Harper High School, Part Two" (This American Life • Feb 2013) [24:45] "179: Cicero" (This American Life • Mar 2001) [31:30] In the Lake of the Woods (Tim O’Brien • First Mariner Books • 2006) [35:30] Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago (Crown Journeys • 2004) [45:15] Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (Jon Krakauer • First Anchor Books • 2004)


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Episode 239: Brian Reed  

Brian Reed, a senior producer at This American Life, is the host of S-Town.

“It’s a story about the remarkableness of what could be called an unremarkable life.”

Thanks to MailChimp, Casper, and Squarespace for sponsoring this week's episode.

@brihreed Reed's This American Life archive [30:00] "Cops See It Differently" (This American Life • Feb 2015) [30:00] "Wake Up Now" (This American Life • Dec 2014) [45:45] Stoner (John Wiliams • Viking • 1965) [49:30] Photo of the S-Town planning room [47:15] The Known World: A Novel (Edward P. Jones • HarperCollins • 2003)

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Episode 238: Hrishikesh Hirway  

Hrishikesh Hirway is the host of Song Exploder.

“I love the idea that somebody would listen to an episode [of Song Exploder] and then the feeling that they would have afterwards is, ‘Now I want to make something.’ That’s the best possible reaction. Whether it’s music or not, just that idea: ‘I want to make something.’ Because that is the thing that I love most, getting that feeling.”

Thanks to MailChimp and MeUndies for sponsoring this week's episode.

@HrishiHirway [00:00] Stoner [01:45] BBC’s Classic Albums [02:30] "Episode 80: Bojack Horseman" (Song Exploder • Aug 2016) [02:30] "Episode 95: Moonlight" (Song Exploder • Jan 2017) [09:15] Genius [09:30] Who Sampled [18:00] 99% Invisible [19:15] "Episode 42: U2" (Song Exploder • Jun 2015) [22:30] The One AM Radio [23:00] Moors [26:30] City Soundtracks [28:15] The West Wing Weekly [33:30] "Episode 111: Louis CK Part 1" (WTF with Marc Maron • Oct 2010) [38:45] "Episode 84: Peter Bjorn and John" (Song Exploder • Sep 2016) [44:45] Francis and the Lights

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Episode 237: Sheelah Kolhatkar  

Sheelah Kolhatkar is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street.

“Suddenly the financial crisis happened and all this stuff that had been hidden from view came out into the open. It was like, ‘Oh, this was actually all kind of a big façade.’ And there was all this fraud and stealing and manipulation and corruption, and all these other things going on underneath the whole shiny rock star surface. And that really also demonstrated to people how connected business stories, or anything to do with money, are to everything else going on. I mean, really almost everything that happens in our world, if you trace it back to its source, it’s money at the root of it.”

Thanks to MailChimp, Blue Apron, and Stamps.com for sponsoring this week's episode.

@sheelahk sheelahkolhatkar.com Kolhatkar on Longform [00:15] SAIC Application [00:30] Pregnant Pause [01:15] Missing Richard Simmons [04:00] Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street (Random House • 2017) [07:30] Kolhatkar’s Observer archive [09:15] "Suzy Wetlaufer Preparing To Be 'Neutron Jackie'" (Observer • Apr 2004) [15:00] "Hedge Funds Are for Suckers" (Bloomberg • Jul 2013) [17:45] Kolhatkar’s Time archive [18:00] "Poor Ruth" (New York • Jul 2009) [26:30] "When the Feds Went After the Hedge-Fund Legend Steven A. Cohen" (New Yorker • Jan 2017) [27:00] "Cheating, Incorporated" (Bloomberg • Feb 2011) [29:15] "The $40-Million Elbow" (Nick Paumgarten • New Yorker • Oct 2006) [35:15] "On the Trail of SAC Capital’s Steven Cohen" (Bloomberg • Jan 2013) [53:45] To Catch a Trader [58:15] "Trump’s Wolves of Wall Street" (New Yorker • Dec 2016) [59:45] "Juno Takes on Uber" (New Yorker • Oct 2016) [59:45] "Financiers Fight Over the American Dream" (New Yorker • Mar 2017)

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Episode 236: Al Baker  

Al Baker is a crime reporter at The New York Times, where he writes the series “Murder in the 4-0.”

