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Susan Zakin

Kenya's Constitutional Crisis

FOUR MONTHS AGO, I WAS CHEWING miraa with two friends at a disco in Westlands, an upscale yuppie neighborhood in Kenya's capital city, Nairobi. Miraa, or C...

The Caged Lion

ROD CORONADO’S HAIR IS CROPPED so close to his skull it takes a while to notice it’s more gray than black. His face is gaunt, his cheekbones surfacing from the planes of his face like the masts of those whaling ships he sunk as a young man. While Johnny Depp......

Not-So-Innocent Abroad

Anew generation has become familiar with Graham Greene’s fiction because of the recent films based on his novels The End of the Affair and The Quiet American, but his nonfiction has just as much profundity and panache. This summer, Penguin reissued two works of nonfiction by Greene, both of which......
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Out of Africa

“I don’t like war,” said Reuben Koroma, leader of the Afro-pop band the Refugee All Stars. “I like pleasure.” While this sentiment may not be particularly novel for a musician, it takes on added meaning in Koroma’s case. The Refugee All Stars, playing at the Skirball Center July 20, formed......

The Ground You Fall Through

Art by John E. Miner“The five hundred darkies” in this courthouse can’t be fed, and the place smells like a slaughter-pen,” the sheriff of Greenville, Mississippi, reported to Will Percy during the Great Flood of 1927. When the Mississippi River flooded Greenville, the mayor put Will Percy, the 42-year-old cousin......

Fight of the Condors

Illustrations by P. J. FidlerThe road to the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge is not for the faint of stomach. It winds and unwinds up the steep mountains of the Los Padres National Forest, through a landscape of oil rigs and dirt roads. Cleaved from the hillsides, the roads have......
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Dead Men Walking

Illustration by Curt Crawshaw Who would have guessed that the new pimp daddy of desert writers would be a blond half-Mexican poet from Tijuana who once worked as an extra in a Chuck Norris movie? Anybody who’s been paying attention. Luis Alberto Urrea’s new book, The Devil’s Highway, is a......

The Invasion of the Elegant Trogons

Illustration by Julie West More than 30 years ago, three men worked together at Zero Population Growth, a Washington, D.C., environmental group founded by scientist Paul Ehrlich. In 1969, Ehrlich’s best-selling Malthusian rant, The Population Bomb, had alerted the world to the dangers of overpopulation. The Stanford biology professor was......

Ecology of Fire

Photo by Joshuah Bearman No one ever talks about the psychotic beauty of a fire when the horizon’s turned inside out like a dusky satin lining and the smoke fills the air and the smell is there and you know that you might die but you’re also in the presence......

The Burning Men

“This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” —The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962   If anyone needed more proof that director John Ford understood everything there is to know about politics in the American West, it was furnished when Senators Jon Kyl and......
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