Our Long-Form Favorites from 2012

That we didn’t write, but wish we had.
Sat December 29, 2012 1:05 am
FLICKR | MATT HERZBERGER
Katy Vine, senior editor
I have two favorite stories from the year, and they were both about Robert Caro: Chris Jones’s “ The Big Book” from Esquire and Charles McGrath’s “ The Big Dig” from the New York Times Magazine. As a magazine writer, I have a hard time imagining how any writer could devote more than thirty years to one subject, and I had always wondered about Caro’s work habits, but I hadn’t anticipated that a biography of the ultimate biographer would yield such thrilling reads. (For more on the two Caro stories, turn to Jason Cohen’s post  here.)

Pamela Colloff, executive editor
Michael J. Mooney’s D Magazine piece, “ When Lois Pearson Started Fighting Back.” How do you write about something as unspeakable as what happened to Lois Pearson? The reclusive 62-year-old East Texas woman was kidnapped by a man whose advances she had spurned, then raped and tortured for twelve days. The details of her story are stomach-turning; her abductor strung her up on a deer skinning rack, telling her, “When I’m through with you, you won’t believe in God.” But Mooney tells the story with restraint and grace, giving us just enough information—but not too much—as he explains what happened to Pearson and why she ultimately forgave her attacker. It’s one of those rare stories that stayed with me for a long time.

Mimi Swartz, executive editor
Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Atlantic piece, “ Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Alas, it’s very, very true. Women are still doing the heavy lifting, even if there are those who still consider them the “weaker sex.” 

Jason Cohen, senior editor
Now is obviously the perfect time to revisit “ It’s Not About the Lab Rats,” Bill Gifford’s Outside piece on Livestrong, which ran nearly a year ago. It largely sidestepped the issue of Lance Armstrong’s alleged–is that still the word?–doping use to explore the mission of Armstrong’s charitable foundation, which Gifford found was less concerned with research and more focused on raising awareness, branding, and offering outreach and support. As I wrote when the piece first came out: “Because

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