Each year an estimated 300,000 smugglers, known as ‘kolbars,’ haul millions of pounds of contraband from Iraq to Iran over the 14,000-foot peaks of the Zagros Mountains. More than 50 of them will die—shot dead, killed in accidents, or freezing to death—and countless more will be arrested and imprisoned. Alex Perry travels to Iraqi Kurdistan to investigate the roots of a trade that all but defies comprehension.
When Konstantin Grigorishin—über-wealthy Ukrainian businessman, aspiring philosopher, former pal of Russian oligarchs—introduced the upstart International Swimming League in 2019, he made the first move in an ambitious plan that could blow up Olympic sports and usher in a new era of athlete fairness. He also commenced a game of chicken with some of the world’s most powerful and dangerous men, including Vladimir Putin. And he just might win.
Last December, around 100 tourists set out for New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, where an active volcano has attracted hundreds of thousands of vacationers since the early 1990s. It was supposed to be a routine six-hour tour, including the highlight: a quick hike into the island's otherworldly caldera. Then the volcano exploded. What happened next reveals troubling questions about the risks we're willing to take when lives hang in the balance.
In the fall of 2018, the 26-year-old American missionary traveled to a remote speck of sand and jungle in the Indian Ocean, attempting to convert one of the planet's last uncontacted tribes to Christianity. The islanders killed him, and Chau was pilloried around the world as a deluded Christian supremacist who deserved to die. Alex Perry pieces together the life and death of a young adventurer driven to extremes by unshakable faith.