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"I Was a Washington Post Reporter. And a Crack Addict."

In 1989, Ruben Castaneda was an ambitious young reporter at the Washington Post, covering the downfall of then-Mayor Marion Barry. And like Barry, Castaneda also had a double life.

PUBLISHED: June 30, 2014
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3963 words)

Longreads' Best of WordPress, Vol. 1

10 stories we love right now, featuring The Awl, Harper's, Grantland, the Washington Post, and more.
PUBLISHED: June 27, 2014

Love and War

A legendary Special Forces commander was quietly forced to leave the U.S. Army after he admitted to a love affair with a Washington Post war correspondent, who quit her job to secretly live with him for almost a year in one of the most dangerous combat outposts in Afghanistan.

Tyson knew most of the visiting VIPs well from her long stint at the Washington Post, a job she quit to join Gant and write the book, and said she had to keep her presence in Gant's combat "qalat" secret. News media "embeds" in Afghanistan with Special Operations forces rarely exceed a few days and she was not authorized by any task force to be in the Mangwel operation – much less for nine months.

"I stayed out of the picture," she said in the ABC News interview with Gant in Seattle. "We didn't want my presence there to be widely known, but at the same time a lot of people knew about it... I was glad for the opportunity to help the man I had fallen in love with, as well as to write about a potential solution to the incredible suffering I had witnessed over a decade almost."

PUBLISHED: June 24, 2014
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4286 words)

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our favorite stories of the week, featuring GQ, The Stranger, Missoula Independent, Washington Post, and Rolling Stone.
PUBLISHED: June 7, 2014

Opportunity's Knocks

The fastest growing job in America—working as a nurse aide—is also among the hardest. The reporter follows a single mother hoping to find a stable job and build a better life for her family:

"I'm getting desperate, to be honest," she told her classmates. "I need something good to happen. I'm hoping this might be it."

Her hope was placed in the fastest-growing job in America - cornerstone of the recovery, what government economists referred to as "the opportunity point" in the greatest economy in the world. It was changing bedpans, pushing wheelchairs, cleaning catheters and brushing teeth. Pay was just better than minimum wage. Burnout rates were among the highest of any career.

AUTHOR:Eli Saslow
PUBLISHED: May 31, 2014
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5646 words)

The Other Side of Deportation

An American struggles to prepare for life without her husband.

For the past five months, she had been documenting the gradual unraveling of their lives, in moments both mundane and monumental: the first visit to their home by immigration officers, the delivery of Zunaid’s deportation orders, his final trips to eat American ice cream and watch American basketball. Now only four days remained before he would be sent off to Bangladesh, a deportation that would upend not just one life but two. Zunaid would be forcibly separated from the United States after 20 years; his wife, an American citizen, would be forcibly separated from her husband.

AUTHOR:Eli Saslow
PUBLISHED: May 25, 2014
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2672 words)

Philip Welsh's Simple Life

He chose a low-tech, simple life. Now his lack of a digital footprint is hampering the search for his killer.

By 1 p.m., Philip would leave the small yellow house in Silver Spring where he lived alone. He walked a half-block, waited for the No. 5 bus, took it to his job as a taxi dispatcher, returned home, cooked a late dinner, watched Charlie Rose and went to sleep. He never locked his front door and often left it wide open. Part was defiance. This is how I live. Part was warmth. Anyone is welcome.

AUTHOR:Dan Morse
PUBLISHED: May 6, 2014
LENGTH: 7 minutes (1934 words)

'Ugh. I Miss It.'

Following one veteran's difficult transition from military to civilian life. Reported by Eli Saslow, a 2014 Pulitzer recipient, and part of a multi-part series "examining the effects of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars on the 2.6 million American troops who served and fought":

He had tried to replace the war by working construction, roughnecking in the oil fields and enrolling in community college. He had tried divorce and remarriage; alcohol and drugs; biker gangs and street racing; therapy appointments and trips to a shooting range for what he called “recoil therapy.” He had tried driving two hours to the hospital in Laramie, proclaiming himself in need of help and checking himself in.

On this day, he was on his way to try what he considered the most unlikely solution yet: a 9-to-5 office job as a case worker helping troubled veterans — even though he hated office work and had so far failed to help himself.

AUTHOR:Eli Saslow
PUBLISHED: April 19, 2014
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4890 words)

The 2014 Pulitzer Prize Winners: A Reading List

Story picks from this year's winners, including The Washington Post, Colorado Springs Gazette and more.
PUBLISHED: April 14, 2014