Best articles of the 1960s and earlier
This is a subsection of the larger Best Magazine Articles Ever list. The list introduction, top 25, and links to other decades are here.
* William Hazlitt, “On Common-Place Critics.” The Examiner, November 24, 1816. [Ed.’s note: Republished in Hazlitt’s The Round Table: A Collection of Essays on Literature, Men and Manners, Volume 2.]
* Eugène N. Marais, R. J. P., “Notes on Some Effects of Extreme Drought in Waterberg.” Agricultural Journal of the Union of South Africa, Vol. 7, February 1914. [Ed.’s note: Reprinted in Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the Year 1914; reprinted in Eugene Marais, Versamelde Werke, edited by Leon Rousseau, v. 2.] Eugène Marais was a poet and journalist at the heart of the literary revival of the Afrikaans language; he spent several years in close observation of baboons (during which period Marais essentially formulated the modern discipline of comparative ethology, though his pioneering status was not fully recognized until 1969).
* F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Crack-Up.” Esquire, February 1936. Reprinted in Esquire on February 26, 2008.
* Albert Einstein, “Science and Religion.” 1939. A great mind tries to bridge a great divide.
*** Joseph Mitchell, “All You Can Hold for Five Bucks.” The New Yorker, April 15, 1939. A brilliant description of the nearly extinct traditional New York “beefsteak” dinner, but almost all of the stories in [Mitchell’s] collection Up in the Old Hotel merit inclusion.
* E. B. White, “Once More to the Lake.” Harper’s Magazine, 1941.
* A. J. Liebling, Profiles, “The Jollity Building.” The New Yorker, April 26, 1941.
* Dorothy Thompson, “Who Goes Nazi?.” Harper’s Magazine, August 1941.
* R. A. Radford, “The Economic Organisation of a P.O.W. Camp.” Economica, 1945.
** Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think.” Atlantic Magazine, July 1945.
*** John Hersey, “Hiroshima.” The New Yorker, August 31, 1946.
** Lillian Ross, Profiles, “‘How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen?’,” The New Yorker, May 13, 1950. Profile of Ernest Hemingway in decline.
* Joseph Mitchell, Profiles, “The Bottom of the Harbor.” The New Yorker, January 6, 1951.
* A.J Liebling, “Yea, Verily.” The New Yorker, September 20, 1952. It’s a profile of the horse racing pundit Colonel John R. Stingo. Later expanded and reworked into the book “The Honest Rainmaker.”
* Truman Capote, “The Duke in His Domain.” The New Yorker, November 9, 1957.
****** John Updike, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.” The New Yorker, October 22, 1960. About Ted Williams career framed by his last game. I read it every opening day without fail.
** Norman Mailer, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket.” Esquire, November 1960.
* S.L.A. Marshall, “First Wave at Omaha Beach.” The Atlantic Monthly, November 1960.
** Rachel Carson, “Silent Spring.” The New Yorker, June 16, 1962. Deserving both because of its content, and because it was one of the environmental movement’s prime movers.
* Hannah Arendt, “Eichmann in Jerusalem.” The New Yorker. Part I: February 16, 1963; Part II: February 23, 1963; Part III: March 2, 1963; Part IV: March 9, 1963; Part V: March 16, 1963. [Republished as Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.]
*Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter From Birmingham Jail” originally published under the title “The Negro Is Your Brother.” The Atlantic Monthly, August 1963. [Ed.’s note: The original article from Atlantic is offered in PDF form here, as well as in the literary collection The American Idea: The Best of Atlantic Monthly” by Robert Vare, Daniel B. Smith.]
* Susan Sontag, “Notes on ‘Camp.’” Partisan Review, 1964.
** Richard Hofstadter, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” Harper’s Magazine, November 1964.
* John McPhee, Profiles, “A Sense of Where You Are.” The New Yorker, January 23, 1965. A portrait of Bill Bradley from his Princeton days, and a good analysis of the sport of basketball.
*** Tom Wolfe, “The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson. Yes!” Esquire, March 1965.
* Nat Hentoff, “Playboy Interview: Bob Dylan.” February 1966.
********** Gay Talese, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.” Esquire, April 1966.
** Gay Talese, “The Silent Season of a Hero.” Esquire, July 1966. Talese’s vivid portrait of a middle-aged Joe DiMaggio.
** John Sack, “M.” Esquire, October 1966.
* Joan Didion, “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream.” Saturday Evening Post, 1966. [Ed.’s note: Reprinted in Didion’s anthology Slouching Towards Bethlehem.]
* Hunter S. Thompson, “The ‘Hashbury’ is the Capital of the Hippies.” The New York Times Magazine, Maybe 14, 1967.
* Joan Didion, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem.” Saturday Evening Post, September 23, 1967. [Ed.’s note: Reprinted in Didion’s anthologySlouching Towards Bethlehem.]
* Brock Yates, “The Grosse Pointe Myopians.” Car and Driver Magazine, Apri 1968. Detroit’s troubles are foretold with prescient foresight.