Evan Thomas

Stories by Evan Thomas

  • The CIA: A Bad Rap?

    The agency is imperfect, but we need it—now more than ever.
  • Growing Up Giuliani

    Rudy Giuliani was raised to understand that fine, blurry line between saint and sinner. The making of his moral code.
  • Mob-Busting Hero or Traitor?

    Prosecutors said he helped with mob hits, then their case unraveled. Now this G-man's hitting the beach.
  • Injection of Reflection

    There's wide support for a death penalty, but those who carry it out are increasingly uncomfortable.
  • The Worst Week of 1968

    LBJ. RFK. MLK. In a year of tumult, one five-day span in early spring '68 was disorder distilled.
  • Iowa’s Field Of Dreamers

    When nominating contests were squeezed into January, it was to ease Iowa's impact. But in an ironic twist, the Hawkeye State may now be more crucial.
  • The Scorched-Earth Obsession

    More than one California fire is being blamed on arson. Inside the mind of the fire starters.
  • Anna Nicole's Tabloid Odyssey

    Anna Nicole Smith, born Vickie Lynn Hogan, said she wanted to be Marilyn Monroe. She became instead a kind of bombshell circus freak, a star in the lewd carnival of American pop culture. Smith always seemed to be spilling out of her dress in front of a camera, or coming and going from a court of law, or both. Her apogee, or nadir, may have come last May, when, dressed in body-clinging black, she sashayed past the paparazzi up the marble steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to pursue her right to claim half the fortune of a billionaire husband she had married when she was 26 and he was 89. There was grittiness and pathos in her pursuit of celebrity; she was an underdog some cheered for. But her death last week of unexplained causes seemed more tawdry than sad. Her psyche did not appear all that complicated. In her guileless way, she explained that she loved photographers because they gave her the attention she had missed as a child. More interesting and revealing is the way the tabloid...
  • When The Spotlight Fades

    Two new books ask, What's an ex-president to do but worry about his place in history?
  • A Rush To Judgment

    On March 28, 2006, the four co-captains of the Duke lacrosse team accused of gang-raping an exotic dancer met with university president Richard Brodhead. One of the captains, David Evans, emotionally protested that the team was innocent and apologized for the misbegotten stripper party. “Brodhead’s eyes filled with tears,” write Stuart Taylor Jr. and KC Johnson in their new book on the case, “Until Proven Innocent” (420 pages. Thomas Dunne Books. $26.95). Brodhead “said that the captains should think of how difficult it had been for him.” The misbehavior of the players, said Duke’s president, “had put him in a terrible position.” Listening to Brodhead, Robert Ekstrand, a lawyer representing the captains and many of their teammates, “felt his blood starting to boil,” write Taylor and Johnson. “Here, he thought, is a comfortable university president wallowing in self-pity in front of four students who are in grave danger of being falsely indicted on charges of gang rape, punishable by...
  • When Opposites Attract

    On July 27, 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette and 14 other French military officers arrived in Philadelphia hot, filthy and exhausted. They had slipped past the British blockade in Charleston, S.C., and trekked for 32 days to the capital of the newly created United States of America to offer their services. Told to present themselves at the Carpenters’ Hall, where the Continental Congress was meeting, the men brushed off their frock coats and knocked on the door. After a long, humiliating wait, the French officers were dismissed, shooed away as “adventurers.” Lafayette and his men, as author James Gaines describes it, were astonished and chagrined—“left open-mouthed on Chestnut Street, fifteen French officers who had risked an ocean crossing and spent the worst three months of their lives for the pleasure of this moment.”It seems sometimes that Franco-American relations must bridge an ocean of resentment and misunderstanding. Americans who cracked jokes about the French during the run...
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    Into Thin Air

    This story was reported by Ron Moreau and Sami Yousafzai on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; Zahid Hussain in Islamabad; Rod Nordland in Tora Bora; Mark Hosenball, Michael Hirsh, Michael Isikoff, John Barry, Dan Ephron and Eve Conant in Washington; Christopher Dickey in Paris, and Roya Wolverson in New York. It was written by Evan Thomas.
  • Michael Bloomberg’s Knightly Ambitions

    He is a short (5-foot-7) Jewish man from Massachusetts in a mostly Christian nation that is moving south and west. He has so little conventional star power that as mayor of New York City he can take the subway to work without other straphangers' really noticing. While he can be dryly witty, he sometimes turns wooden behind a podium. On the other hand, he can spend half a billion (if not more) of his own dollars to get elected. He is beholden to no interest groups. And he is very, very competent.Michael Bloomberg is the latest rescue fantasy to tantalize the American public (or at least its representatives in the media). The country is adrift; people feel threatened by forces beyond their control. One political era seems to be ending, but a new one has yet to begin. At 26 percent in the new NEWSWEEK Poll, President George W. Bush has the lowest approval rating since Richard Nixon during Watergate, and Congress rates slightly lower. The voters are sick of politicians and partisan...
  • Gitmo: Should Doctors Force-Feed Prisoners?

