The New York Times Magazine: Desperate Crossing

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This was the week that the rest of the world finally discovered the migration crisis underway in the Middle East and Europe, where millions of refugees and would-be immigrants from conflict-racked countries in the Middle East and repressive or poverty-stricken nations in Africa are trying to reach points north by land and, more dangerously, by sea. The deadly center of this movement is the Mediterranean, which at least a quarter million people have tried to cross – and 2,500 people have died crossing – so far this summer. In the magazine this week, the photographer Paolo Pellegrin and the writer Scott Anderson tell the story of a tiny sliver of this mass of humanity – 733 of them, to be exact, a group of mostly Eritrean migrants who set out from Libya in July aboard a pair of perilously unseaworthy wooden boats in hopes of reaching Italy. The account of their rescue is so harrowing, and Paolo’s photographs are so arresting, that we tried to tell it in a way we haven’t told a story before; online, you’ll find a mix of words, images and video that we hope will go some distance towards conveying a sense of this crisis as it is seen at the water level by thousands of people every day.
Elsewhere in this week’s issue, Robert Draper chronicles the efforts of the wonks working for 2016’s Republican presidential hopefuls to sort out the party’s foreign-policy dilemma: How do you distance yourself from the shadow of the Iraq War while still presenting a more muscular alternative to what Republican voters see as a milquetoast, wavering Obama strategy abroad? Dan Kois, meanwhile, profiles Joy Williams, a “writer’s writer’s writer,” whose new collection of short stories, he argues, should cement her reputation as “our pre-eminent bard of humanity’s insignificance.”
Sam Sifton makes an impassioned argument for year-round grilling and gives us a recipe for lamb burgers to get us through the approaching winter months, the TV food personality Alton Brown vents to Ana Marie Cox about foodies and Jaime Lowe celebrates the pragmatic glories of the much-maligned fanny pack.
Happy reading,
Jake Silverstein
Editor in Chief

Paolo Pellegrin for The New York Times
Interactive Feature
Desperate Crossing
For 733 migrants crammed aboard two tiny boats somewhere between Libya and Italy, a leaky hull was neither the beginning nor the end of their troubles.


G.O.P. presidential candidates are struggling to craft a foreign policy that can please the gung-ho and win in 2016 – without overpromising military force.

Joy Williams

Raymond Meeks for The New York Times
The writer’s new story collection establishes her as one of the greatest chroniclers of humanity’s insignificance.

First Words

Illustration by Jennifer Daniel. Cat: EEI_Tony/iStock. Wig: greg801/iStock.

The Politics of Distraction

In American political life, “shiny objects” has become a useful metaphor for the stories – and people – that divert us from the important questions.

A Turkish policeman carrying the body of Aylan Kurdi, a 3-year-old Syrian boy who drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos, in the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, on Sept. 2.

Nilufer Demir/DHA, via Reuters

The Boy on the Beach

The haunting photographs of Aylan Kurdi.

Lucky Peach Lamb Burgers

Grant Cornett for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop Stylist: Rebecca Bartoshesky.
The Propane-Fueled Endless Summer
Warmer months might be waning, but your grilling season can keep right on going.


Alton Brown

Dustin Chambers/Getty Images, for The New York Times
The TV personality on the pornification of cuisine, cooking as an act of self-reliance and why loving food isn’t enough to make you a star.

A few ideas on where to hang out during the waning days of summer.

The Ethicists

Illustration by La Tigre

Can I Lie to My Father About Being Gay So He Will Pay for My College Education?

The ethicists consider whether a son’s need for financial support justifies concealing his sexual orientation.

On Clothing

Photo illustration by Mauricio Alejo

Is the Blue-Collar Shirt Still Blue Collar?

As the chambray shirt has evolved into a staple of casual style, its workingman’s identity has become a slippery social construct.

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