"The Passion of Joshcka Fischer" by Paul Berman. Intellectual history can be thrilling! Paul is the heir to Edmund Wilson, another alum on the magazine. And this is the piece that unlocks the politics of the late twentieth century.
"The Choke Artist" by Jason Zengerle. This is a baroque story about America's most famous doctor that keeps twisting and twisting. Bizarre and completely gripping.
"Pin Prick" by Ryan Lizza. Ryan essentially destroyed George Allen's political career with this piece. It's the perfect marriage of narrative and investigative journalism.
"Hitler is Dead" by Leon Wieseltier. Leon's definitive piece on--what else?--the Jewish Question. One of those pieces that ends in an argument.
"Irrational Exuberance" by Jonathan Cohn. Health care is the subject most people associate with me and, without question, it's my coverage of health care for TNR that makes me most proud. But if I had to pick out one article that I remember most fondly, it's an article on something entirely different: Political science. I had majored in political science in college and had kept up with it after graduation. But it seemed less and less relevant to the work I did as a journalist covering policy and politics. And one reason was the rise, within the profession, of rational choice--a method of scholarship that took the "science" in political science very seriously, to the point of ignoring real-world application. My article, the product of many months' reporting, told the story of that transformation and its effect on the discipline. It turned out to be a surprisingly compelling narrative, full of interesting characters. (Stanley Hoffman's quip about the study of noodles remains one of my all-time favorite quotes.) And it had many layers of complication. As I discovered, and reported, the field was clearly richer for the presence of rational choice. There was more value to rational choice than many critics acknowledged. The problem was that rational choice was dominating scholarship, crowding out other methods of inquiry.
"The Griz" by Michael Lewis.