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Best of the 03.01.10 Issue: From the Raritan to the Ramapough

Filed under: Pick of the Issue   Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Jonathan Taylor writes:

My pick of the March 1 issue is the March 1 issue, just for provoking a Pick of the Issue post. Larissa MacFarquhar's Profile of Paul Krugman is eye-catching, prima facie, though I'd like to see a piece looking more broadly at the world of economics blogging that Krugman is now engaged with via his Times blog. That could bring us full circle, via Tyler Cowen of George Mason University, to the subject of the issue of Calvin Trillin's (gated) piece, peripatetic Sichuanese chef Peter Chang: This culinary legend of the U.S. Southeast is a central figure in Cowen's extenstive Ethnic Dining Guide. (Note to Tyler, put Famous Sichuan on Pell Street, and Grand Sichuan House of Bay Ridge on your New York City to-do list.)

My real pick is Ben McGrath's "Strangers on the Mountain" (also not free online), the mountain being about 50 miles north of Krugman's Princeton, in the Ramapo range (which Chang might still try if he really wants to disappear). Just when you think the piece is rather drearily going to be about a conflict between libertarian A.T.V. (and computer) users and the gummint (New Jersey park police), it takes the first in a series of sociological and historical turns that grabbed me over and over. McGrath points out that the so-called Jackson Whites—a.k.a. Ramapo Mountain People, or the Ramapough Lenape Nation—were the subject of some dubious reporting by The New Yorker in 1938, as well as by the Times and others since the 19th century.

Old treatments of the topic by the NAACP magazine The Crisis in 1939, and the Southern Workman, journal of an "industrial school for Negro youth," in 1911, among others, can be found through Google Books.


I agree, the Ben McGrath piece was fascinating and the only one in this issue that I just could not put down until I was done. Although I was also intrigued by longish descriptions of Paul Krugman and Robin Wells’ escapes to St. Croix. And the picture of them holding super furry cats was kind of amazing.

True - especially given that that’s the only picture of them accompanying the piece.

Great to see “Pick of the Issue” back in business. I’m still waiting for the March 1st issue to arrive in the mail. I like to have the physical magazine in my hands when I read it. I’m definitely looking forward to the McGrath article. His Tea Party piece (“The Movement”) a few issues ago was amazing.

I’m always pleased if an issue has more than one article that captures my attention, spurring me to conclusion. Until I read your blog post, I thought I had three, and wasn’t even considering the McGrath piece. The Chang article was great. I’ve started the Krugman profile, but have had to put it down in the middle.

I also especially liked Keith Gessen’s article, “The Orange and the Blue,” about politics in post-Soviet Ukraine.

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