Matthew Teague: TUPELO, Miss. — Federal agents of all sorts invaded northeast Mississippi several days ago, on a mission: Find the man who sent a poison-laced letter to the president. But the United States government quickly found itself entangled, once again, in a misunderstood land dominated by squabbling tribes and petty vengeances.
Agents first arrested an Elvis impersonator, released him, then on Saturday arrested his nemesis, a karate instructor. Gradually investigators concluded that what they had descended upon was probably less about the president — or the U.S. senator and retired state judge who also received letters — than a serious case of indigenous bickering.
That shocks no one here. “Tupelo is a kaleidoscope,” said sociologist Mark Franks, who grew up in nearby Booneville. There are true geniuses walking the streets of Tupelo, he said, and incredibly wealthy, generous people. But also, “every wall-eyed uncle and ‘yard cousin’ — just referencing the local pejorative — makes it into Tupelo, Miss. It creates a peculiar culture.”
Another ebook you should by, from our friend Michael Mooney. So much to read, so little time.
Journalist Michael Mooney reveals the life story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the American Sniper, from his childhood up through his death in February 2013.
A subject that continues to capture the attention of the American public, Kyle’s full story has yet to be told. His heroism and reuptation in the military service earned him the nickname “The Devil of Ramadi” among insurgents, and his impact extended beyond that after he came home, through his work with fellow veterans.
Mooney also sheds light on the life of the man who killed Kyle, a veteran suffering from PTSD, and interviews those close to Kyle.
A natural follow-up and honest look at the life of a man whose memorial service brought thousands of people to Cowboys Stadium–the most celebrated war hero of our time.
Our pal Michael Brick delivers a Kindle Single. Buy it.
When a mysterious military vet lures hundreds of bikers on a ludicrously dangerous transcontinental motorcycle ride, he draws in a Sioux shaman, a British financier and a Hollywood auteur with helicopters and private jets.
But Big Jim has a far more ambitious agenda. And it will take them all to a reckoning with the heart of America.
In this rollicking true story, Michael Brick chases the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge from Arizona to the Pine Ridge Reservation, with a brief interlude in Las Vegas.
Dan Barry: HOPKINTON, Mass.
It all starts here, as Hopkinton likes to say. And last week, once again, thousands of marathoners formed a block of Main Street determination that stretched past the Town Common’s spring grass, and the Korean Presbyterian Church’s white spire, and the public library offering brief amnesty for overdue items, and the Lovely Lady salon, on and on.
But the start of this never-completed race now seems from the distant past, after all that followed. The deadly finish-line explosions. The tense manhunt and unnerving lockdown. The killing and wounding of police officers. And, finally, the shootout death of one suspect and the capture of the other, found bloodied and cowering in a boat in someone’s yard, just 25 miles and so far from here.
What motivated the bombing suspects — two young immigrant brothers of Chechen descent and Muslim faith, living New England lives — has yet to be revealed. At least in part, their intent was to disrupt exactly what events like the Boston Marathon celebrate: the American given, as found along a 26.2-mile stretch of Massachusetts pavement.
Ezra Klein: My wife has been training for a marathon. She leaves the house early in the morning and runs for hours and hours. She comes home tired and sore. And then she does it again. And again. And again.
There’s no reason for her to do it. There’s no competition or payoff or award. It’s just a quiet, solitary triumph over the idea that she couldn’t do it, and it all happens before I even wake up.
In recent months, runner’s magazines have begun appearing on our coffee table. One includes an article from Tish Hamilton. “The Boston Marathon,” she writes. “Even the nonfaithful know that it is the holy-grail accomplishment, the one that marks a runner as ‘serious.’”
SI Rosenbaum: Lisa Verrico was passing Mile 21 when her cell phone pinged in its arm holster. Then it pinged again. And again.
Without breaking stride, she took it off her arm and looked: text messages from friends and family. Are you all right? Are you hurt? And then: A bomb went off at the finish line.
Verrico stopped running. “Holy shit,” she said aloud.
Big congrats to my colleagues here at the Tampa Bay Times.
Tim Nickens and Dan Ruth won for editorial writing.
Kelley Benham was a finalist for feature writing for ‘Never Let Go.’
And Alexandra Zayas was a finalist in investigative for ‘In God’s Name.’