Graeme Wood

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Arms and the Men

A review of Andrew Feinstein’s The Shadow World.

Originally appeared in The Daily.

The premise of Andrew Feinstein’s book “The Shadow World” is that humanity owes much of its war and misery to a dark cabal of arms dealers, corrupt politicians and defense contractors. This cabal runs on money (lots of it), cocaine and influence. Its major players are total amoralists, millionaires virtually to a man, and responsible for looting the treasury of nearly every developed country and spilling the innocent blood of every undeveloped one. Law enforcement nips at the feet of these men, yet most of them remain not only free to enjoy their network of mansions and kept women, but also toasted as statesmen and royalty. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Daily

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

The Barnes & Noble Review published a few of my words on the death of Hitchens.

Filed under: Barnes & Noble Review

South Carolina Town Sitting on Gold Mine

Originally published in The Daily:

KERSHAW, S.C. — Let the gold rush begin at what will soon be the only active gold mine east of the Mississippi River.

A Canadian company has just announced plans to reopen a historic mine in this small Southern town with a depressed economy and double-digit inflation. It believes there may be billions of dollars of gold still left at the site.

“We want to take this opportunity,” Kershaw resident Sonya Poole said, “and grab it.”

And if the Canadians find that the gold veins lead under the nearby state prison, she said, “I’ll help them tunnel right underneath it.”
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Filed under: Daily

The Twin Towers

Originally appeared in The Daily.

The World Trade Center site is now hallowed ground, and to denigrate the architecture of its enormous rectangular towers is vaguely uncouth, as if to denigrate not just the towers but the great city that produced them. But critics were not always so respectful. When the towers went up in the early 1970s, everyone found something to hate. Those who liked shiny glass skyscrapers moaned at these opaque figures now marring the skyline. More classically inclined critics asked whether this was where modern architecture had brought us — to big rectangles, witless and inert, as ugly as they were inhuman. The unkindest cuts came from those who said they were not up to the Big Apple’s standard — “so utterly banal,” wrote the critic Paul Goldberger, “as to be unworthy of the headquarters of a bank in Omaha.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Jersey Gore

Originally appeared in The Daily.
For today’s summer vacationers, the Jersey Shore presents few dangers worse than bad calzone, unwanted encounters with reality TV stars, and venereal disease. But the beach bums of yesteryear faced a danger much more terrifying, and not curable with a dose of Imodium or penicillin. It measured about 10 feet long, stalked swimmers along a 125-mile stretch of coastline, and feasted on human flesh throughout the summer of 1916. No one can be sure, but most scientists now think the culprit was one or several great white or bull sharks. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Gaddafi Family File

The Daily published a Gaddafi family tree, partially written by me.  Check it out here.

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A Vanished Heir

The last days of a missing Rockefeller

Originally appeared in The Daily.

Michael Rockefeller, heir to a fortune in the hundreds of millions and the son of the governor of New York, was last seen 50 years ago tying a pair of empty red gas cans to his back and swimming for the shore. “I think I can make it,” he said. Then he swam away from his capsized catamaran into the Arafura Sea, toward the coast of New Guinea, where cannibalism may still have been practiced.

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Wojtek, Soldier Bear

Originally appeared in The Daily.

In November 1947, after five years of service, the Polish army discharged a soldier by the name of Wojtek at the rank of corporal. Wojtek’s record had its moments of distinction, including heroism under fire in the brutal battle against the Nazis at Monte Cassino, Italy. But overall, it was blemished with insubordination, including drunkenness, theft of women’s clothing, and attempted murder. For another soldier, these crimes would have meant a court-martial, but the army let them slide, because Corporal Wojtek was a 500-pound brown bear.
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