This magazine is edited to cover current social, political, cultural, scientific and economic issues. It also includes reporting, essays, fiction and memoirs by distinguished writers and promising new voices. It regularly features a statistical index, short cuts from various international texts and close analysis of current pieces of media.
Literary, brainy, and left-leaning, Harper's Magazine is an American institution (the first issue was dated June 1850). Its clean, type-heavy design shouts "serious readers only": many pages are two columns of text, period, and the illustrations are mostly art (often photographic) and artistic adornments. The reading, though, is what matters. It's substantive and often sublime. Along with lengthy, thoughtful, frequently controversial articles on politics and culture, you'll find essays, short fiction, in-depth reporting, and a few book reviews. Bylines routinely represent leading writers and thinkers of the day. Standing features include the much-copied but rarely equaled "Harper's Index," in which statistics tell stories; "Readings," a section of excerpts ranging in length from a few lines to thousands of words; and "Annotation," in which a real-life document is reproduced and "explained," usually to devastating political or cultural effect. Each issue is a full meal for the mind. --Nicholas H. Allison