Barack Obama: Going The Distance

Portrait of a President in the middle of his second term, and at a fairly low point in his fortunes. Healthcare is floundering; Snowden has shaken the country. It’s a sympathetic account, of course; Obama comes across, still, as a highly intelligent and likeable figure. But the mood is one of disappointment. What happened to the high hopes of 2008? What went wrong? Was there another way? (16,600 words)

Postscript: James Gandolfini 1961-2013

“He played within a certain range. Like Jackie Gleason, he’ll be remembered for a particular role, and a particular kind of role, but there is no underestimating his devotion to the part of a lifetime that was given to him. In the dozens of hours he had on the screen, he made Tony Soprano — lovable, repulsive, cunning, ignorant, brutal — more ruthlessly alive than any character we’ve ever encountered in television” (718 words)

The Culprits

Sensitive backgrounder on the Boston bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and their Chechen heritage. They lived an outwardly respectable life in America, and an inner one consuming violent propaganda on social media. “As the day was coming to an end, you could not help but feel something, too, for the parents of the perpetrators, neither of whom could fathom the possibility of their sons’ guilt, much less their cruelty and evil” (1,740 words)

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