Samantha Henig

Stories by Samantha Henig

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    Rough Justice: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

    Author Peter Elkind, entranced by “the chasm between public image and private reality” (page vii), follows Eliot Spitzer’s rapid rise and faster fall. He’s the two-faced politician at its finest. Public Eliot was a beacon of justice, the scrappy David taking down the Goliaths of Wall Street, the insurance industry, and yes, even prostitution—all while Private Eliot deceived his wife, advisers, and the people he served by sneaking off to rendezvous with $1,000-an-hour escorts.
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    The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

    David Remnick weaves together the story of Barack Obama’s rootless youth, increasingly rigorous studies, eventual grounding in Chicago, and rapid-fire series of four long-shot elections (five, if you count Harvard Law Review). Remnick’s deep digressions into the history of the civil-rights movement and of political corruption in Chicago elevate Obama’s story to one of fate.
  • Historical Moments: Inauguration Poetry

    It's a tough task to write a poem grand enough for a presidential Inauguration but accessible enough for the wide swath of Americans tuning in—and artful enough to keep critics at bay. Only three poets have ever attempted it; on Jan. 20, Yale University professor Elizabeth Alexander will become the fourth. To offer her inspiration, here are a few superlative moments in the history of poetry and presidents. ...
  • Best of Poetry and Politics

    In many ways, it is an unenviable task: write a poem grand enough for a presidential inauguration but accessible enough for the wide swath of Americans tuning in—and artful enough to keep critics at bay. Only three poets have ever attempted it, and author Elizabeth Alexander, a professor at Yale University, will become the fourth on Jan. 20. To offer her inspiration—and caution—here are a few superlative moments in the history of poetry and politics. ...
  • A Magical Meshuga Tour Guide

    From the opening images of an eerily serene Barry Manilow and a pelvis-thrusting Neil Diamond, the album covers in "And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl" are so perfectly dated—and hilariously kitschy—that it's impossible to look away. The product of two men's obsessive record collecting, the book examines 20th-century Jewish history through the prism of old LPs: holiday albums ("The Moishe Oysher Chanukah Party"), comedy (Rodney Dangerfield's "The Loser"), Latin influence ("Bagels and Bongos"), even the sounds of war ("The Six Day War, Recorded Live!")."And You Shall Know Us …" feels as if it's coated in irony—you can almost picture hipsters wearing T shirts emblazoned with these album covers—but the guys behind it are sincere. For authors Roger Bennett and Josh Kun, writing the book was a way to assuage their guilt over being so fuzzy on their family histories: a money-making excuse to explore their Jewish roots.Bennett, who also wrote the coffee-table catnip "Camp Camp...
  • Closure: Sister Souljah of Clinton's 1992 Campaign

    Starting PointWhile campaigning in 1992, Bill Clinton criticizes rapper and activist Sister Souljah for her "racist" remarks following the L.A. riots. "If black people kill black people every day," she'd said, "why not have a week and kill white people?" Fever PitchJesse Jackson and allies accuse Clinton of political opportunism, and Souljah calls him a draft-dodging, pot-smoking racist. But distancing himself from her remarks pays off: polling shows his Souljah slam as a turning point in a tight presidential race, earning Clinton the support of white, right-leaning "Reagan Democrats." PRESENT DAY Souljah (born Lisa Williamson) is now a best-selling author with a novel due out on Nov. 4—yes, Election Day—and her name has become political shorthand for a Clinton-style, break-with-the-base maneuver. She declined to be interviewed, saying she saw no reason "to discuss the election of 1992 in such a pivotal and exciting election year."
  • Book on World of Human Waste

    It may not be fodder for dinner discussion. Or book clubs. Or, come to think of it, polite conversation of any kind. But journalist Rose George, author of "The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters," was undaunted, delving deep into the history and implications of a daily act that dare not speak its name. Warning: what follows is, in a word, gross. ...
  • Q&A: JibJab Cofounder Gregg Spiridellis

    NEWSWEEK talks to one of the cofounders of JibJab about their latest video project—getting millions to dance onscreen next to McCain and Obama.
  • Q&A: A Campus Shooter Talks About Va. Tech

    Before Virginia Tech, before Columbine, there was Simon’s Rock.Late on the evening of Dec. 14, 1992, Wayne Lo, an 18-year-old student at Simon’s Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, Mass., approached a security-guard shack on the campus and began shooting, as he says now, “at anything that moved.” Lo fired at least nine rounds during the following 20 minutes, killing another student and a Spanish professor and wounding four others.A gifted violinist who had moved with his family from Taiwan to Billings, Mont., at age 12, Lo had bought his weapon, an SKS carbine rifle, that very afternoon at a sporting-goods store in nearby Pittsfield, Mass. His Montana driver’s license was the only documentation the purchase required. The cab driver who took  him to the store would later describe Lo to the press as “a real gentleman.” That same morning he had received a package containing 200 rounds of ammunition, purchased the previous day from a mail-order company using his mother’s credit...
  • The Power of Paper

    You've got a PC, a PDA and a cell phone. And the gadgets overwhelm you. What to do? Go retro. Buy a pen and a pad.
  • Comics: Captain America, 1941-2007

    CAPTAIN AMERICA IS DEAD. It’s a powerful headline, even for those who have never picked up a Marvel comic book and don’t know “The Sentinel of Liberty” from “The Scarlet Swashbuckler.” Fans and novices alike have been struck by the poignancy of the image on the pages of the comic book, released Wednesday: a patriotic do-gooder with a bullet piercing his burly, red-white-and-blue torso.Sure, he’s just a made-up character. But it’s hard to avoid reading today's reality into the death of someone whose surname is “America” and who walks around in a spandex flag. From the first issue in 1941, in which the title character battles Adolf Hitler, “Captain America” has put a fantastical sheen on the nation’s very real troubles. And in Marvel’s recent “Civil War” mini-series, Captain America plays a starring role in a storyline that raised timely questions about individual rights versus national security. In the seven-book series that wrapped up last month, the Cap leads an underground...
  • More Than the Anti-Summers

    When Larry Summers was named president of Harvard in 2001, the university was seeking a strong leader who could command all of its powerful fiefdoms while reasserting its unique “bully pulpit” in higher education. But during Summers’ five-year stint at the Harvard helm, he came to be viewed as more of a bully without the pulpit. His confrontational style had already produced many ruffled feathers when, in 2005, Summers speculated publicly that women might be innately inferior to men in math and science. The subsequent outcry provoked a drawn-out battle that ultimately led to his resignation. On Sunday, after a yearlong search, Harvard is expected to name Drew Gilpin Faust, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, as its new president. Faust, 59, would be the first woman president in Harvard’s history (and the fourth now among the eight Ivy League schools) as well as the first without a Harvard degree. But what may be most important at Harvard is that she is viewed as a...
  • An Unlikely Alliance

    A group of 28 scientists and evangelical Christians today announced their commitment to working together to address global and environmental climate change--an issue that they say is pressing enough to trump any theological differences between the groups. Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, is one of the scientists leading the collaboration. In an interview with NEWSWEEK’s Samantha Henig, Chivian discussed the origins of this peculiar union, what the two groups have in common, how the evangelical Christian community can help scientists and the spiritual significance of his fruit garden. Excerpts:NEWSWEEK: Scientists and evangelicals have announced that they are coming together to address global warming and environmental change. What exactly does this collaboration entail?Eric Chivian: We believe that it was very important for these two groups--scientists and evangelical Christians--to get together and speak with one...