The Best Men's Journal Stories of the Decade

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A lot can happen in a decade. As we enter the 2020s, it’s important to look back on the powerful stories that grabbed our attention and helped define the 2010s. There’s a lot to consider. Celebrated adventurers pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Everyday people working to make the world a little better. Themes as specific as first responder helicopter crashes and as universal as the bond between father and son—they’ve all found their way into the pages of Men’s Journal over the years.

It’s tough to choose favorites from 10 years of reporting, but our editors combed through the archives and unearthed these 14 outstanding pieces. Here are the best Men’s Journal stories from the past decade.

Olga Khrustaleva / Shutterstock

The Cult of Chris McCandless

Fifteen years after an enigmatic 24-year-old walked ‘Into the Wild,’ the site of his death has become a shrine. As Hollywood weighs in with a portrait of the young man as a saintlike visionary, has the truth been lost? Inside the strange life and tragic death of “Alexander Supertramp.”

Read the 2012 story by Matthew Power here.

steroids
Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock

Confessions of a Steroid Addict

For a long time, juicing was his elixir. It got him bigger. It got him stronger. It got him laid. But that was before it nearly got him killed.

Read the 2013 story by Paul Solotaroff here.

The Rodrick family in 1972
Courtesy Image

A Pilot’s Son, Flying Solo

As fathers go, Commander Peter Rodrick was a boyhood fantasy—dashing, decorated, able to land a jet on a tiny aircraft carrier flight deck. He was a masculine ideal no son could live up to—or live without.

Read the 2013 story by Stephen Rodrick here.

Peter Matthiessen
Ed Betz/AP / Shutterstock

Peter Matthiessen’s Many Lives

A final visit with one of America’s greatest writers.

Read the 2014 story by Mark Adams here.

Cody Dial halibut fishing in prince William Sound, Alaska.
Courtesy Roman Dial

Lost in the Jungle: The Search for Cody Dial

When a college student disappeared in Costa Rica, his father—legendary Alaskan adventurer Roman Dial—went searching in Central America’s deadliest wilderness. He’s still looking.

Read the 2015 story by Damon Tabor here.

Dean Potter crossing a slackline across the Enshi Grand Canyon in 2012
Quirky China / Shutterstock

The Last Flight of Dean Potter

Pioneering climber and BASE-jumper Dean Potter defied convention to his last day.

Read the 2015 story by Daniel Duane here.

black rhino

One Man’s Plan to Save Africa’s Black Rhinos

Years of poaching have pushed Africa’s Black rhinos to the edge of extinction. A determined conservationist aims to reverse that—one 3,000-pound airmail delivery at a time.

Read the 2015 story by Mark Adams here.

Barry Switzer with his Oklahoma Sooners after their victory over Penn State in 1986
Mark Foley/AP / Shutterstock

Barry Switzer Laughs Last

He was the anti-Paterno, a hands-off, hard-partying coach who won games and drove his rivals nuts. These days, college football’s legendary bad boy is retired at The University of Oklahoma—and still the biggest man on campus.

Read the 2015 story by Pat Jordan here.

Riding through the colonial city of Trinidad.

Cuba at 4,000 Revolutions per Minute

One man, two wheels, and 2,500 miles of gringo-free countryside.

Read the 2016 story by Josh Eells here.

baseball

A Front-Row Seat to the Most Hedonistic, Destructive Party in Sports History

For five seasons, one young beat reporter had a front-row seat at the most hedonistic, destructive party in sports history. Those were the days.

Read the 2016 story by Paul Solotaroff here.

fentanyl
Benjamin Lowy

Fighting the Rise of Fentanyl, America’s Deadliest Drug

How one New Hampshire cop is fighting the deadly flood of Fentanyl—the cheap, synthetic opioid 40 times stronger than heroin.

Read the 2017 story by Paul Solotaroff here.

John Arthur photographed by Joe Pugliese for the July 2018 issue of Men's Journal.
Joe Pugliese

The Legend of John Arthur, the Toughest Man in America

Legendary boxing trainer John Arthur has been shot, stabbed, and fought in mob-run deathmatches. He’s arrested and killed some of America’s worst criminals as an undercover agent. And now he’s finally coming clean.

Read the 2018 story by Stayton Bonner here.

A 2019 helicopter crash in Texas is still under investigation
Sgt Erik Burse/AP / Shutterstock

Why Helicopter Crashes Are Deadly: A Call for Tighter Safety Regulations

Emergency helicopter crews race crash victims to the E.R. and pluck adventurers from remote mountaintops. But the most dangerous part of the job may be the choppers themselves.

Read the 2018 story by Devon O’Neil here.

A home buried in coal ash following the 2008 Kingston Fossil Plant spill.
AP PHOTO/Knoxville News Sentinel, J. Miles Carey

A Lawyer, 40 Dead Americans, and a Billion Gallons of Coal Sludge

The 2008 Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash disaster has killed scores of people and made hundreds ill—and attorney Jim Scott wants TVA to pay.

Read the 2019 story by J.R. Sullivan here.


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