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In This Week’s Issue

Issue No. 84

The View from Here The turbulent history of conspiracy groups, spanning anti-Semites of many ilks to the Branch Davidians, implies a grim future for their New Age brother, QAnon

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Great Sakharov’s Ghost By seeking to destroy Alexei Navalny, Putin is repeating the mistakes his K.G.B. predecessors made with the dissident nuclear scientist

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It’s Britney, B*tch A slutty-uniform-wearing Britney Spears sealed her fate as the Princess of Pop at just 16. All these years later, we’re still in her thrall

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Time Regained Publishing next month, the long-lost writings of Marcel Proust promise a window into the mind and work of the French writer

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Sweet Oblivion The hottest social network in Silicon Valley is anti-viral by design

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Pet Peeves From Shepherd’s Bush to Barking Park, pandemic dogs are clogging the curbs

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Small Talk
“Does the court promise to listen to me? Really listen?”

Beau Monde American widower battles French tycoons over possession of the left-leaning French daily that was supposed to be owned by its journalists

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Arab Baroque

“The desert could not be claimed or owned—it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones, and given a hundred shifting names long before Canterbury existed.” So muses the desert explorer László de Almásy, the title character of Michael Ondaatje’s 1992 novel, The English Patient. “Its caravans, those strange rambling feasts and cultures, left nothing behind, not an ember.” Almásy is thinking of the vast and volatile sands between Middle Eastern cities, a terrain that quickened the pulse of cartographers and enthralled adventurers such as T. E. Lawrence. READ ON

The little sister to Jordan’s Petra, Hegra, an ancient city in western Saudi Arabia incorporating both Arab and Roman influences, is opening to visitors for the first time in modern history.

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The Other Side of Britney Spears Lili Anolik discusses what the new documentary gets wrong about the Princess of Pop

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Playing Dirty What led actress Felicity Huffman to risk everything—including the sentence she recently finished serving—to try to cheat her daughter’s way into college?

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Far from Normal Daisy Edgar-Jones achieved global success in the pop-culture juggernaut Normal People. What’s next?

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Snake Eyes A bumbling billionaire blows a fortune trying to build the Vegas of Down Under

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Did You Hear
About … ?
Plans to build a second Venice, and other curious news about these strange days

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Double Duchess Could Fergie be the role model Meghan’s been searching for?

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Air Supply


Howard’s End Once the master of the castle used in the filming of Bridgerton and Brideshead Revisited, Simon Howard now faces vast troubles, including child-sex-offense charges

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Small Talk
“No, you’ve got it right. Hammer second to last, then mace all the way to the outside.”

Euston, We Have a Problem Who said saving the world had to be drab? A new generation of posh protesters are fighting an overpriced train service between mouthfuls of artisanal cheese

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Don’t Miss

Nicholas Jarecki The screenwriter and director tackles the opioid crisis with his new thriller, Crisis

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Air Mail Jr.
Small Talk
“The irony is I’ve always considered myself a champion of the little guy.”

Woman on Top How does 75-year-old fashion designer Norma Kamali look and feel so much better than the rest of us?

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The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness, 1680–1790

by Ritchie Robertson
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Confident Women: Swindlers, Grifters, and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion

by Tori Telfer
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Murder, They Wrote

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Bugsy Siegel, Thespian The notorious mobster behind the modernization of the Las Vegas Strip had a hidden ambition: to become a Hollywood star

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Small Talk

On the Rails With the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express now connecting to more cities in Europe, traveling by train has never looked better

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Gray skies are gonna clear up: the eternal promise of spring.
Is Edited By

Graydon Carter and Alessandra Stanley

Deputy Editors

Chris Garrett Michael Hainey Nathan King

Design Director

Angela Panichi

Chief Technology Officer

John Tornow

Books Editor

Jim Kelly

Arts Intel Report Editor

Laura Jacobs

Style Editor

Ashley Baker

Features Editor

Ash Carter

Senior Editor

Julia Vitale

Executive Editor

David Foxley

Photo Director

Ann Schneider

Associate Editors

Elena Clavarino Clementine Ford Alex Oliveira Elinor Schneider


Cazzie David Emma Freud Walter Isaacson
Pico Iyer Rachel Johnson John Lahr
Douglas McGrath Richard David Story James Wolcott

Writers at Large

Lili Anolik Joseph Bullmore William D. Cohan Rich Cohen Stuart Heritage George Kalogerakis Sam Kashner Alexandra Marshall

International Editor

Isabelle Harvie-Watt

London Editor

Bridget Arsenault

Communications Director

Anna Bradlee

Cartoon Editor

Bob Mankoff

Music Supervisor

Randall Poster

Copy Editor

Adam Nadler

Photo Editor

Emine Gozde Sevim

Production Editor

H. Scott Jolley


Roxy Solis Gasper Tringale-White Jenna Kim

Chief Operating Officer

Bill Keenan

Chief Marketing Officer

Emily Davis

Brand Partnerships

Anjali Lewis

Sales Director

Michael Pescuma

Financial & Business Operations

Marc Leyer

Integrated Marketing Manager

Madeline Spates

Issue No. 84
February 20, 2021
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Issue No. 84
February 20, 2021