“America Is Bull,” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, Esquire, January 1999
What’s it like to be an American bull rider? In this absorbing piece, Laskas takes us behind the scenes, capturing the voice of 22-year-old Billy, a young man who’s at his best when he’s at a rodeo.
“Underworld,” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, GQ, May 2007
“It was tough getting used to identifying people, in the darkness, just as feet, shoulders, chin, teeth.” Laskas is so, so talented at putting you right in the middle of a situation while capturing the specific regional voice of people, and in this piece, she takes you into the earth’s core, feeling exactly what it’s like to work in a coal mine.
“Guns R’ Us: Buying Guns in America,” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, GQ, September 2012
This story starts from the question of how do you buy a gun in America? Laskas clerks at a gun store in Arizona to spend some time right in the middle of America’s gun culture — where it is terrifyingly easy to buy a gun.
“Game Brain: Football Players and Concussions,” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, GQ, October 2009
Nowadays, we have lots of reasons to be against football, but Laskas was ahead of the curve, writing a fascinating epic about one neuroscientist, his discoveries regarding a dead football player’s brain, and the reverberations those discoveries would have in the league.
“The Dark Side of the Moon,” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, GQ, January 2015
Laskas is wonderful at profiling famous figures (including a delightful profile of Joe Biden), and in this lengthy work on the after life of the first man on the moon, she pivots between “the melancholy of all things done” and how that shows in Aldrin’s life and the waxing and waning of spaceflight’s role in American culture.