Conventional wisdom is that people don’t read long magazine stories online, but Mother Jones readers regularly prove otherwise. Every time we run a compelling, multipage article on our website, we find that many of you read all the way to the end…and comment, tweet, Facebook, and Tumble enthusiastically about details deep into the story. And what better time to curl up with a great read than over the holidays (including you lucky ones with new iPad 2s)? Below, a selection of our (and our readers’) best-loved MoJo longreads from 2011. (Click here to see last year’s list)
The Spam Factory’s Dirty Secret
First, Hormel gutted the union. Then it sped up the line. And when the pig-brain machine made workers sick, they got canned.
By Ted Genoways
Why Screwing Unions Screws the Entire Middle Class
Plus: How much income have you given up for the top 1 percent?
By Kevin Drum
Aftershocks: Welcome to Haiti’s Reconstruction Hell
Dispatches from the tent cities, where rape gangs and disaster profiteers roam.
By Mac McClelland
The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots—or leading them?
By Trevor Aaronson
The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science
How our brains fool us on climate, creationism, and the vaccine-autism link.
By Chris Mooney
The Cruelest Show on Earth
Bullhooks. Whippings. Electric shocks. Three-day train rides without breaks. Our yearlong investigation rips the big top off how Ringling Bros. treats its elephants.
By Deborah Nelson
Climategate: What Really Happened?
How climate science became the target of “the best-funded, best-organized smear campaign by the wealthiest industry that the Earth has ever known.”
By Kate Sheppard
Horror Stories From Tough-Love Teen Homes
Girls locked up inside fundamentalist religious compounds. Kandahar? No, Missouri.
By Kathryn Joyce
My Summer at an Indian Call Center
Lessons learned: Americans are hotheads, Australians are drunks—and never say where you’re calling from.
By Andrew Marantz
Ohio’s War on the Middle Class
Wherein I go home, watch public servants get axed, visit the warehouse of unbearable sorrow, hang with jobless thirtysomethings living in abandoned homes, and consider whether my generation is screwed.
By Mac McClelland
Bonus longread from the archive:
Newt Gingrich: Shining Knight of the Post-Reagan Right
A must read for 2011: Mother Jones‘ epic 1984 profile of Newt Gingrich.
By David Osborne