The Best New Yorker Articles Of All Time

The New Yorker has published countless memorable articles over the decades that dive deep into topics ranging from politics to culture to science. For readers looking to immerse themselves in some of the best writing the magazine has to offer, we’ve compiled this list of the top New Yorker articles of all time.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the best New Yorker articles provide insightful, in-depth reporting on important issues and events, showcase top-notch writing and storytelling, and have had a significant impact on society and the magazine itself.

In this comprehensive guide, we will highlight the New Yorker’s most groundbreaking, thought-provoking and critically acclaimed stories and feature articles. We have selected pieces covering major news events, fascinating profiles of public figures, investigative exposés that sparked change, and more. For each article, we will summarize its key points, discuss its significance and impact, and explain why it stands out as one of the best pieces published in the New Yorker’s nearly 100-year history.

Articles Covering Major News Events

Hiroshima by John Hersey (1946)

One of the most influential and widely-read articles in the history of journalism, John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” is a powerful and emotional account of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II.

Published in The New Yorker in 1946, the article provides a vivid and haunting description of the immediate aftermath of the bombing, as experienced by six survivors. Hersey’s meticulous reporting and compassionate storytelling shed light on the human suffering caused by the use of nuclear weapons, and helped to raise awareness of the devastating consequences of war.

The Coming Storm by Jane Mayer (2016)

In 2016, Jane Mayer’s article “The Coming Storm” delved into the rise of Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate. Mayer’s in-depth analysis explored the factors that contributed to Trump’s surprising success, including his ability to tap into the frustrations of middle-class Americans and his unorthodox campaign strategies.

The article provided valuable insights into the changing landscape of American politics and the influence of populist sentiments on the electoral process. Mayer’s thorough research and engaging writing style made “The Coming Storm” a thought-provoking read for anyone interested in understanding the dynamics of contemporary American politics.

Fascinating Personality Profiles

Frank Sinatra Has a Cold by Gay Talese (1966)

One of the most iconic and widely celebrated articles in The New Yorker’s history is “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” by Gay Talese. Published in 1966, this profile delves into the life and persona of Frank Sinatra during a period when he had a severe cold and was unable to perform.

Talese’s meticulous attention to detail and his ability to capture the essence of Sinatra’s personality make this article a must-read for any fan of the legendary singer.

Talese’s article takes readers behind the scenes of Sinatra’s glamorous and often tumultuous life, providing a unique perspective on the man behind the music. Through interviews with Sinatra’s friends, associates, and even the singer himself, Talese paints a vivid picture of Sinatra’s complex personality.

From his charm and magnetism to his temper and vulnerability, the article captures the many facets of this larger-than-life figure.

The article’s enduring popularity can be attributed to Talese’s masterful storytelling and his ability to draw readers into Sinatra’s world. By focusing on a seemingly mundane aspect of Sinatra’s life, such as having a cold, Talese manages to reveal deeper insights into the singer’s character and the challenges he faced.

This article is a testament to the power of well-crafted, in-depth profiles that go beyond surface-level observations to provide a truly captivating reading experience.

The Man Who Knew Too Much by Malcolm Gladwell (2006)

In 2006, The New Yorker published “The Man Who Knew Too Much” by Malcolm Gladwell, a profile that explores the extraordinary abilities of psychopath Joel Iacoomes. This thought-provoking article delves into the mind of a man with an uncanny knack for recognizing faces, even after brief encounters.

Gladwell’s engaging storytelling and his examination of the science behind Iacoomes’ abilities make this profile a truly fascinating read.

Gladwell introduces readers to Iacoomes, a man who possesses an exceptional memory for faces. Through interviews with Iacoomes himself and experts in the field, Gladwell explains how this unique ability is rooted in the brain’s facial recognition system.

He explores the implications of Iacoomes’ talent, touching on topics such as eyewitness testimony and the reliability of memory.

What makes this article particularly compelling is Gladwell’s ability to blend personal anecdotes with scientific research. He presents Iacoomes’ story in a way that is accessible and relatable, making readers question their own perceptions and understanding of memory.

By shining a light on this extraordinary individual, Gladwell prompts us to consider the limits of our own abilities and the mysteries of the human mind.

For those interested in the intersection of psychology and human behavior, “The Man Who Knew Too Much” offers a captivating exploration of an exceptional personality. Gladwell’s ability to weave together personal narratives and scientific insights makes this article a standout piece in The New Yorker’s extensive collection of profiles.

Groundbreaking Investigative Journalism

The New Yorker has a long-standing reputation for publishing groundbreaking investigative journalism that exposes hidden truths and sheds light on important issues. Over the years, the magazine has produced numerous articles that have had a significant impact on society and have set the standard for investigative reporting.

The CIA’s Secret Army by John Coatsworth (2005)

One of the most notable examples of groundbreaking investigative journalism in The New Yorker is John Coatsworth’s article “The CIA’s Secret Army,” published in 2005. In this piece, Coatsworth delves into the covert operations of the Central Intelligence Agency and uncovers the agency’s involvement in training and supporting paramilitary groups in Latin America.

Coatsworth’s article, based on extensive research and interviews with former CIA operatives, revealed the extent of the agency’s activities and shed light on the consequences of their actions. The article sparked widespread debate and prompted further investigation into the CIA’s covert operations.

How McKinsey Destroyed the Middle Class by Charles Duhigg (2021)

Another recent example of groundbreaking investigative journalism in The New Yorker is Charles Duhigg’s article “How McKinsey Destroyed the Middle Class,” published in 2021. In this thought-provoking piece, Duhigg explores the role of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company in shaping corporate America and its impact on the middle class.

Duhigg’s article investigates how McKinsey’s advice to corporations, such as cost-cutting measures and layoffs, has contributed to the decline of the middle class and the widening wealth gap. The article presents a compelling argument supported by in-depth research and interviews with current and former McKinsey employees.

Through his investigation, Duhigg uncovers the influence McKinsey has had on corporate decision-making and highlights the consequences of their strategies. The article has sparked important discussions about the role of consulting firms in shaping the economy and the need for greater accountability.

These groundbreaking articles exemplify the commitment of The New Yorker to producing high-quality investigative journalism that challenges the status quo and prompts meaningful conversation. The magazine continues to be a trusted source for in-depth reporting and thought-provoking analysis.


The New Yorker’s best articles exemplify excellence in journalism and storytelling. While it’s impossible to definitively rank the magazine’s top works, the pieces highlighted in this guide represent some of the most significant and impactful articles published in the New Yorker over the decades. From John Hersey’s seminal reporting in Hiroshima to more recent hard-hitting investigations, these stories inform, enlighten and inspire readers while showcasing the New Yorker’s role as a leading literary tastemaker and journalistic force.

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