Welcome to another A2A Long Reads, a weekly roundup of the most in-depth and thought-provoking longform journalism pieces (according to me, of course). This week’s long reads are courtesy of POLITICO, FRONTLINE, The New York Times, Jezebel and The Washington Post.

“We’re the only plane in the sky”

On September 11, 2001, as two passenger airlines slammed into the World Trade Center, then-president George W. Bush sat in a Florida classroom surrounded by children. Over the course of the next eight hours, as America plunged into terror and despair, his whereabouts would be unknown to the entire world with the small exception of those who were with him. Told through their own words, this is the story of Air Force One’s journey during the country’s darkest hour.

Married young: The fight over child marriage in America

With no federal law governing the age of marriage in the U.S., the rules surrounding minimum marriage ages vary from state to state. This absence of federal governance has fuelled a controversial debate over child marriage in America. In a country that doesn’t allow minors to buy cigarettes, purchase alcohol or vote before the age of at least 18, why are they being allowed to marry?

From prison to Ph.D.: The redemption and rejection of Michelle Jones

Michelle Jones is a convicted murderer, found guilty in 1996 of killing her four-year-old son Brandon Sims. But while serving 20 years in prison, Jones became a published scholar of American history. Now released, she’s pursuing a Ph.D. in American studies and has been recruited by some of America’s top research schools. Though her dream was to pursue her education at Harvard, in a rare move the school’s top officials overturned her acceptance. This is the story of one woman’s road from ruin to redemption to rejection. (You can read a prelude to the full story here.)

The making and unmaking of Iggy Azalea

Hip Hop Is Run By a White, Blonde, Australian Woman. It was a 2014 Forbes headline and the woman in reference was Iggy Azalea, an up-and-coming Australian female rapper. But three years later her career, plagued by accusations of cultural appropriation, countless Twitter feuds and a string of unsuccessful singles, has largely flopped. What happened to this blonde rapper who once dreamed of being like 2Pac?

Children under fire

Not even children are spared the brutality of America’s gun violence problem. In 2015, on average 23 children were shot everyday, totalling more deaths than the number of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan this decade. This is four-year-old Carter’s story.

These are the week’s best long reads According to Adrienne. If you’ve got a piece you think I’d be interested in, send it to info@accordingtoadrienne.com.

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