Reviews For Harper's Magazine

Worth your consideration

Harper's, like the Atlantic and The New Yorker is written for those looking for more in-depth analysis and coverage on political and cultural affairs with a sampling of serious literary prose. Personally I prefer the Atlantic, which I read regularly, only picking up Harper's when I have time and something in it interests me, which is usually two or three times a year.

Just looking at the cover and pages inside convey Harper's as a serious tome, perhaps too serious for the casual reader, especially compared to the more colorful pages of the Atlantic and playful New Yorker cartoons. Nevertheless, Harper's is an American icon in it's genre having published many articles from great names since it's inception in 1850.

A number of reviewers complain about it being left leaning and that stance clearly sprouts from the now recently departed editor Lewis Lapham, who has been an outspoken critic of the current administration. Mr. Lapham shares his views in a two page opinion piece and in the full page listing of various "fun facts" known as the Harper's Index. Serious readers will be able to get beyond this as simply a "viewpoint" and see the entire magazine for the serious writing that it is. I would contend this represents the best in "critical analysis" rather than bias. I would also simply suggest you view the other reviews made by people espousing this periodical as overly biased. For instance, at least one of those claiming liberal bias here is also praising an Ann Coulter book.

So if you feel underwhelmed by the typical content you get even in a 60 minute broadcast or a political round table free-for-all and you're interested enough in this magazine to read it's reviews, you should probably pick up a copy of it for two or three months and give it a try. I recommend you also check out The New Yorker and the Atlantic to compare.

Probably the best available. Powerfully recommended.

I've been subscribing to Harper's for years. In fact, I started after reading editor Lewis Lapham's "Money and Class in America: Notes and Observations on our Civil Religion" and at least one other book, a collection of his essays.

First, Lapham's "column" at the beginning of each issue I cannot recommend enough. In the case of the recent Iraq war, for example, Mr. Lapham had the guts to stand up against it. And he did so in an eloquent and erudite way, less volatile than any stand I was able to publicly make.

The rest of the content is the best I've ever read in an American periodical. For those who refer to Harper's as "leftist," I'm forced to disagree. There have been articles that are not remotely "leftist," with some of which I happen to agree. But most would consider most of the material "liberal."

(While I'm not much of a short story reader, those who read them in this magazine say they're the best.)

Thanks so much, Mr. Lapham, for your erudite commentaries on Iraq, on George W., on 9/11, and on countless other subjects. I look forward to each issue.

read harpers to open your mind

read harpers to sidestep the pointless left/right debate
read harpers and learn how to think multi-dimensional
(i guess harpers looks left-leaning to those who think fox news
is balanced and fair)
ive been a reader for decades...i didnt know it was liberal

The 'Literate Liberal' Magazine

Harper's Magazine is in a sense a unique medium. It is a place where literate authors share their viewpoints through essays, memoirs and short stories. It's extraordinary in that although its periodicals may contradict each other, they are all well-written. The magazine deals primarily with politics and its content is typically liberal. If you're up for the challenge, you'll find it educational and enjoyable to read!


While reading Harper's one gets the feel that one is reading something historic. The articles feel timely but they don't try too hard to be "hip" or "cool" and they take their time to tell a story. Each piece feels "right" whether or not one always agrees with the view of the writer. Exceptional writing and fun stalwarts such as Harper's Index and Notes make this magazine incredibly readable and enjoyable.

Excellent, Simply Excellent

If you only subscribe to one magazine, ever -- make it Harper's. The Index, Lewis Lapham and the fine group of editors and contributing writers are something I look forward to every month. I will always subscribe to Harper's -- regardless of what direction my political or philosophical views may take.

great magazine

I think Lewis Latham's "Notebook," which appears at the beginning of each issue is, all by itself, reason enough to subscribe to Harpers (and at this price, who can resist?). Like nearly everyone else, I like the Index but wish, like nearly everyone else, there was more in the magazine about the items themselves. Best of all, however, is "Readings," the snippets, essays, statements, photographs, poems, letters, dialogues, leaflets, very short stories and other reports about everything under the sun, that follow the index. Of course, each issue features longer essays, personal narratives and short stories that reflect our times, but I like the three sections at the beginning of the magazine the best and they are the reasons why I have been subscribing to this magazine for nearly 25 years.

Well written and interesting

I don't know how they do it, but Harper's always seems to present me with tidbits of information that I wouldn't have gotten anywhere else. It seems like they must have an army of people digging through documents to come up with some of their content. I generally read it cover to cover within a few days of getting it. I think it's great.

Top Notch!

Harper's is simply a joy to read. I look forward to each new issue. Harper's and Mother Jones are easily the most well written magazines available in the US. The New Yorker and The Economist (from a literary perspective) would probably tie for third. I would also agree with past reviews regarding the political slant (centrist).

Inexpensive, smart, and fun... now with less the guilt!

There are lots of good things to say about Harper's, but maybe the most compelling is this: it's as much fun to read as The New Yorker (the short pieces in Harper's are fully equal to the cartoons in The New Yorker), but induces barely one-quarter the guilt. A monthly magazine just can't pile up by your bed as quickly as a weekly can.

Subscribe because it's smart, fun, low-guilt, and inexpensive. At [a small amount] for a year's subscription, you really can't go wrong.