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"Passing Through—60 Minutes in Foster City, Californioa," by Ajay Malghan


The staff of the Oxford American is delighted to welcome you to the new The website, built by Little Rock's Pixel Perfect Creative, has been reorganized for usability, and the design—created by OA art director Tom Martin—reflects our quarterly print edition.

Most notably, there is now a Magazine page devoted to showcasing our extensive archive. From this page, you may access every OA cover and table of contents (and many articles) dating back to the magazine’s founding in 1992.

If you’re new to the Oxford American, we suggest that you first subscribe to our print edition (a steal at $19.98). If you subscribe within the next week, your first issue will be our Texas Music issue, a 160-page wonder that comes with a 25-track CD.

And then we hope you’ll explore this website. A starting point might be the following essays, which were among the most-visited stories on our website in 2014. They are presented in no particular order and represent a mere fraction of the riches you'll find on this site.

 Sky Burial by Alex Mar
Published in Fall 2014

At the Forensic Anthropology Center at San Marcos University (FACTS)—the largest of America’s five body farms—people donate their bodies to be studied for the benefit of science. There, under the relentless Texas sun, human bodies decompose, and graduate students research human anatomy and the environmental impact on corpses. (Or as Mar writes: “the body farm at San Marcos is one of the only places in America where death is literally splayed out in front of us, laid bare in a field, undeniable.”)

No Twang of Conscience Whatever by Patsy Sims
Published in Fall 2014

In the summer of 1976, Patsy Sims traveled to Mississippi to interview Preacher Edgar Ray Killen about his role—then only suspected—as the organizer of the killing party of three civil rights workers (Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman). She believed him to be a leader of the White Knights of Mississippi, an especially virulent chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. During the interview they sat alone in a motel room in Meridian, Mississippi, and she asked him, point blank, if he’d ever killed anyone.

That Chop on the Upbeat by John Jeremiah Sullivan

Published in Winter 2013

“Maybe the least expected of the factors that went into making ska in those years, and the one many would argue that most nearly approached it in sound, leading most directly to its birth, came not from Jamaica at all, or even from the Caribbean, but from West Tennessee, and more specifically from South Memphis, and more specifically than that, from the band called the Beale Streeters, and most specifically of all from the right hand of their pianist and sometime singer-songwriter, a Memphis native named Rosco Gordon.”

Scout’s Honor by Rosecrans Baldwin
Published in Summer 2014

A former Eagle Scout attends the National Boy Scout Jamboree held at a brand-new, $100 million scouting wonderland in the mountains of West Virginia. “The boys were exhausted. They wanted a patch of shade, a Coke, an unopened can of peaches. Mostly they wanted to find a good deal in the makeshift souk.”

Dear Charlie by Joe Hagan

Published in Winter 2013

Hagan discovers a wonderful trove of letters: “Unread for nearly forty years, mixed in with yellowing newspaper clips and old drink coasters from a Las Vegas revue, they were the last known remnants of the Charlie Rich Fan Club. Variously handwritten, typed up, set on stationery and notebook paper, the stash contained the intimate pleas and declarations of fans who sought communion with the star known as ‘The Silver Fox.’”

Long Way Home by Rosanne Cash

Published in Winter 2013

“I’ve been a New Yorker for more than twenty years, but my memories of the South are potent,” Cash writes. “Some are truly mine, and some I have borrowed. These memories form a backdrop to a stand-up bass and an acoustic guitar, an image that evokes both the past and the future.”

Fog Count by Leslie Jamison

Published in Spring 2013

“Charlie is a cat of many lives: once-upon-a-time crack addict, father of two, professional repairer of hail damage, TV producer, motivational speaker, documentary-film star, and—for the past twenty years—one of the strongest ultra-distance runners in the world.”

Fire Behavior by Rachel Monroe

Published in Spring 2014

One of the few people willing to give interviews in the hours and days after the explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, was a young man named Bryce Reed. “He served as a volunteer firefighter and paramedic in West, which gave him the authority to speak from the very center of the tragedy. . . . After Bryce Reed was arrested, the same news programs that had featured him as a hero aired segments that showed him in a completely different light.”

Hail Dayton by Rachael Maddux

Published in Spring 2014

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, or maybe he didn’t, but either way vast ribbons of peat came to rest under what became the foothills of Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, and in time the peat became coal, and later the railroads arrived, along with mines and coke ovens, and near one lazy arc of the Tennessee River workers built homes to return to after their long days of burrowing and burning, and the homes became a town, and the town was called Dayton.”

"Passing Through—60 Minutes in Foster City, Californioa," by Ajay Malghan—pictured above—was published alongside Alex Mar's "Sky Burial" in our Fall 2014 issue.

Oxford American

From the editors of the Oxford American.