Publications

Slate

Why do so many Greenlanders kill themselves?

NUUK, Greenland—The posters are plastered on school walls and at bus stops across Greenland's capital city. The message, aimed at teenagers, is a direct plea to use a special hot line: "The call is free. No one is alone. Don't be alone with your dark thoughts. Call."

If you know anything about Greenland, you know that it is the world's largest island. You know that it is the least densely populated country on the planet. You might even know that Richie Cunningham spent two seasons of Happy Days stationed here with the Army.

The Architect of 9/11

The photographs above correspond to Brook's three pieces published by Slate. The items labeled "Dispatch 1" are associated to his 9/08 piece, "Dispatch 2" to 9/09, and "Dispatch 3" to 9/10.

In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build the Ideal Islamic City

In 1994, Mohamed Atta traveled to Istanbul with a student group and continued onward to visit Dittmar Machule in northern Syria, where the professor was doing fieldwork on a Bronze Age village under excavation. But Atta found himself more interested in the traditional urbanism of the nearest major city, Aleppo. Atta was hardly the first student of Middle Eastern architecture drawn to Aleppo. Along with Fez in Morocco and Sana'a in Yemen, Aleppo is considered among the best-preserved cities in the Arab world.

Mohamed Atta Confronts the Historic Muslim Monuments and Modern High-Rises of Cairo

Mohamed Atta became an architect at Cairo University, in the city where he came of age. The Egyptian capital is a fascinating, albeit poorly maintained, open-air museum, spanning 5,000 years of architectural history. In its recent past—since Napoleon's 1798 invasion, in Egypt's near-geologic time frame—the city has lurched from Western model to Western model, trying in vain to reclaim its lost glory. In the Abdin neighborhood where Atta grew up, grand Parisian apartment buildings constructed in the 19th century now sit caked in dust, their windows shattered.

What Can We Learn About Mohamed Atta From His Work as a Student of Urban Planning?

A month after 9/11, Fouad Ajami wrote in the New York Times Magazine, "I almost know Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian [at] the controls of the jet that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center." While the Middle East scholar had never met the lead hijacker, Ajami knew his type: the young Arab male living abroad, tantalized by yet alienated from Western modernity, who retreats into fundamentalist piety.

Endangered in South Africa: Watching Wildlife With White People

At about 5:30 in the morning, I was idling at a stoplight and squinting to read the tiny print on my map when the white chap next to me rolled down the window of his beige Land Rover. Two Europeans were seated on the safari seats behind him with cameras already strapped to their necks. "Follow me!" he shouted.

"Going to—er—Pumbi?" I said, having no idea what the name meant much less which of the region's many tribal languages it came from: Xitsonga, siSwati, Sesotho, Tshivenda, isiZulu, Setswana …

Endangered in South Africa: Those Doggone Conservationists

When we first spotted Fender through the 8-foot-tall perimeter fence, I could see she was hobbling behind her two pals, Rory and Stellar. While most packs of African wild dogs consist of a dozen animals, the "diamond dogs" living on this DeBeers-owned reserve numbered just three.