    Hunger strikers confront their captors with a dilemma. When women suffragists went on hunger strikes in the early 20th century, authorities pried open their mouths and forced down chunks of food (several women choked to death). During Northern Ireland's Troubles, British authorities allowed IRA and Irish National Liberation Army prisoners to starve themselves to death; 10 did.Is it ethical for a doctor to force-feed a prisoner on a hunger strike? An opinion piece in the Aug. 1 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests doctors should refuse to force-feed detainees at Guantánamo Bay as long as the prisoners are capable of making rational choices. This month Dr. S. Ward Casscells, the new assistant secretary of Defense for health affairs, went to Guantánamo to "look at it with my own eyes," he told NEWSWEEK. Of the 355 detainees still in Gitmo, about 20 are on hunger strike at any one time, he says. Prisoners who skip nine straight meals go under "observation";...
  • The Veep: Why Is Dick Cheney So Gloomy?

    Dick Cheney may be a taciturn man, writes author Stephen F. Hayes, but the vice president can become animated discussing doomsday scenarios. In his new biography, "Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President" (578 pages. HarperCollins. $27.95), Hayes tells the story of the Cheney family, sitting around their new big-screen TV in Jackson Hole, Wyo., on a recent Fourth of July, watching the 1997 movie "The Peacemaker." Starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman, the film is about a plot to blow up New York with a nuclear bomb. Partway through the movie, Cheney's wife, Lynne, entered the room and asked what was happening. The question was directed at no one in particular, but the vice president launched into "a 10-minute, scene-by-scene synopsis of the action," according to Lynne's brother Mark Vincent. She interrupted to clarify her question: "What's happening now?"Cheney, writes Hayes, woke up on the morning of September 12, 2001, asking: when...
  • Bush Losing GOP Support on Iraq

    As public pressure to withdraw from Iraq increases, the president is losing GOP supporters in Congress.
  • Nixon, Kissinger: A Deeply Weird Relationship

    Richard Nixon was nearing the end. It was Aug. 7, 1974, and the president had just told congressional leaders he planned to resign. Shortly after 6 p.m., Nixon's secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, found the chief executive sitting in the Oval Office, staring into the Rose Garden. The relationship between the men was, to say the least, ambivalent. As Kissinger was well aware, Nixon suspected him of self-aggrandizement. Kissinger, for his part, told reporters (privately, of course) that Nixon was a "madman." When, a few months earlier, the president called Kissinger and his new wife, Nancy Maginnes, on their honeymoon, Nixon offered perfunctory congratulations. Then he warned Kissinger's bride not to pick up poisonous snakes—and if bitten by one, to extract the venom quickly.And yet Kissinger was moved by Nixon's misery. Though neither man was a hugger, Kissinger put an arm around the president's shoulder. The awkward embrace is an oddly touching scene in Robert Dallek's at once...
  • Truman Primary: Courage and the '08 Field

    They all want to be Harry Truman. Hillary Clinton invokes his iconic sign (THE BUCK STOPS HERE) to call for better treatment of wounded veterans. Barack Obama reminds us that Truman was the first politician bold enough to call for universal health care. Rudy Giuliani notes that Truman was unpopular in his day, but if he hadn't stood up to the Soviets in the late 1940s, asks Giuliani, "Who knows how much longer the cold war would have gone on?"There are some eternal verities about politics—chiefly, that most politicians are (surprise, surprise) carefully calculating and keenly attuned to what is possible. There are some eternal truths about history, too. History has a habit of changing its mind. The case of the now sainted Truman, the Platonic presidential ideal of 2008, is an example of just this phenomenon. In 1953, when Truman left Washington for Independence, Mo., few were unhappy to see him go. His administration was accused of corruption and the Korean War was stalemated. Yet...
  • One Flag, Many Faiths

    Jewish and Muslim chaplains have dual roles: tending to their flocks and educating everyone about different traditions.
  • Dickey: Halberstam's Lessons About Quagmires

    In the early 1980s, inspired partly by "The Best and the Brightest," David Halberstam’s book on how the East Coast foreign policy establishment got America into the Vietnam War, my colleague Walter Isaacson and I (back when we both worked at Time magazine) embarked on what we hoped would be a kind of prequel—a book called "The Wise Men" about the rise of the establishment after World War II. I went to visit Henry Cabot Lodge, a pillar of that old (and now defunct) order of waspy statesmen, at his grand home in Hamilton, Mass. I was curious about Lodge because, during his tenure as ambassador to South Vietnam, he had joined with one of our Wise Men, Averell Harriman, to urge the overthrow of Vietnam's President Diem in 1963.At a rum-fueled lunch, Lodge and his high Brahmin wife, Emily, informed me that they had been influenced not by Harriman, who was at the time assistant secretary of state for Far Eastern Affairs, but by a young newspaper reporter named David Halberstam. When the...