What we’re reading

In possibly the most shocking web content of the week, The New York Times sought to answer how a middle-class, private-school-educated Egyptian boy ended up joining ISIS. The result: a nine-minute video entitled “Three Friends, One Jihadi.”

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The Atlantic also aimed to elucidate the disturbingly opaque terrorist group with “What ISIS Really Wants.” The piece posits that in order to stop ISIS, one must understand their motivations, desires and goals, no matter how abhorrent they may seem.

And then there’re the domestic battles: firstly, the origins, implications and stakes in the fight over the AP U.S. History curriculum in Oklahoma are clearly laid out in Politico‘s “AP U.S. History controversy becomes a debate on America.” Then, this week’s edition of racially coded comments about President Obama, brought to by Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani, who accused Obama last week of not loving America, has received his fair share of backlash, none better articulated than New York Magazine‘s “If Giuliani’s Obama Smear Wasn’t Racist, What Was It?”

In lighter news, Vanity Fair (as well as Lady Gaga) pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music with a delightful interview with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth writes about the importance of understanding religion in order to understand the humanities in “Religion’s Role in the History of Idea,” published in the Wall Street Journal. 

And Oliver Sacks’ “My Own Life” definitely takes the award for the most touching web content of the week. Sacks, who recently learned he has terminal cancer, eloquently ruminates on what it means to near death.

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