September/October 2012 Cover

September/October 2012

This issue’s cover story, “America’s Painful Divide,” examines how our country is politically polarized, now more than ever. How do we heal the rift and bring our nation—left, right, and center—back together?

To learn about how we choose our cover illustration, watch this video from Editorial Director Steven Slon and Art Director Amanda Bixler.

Also, relish in Joyce Carol Oates’ personal essay “Quilts”; an in-depth feature on America’s healthcare mess; new fiction from Valerie Trueblood; and a story all about great American mobster flicks and why they’re so hard to resist.


America’s Painful Divide

By: Jonathan Haidt

The country is polarized and embattled to the point of dysfunction. What will it take to bring us back together?  More

Mob Love

By: Lewis Beale

The classic toughs of the silver screen are ultimate individualists, who know no boundaries. It’s a formula impossible to resist.  More

Illustration by Brian Stauffer

Post Perspective on Healthcare

By: Post Editors

“Just about every American can cite a personal example of the staggering benefits—and equally staggering costs—of today’s medicine. Here’s mine …” writes Frederick Allen in our September/October 2012 issue. But were the staggering costs always there? Is today’s medicine better than it was 50 or even 60 years ago? After reading our archival pieces below, […]  More

The Witch’s Hat sits atop Killiney Hill, which commands a view of the Irish Sea. (Photo courtesy Sally Shivnan)

Ireland’s Follies

By: Sally Shivnan

Touring the whimsical, intentionally pointless structures known as follies that dot the Irish landscape.  More

Hopeless Heritage

By: Valerie Trueblood

An emergency-room crisis brings up echoes of the past in this contemporary work of fiction.  More


A Perfect Childhood

By: Philip Gulley

Growing up in a small American town where, through the sweet haze of memory, time forever stands still.  More

Sole, Zucchini, and Tomato Napoleon with Tomato-Caper Crudo. Photo by Ben Fink. © 2012.
Sole, Zucchini, and Tomato Napoleon with Tomato-Caper Crudo

By: Patrick Perry

Trim your food budget and still eat well. Try this delicious recipe from celebrity chef Melissa d’Arabian’s Ten Dollar Dinners.  More

Meet the Ultrabooks

By: Jeff Bertolucci

The dull, six-pound laptop is giving way to a new wave of stylish thin-and-light models.  More

Out of the Dark

By: Julie A. Evans

Virginia Jacko lost her vision at the peak of her career, then turned her blindness into a stunning asset.  More

Going it Alone

By: Ann Kim

After a diagnosis of breast cancer at 39, this mother of two was devastated to learn that doctors expected her to make all key treatment decisions.  More

A Dream Come True

By: Robert Berridge

Rockwell’s rural fantasies take flight in a 1935 painting that would later come to define him.  More