“When there’s a murder in a public housing high rise, there’s a body on the floor. Jessica White in a playground, on a hot summer night. Her children saw it. Her body fell by a bench by a slide. You look up and there’s hundreds of windows, representing potentially thousands of eyes, looking down on that like a fishbowl. …They’re seeing it through the window and they can see that there’s a scarcity of response. And then they measure that against the police shooting that happened in February when there were three helicopters in the air and spotlights shining down on them all night and hundreds of officers with heavy armor going door to door to door to find out who shot a police officer. They can see the difference between a civilian death and an officer death.”

Thanks to MailChimp and Squarespace for sponsoring this week's episode.

@bakeal [02:15] Murder in the 4-0 [04:15] Baker’s Archive at New York Daily News [08:15] "The myth of the killer-cop ‘epidemic’" (Michael Walsh • New York Post • Jan 2016) [09:15] The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Michelle Alexander • The New Press • 2012) [11:15] "A Bronx Precinct Where Killings Persist" (with Benjamin Mueller • New York Times • Feb 2016) [14:15] "From the archives: TWA Flight 800, flying with fear" (Newsday Staff Writers • Newsday • Jul 1996) [15:45] "A Bullet Misses Its Mark, and Then Takes a Fatal Detour" (with James C. McKinley Jr. • New York Times • Jan 2017) [21:15] "A Mother Is Shot Dead on a Playground, and a Sea of Witnesses Goes Silent" (with Benjamin Mueller • New York Times • Oct 2016) [22:45] "A Familiar Pattern in a Spouse’s Final Act" (with Benjamin Mueller & Ashley Southall • New York Times • Apr 2016) [22:45] "Quest for a New Life Ends in a Tangle of Gang Ties" (with James C. McKinley Jr. • New York Times • Aug 2016) [30:30] "Authorities Move to Charge 16 Officers After Widespread Ticket-Fixing" (with William K. Rashbaum • New York Times • Oct 2011) [36:15] Rukmini Callimachi on the Longform Podcast [37:30] Good Cop, Bad Cop: Joseph Trimboli vs Michael Dowd and the NY Police Department (Mike Mcalary • Pocket Books • 1996) [40:45] "A Cloak of Silence After a South Bronx Killing" (with Benjamin Mueller • New York Times • Mar 2016) [43:15] "Grandmother’s Killing Lays Bare a Dilemma in Child Welfare Work" (with James C. McKinley Jr. & Ashley Southall • New York Times • Nov 2016) [45:45] Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx (Adrian Nicole LeBlanc • Scribner • 2003) [47:30] "William Bratton, New York’s Influential Police Commissioner, Is Stepping Down" (with J. David Goodman • New York Times • Aug 2016) [47:30] "Ahmad Khan Rahami Is Arrested in Manhattan and New Jersey Bombings" (with Marc Santora, William K. Rashbaum, & Adam Goldman • New York Times • Sep 2016) [50:45] Seymour Hersh on the Longform Podcast [56:45] "Cops’ Favorite Target Thug, but Just Who Was the Guy?" (Michael Wilson • New York Times • Feb 2005)

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Episode 235: Caity Weaver  

Caity Weaver is a staff writer at GQ.

“I always try to remember: you don’t have to tell people what you’re not good at. You don’t have to remind them of what you’re not doing well or what your weak points are. Don’t apologize for things immediately. Always give a little less information than they need. Don’t overshare.”

Thanks to MailChimp for sponsoring this week's episode.

@caityweaver caity.info Weaver on Longform [02:30] "Kim Kardashian West Has a Few Things to Get Off Her Chest" (GQ • Jun 2016) [11:45] Weaver's Hairpin archive [13:00] Weaver's Gawker archive [13:00] A.J. Daulerio on the Longform Podcast [15:30] "New Jersey Children Forced to Shun Sad, Friendless Bear" (Gawker• Jun 2013) [16:30] "Justin Bieber Would Like to Reintroduce Himself" (GQ • Feb 2016) [18:00] "Larry David and Julia Louis-Dreyfus Are Furious" (GQ • Nov 2015) [25:15] "Gawker Slammed for Story Outing Condé Nast Exec" (Jessica Roay • New York • Jul 2015) [25:45] "Caity Weaver Takes the Gawker Buyout" (Jessica Roay • New York • Jul 2015)

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