Janet Rae-Dupree

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The Curse of Reading and Forgetting

Recently, a colleague mentioned that she had been rereading Richard Hughes’s “A High Wind in Jamaica,” which was first published in 1929 and is about a group of creepy little kids who become the unwanted wards of sad, listless pirates. She praised it, and her recommendation sent me to Amazon. The …

Books

Battleground America

One nation, under the gun.<p>Just after seven-thirty on the morning of February 27th, a seventeen-year-old boy named T. J. Lane walked into the cafeteria at Chardon High School, about thirty miles outside Cleveland. It was a Monday, and the cafeteria was filled with kids, some eating breakfast, some …

The Mark

The F.B.I. needs informants, but what happens when they go too far?<p>Last January, Michael Grimm, a forty-year-old United States congressman from Staten Island, sat for an interview in his Washington office with Greta Van Susteren, of Fox News. Grimm, a freshman representative who had recently been …

Taken

Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?<p>On a bright Thursday afternoon in 2007, Jennifer Boatright, a waitress at a Houston bar-and-grill, drove with her two young sons and her …

The Abyss

Music and amnesia.<p>In March of 1985, Clive Wearing, an eminent English musician and musicologist in his mid-forties, was struck by a brain infection—a herpes encephalitis—affecting especially the parts of his brain concerned with memory. He was left with a memory span of only seconds—the most …

The Possibilian

What a brush with death taught David Eagleman about the mysteries of time and the brain.<p>When David Eagleman was eight years old, he fell off a roof and kept on falling. Or so it seemed at the time. His family was living outside Albuquerque, in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. There were only …

The Jefferson Bottles

How could one collector find so much rare fine wine?<p>The most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction was offered at Christie’s in London, on December 5, 1985. The bottle was handblown dark-green glass and capped with a nubby seal of thick black wax. It had no label, but etched into the glass …

Brain Gain

The underground world of “neuroenhancing” drugs.<p>A young man I’ll call Alex recently graduated from Harvard. As a history major, Alex wrote about a dozen papers a semester. He also ran a student organization, for which he often worked more than forty hours a week; when he wasn’t on the job, he had …