George McGovern was U.S. Senator for South Dakota from 1962 to 1980. He won the nomination as his party's candidate for the presidency against incumbent President Richard Nixon. Following his defeat by Nixon, he served for six years as president of the Middle East Policy Council. He is the author of a dozen books and numerous published articles. He is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom-the nation's highest civilian award. Senator McGovern is represented in the anthology by his 1967 Atlantic essay, "America's Crisis Addiction," in which he argued that the country's tendency to embark on military interventions of dubious relevance to the national interest had detracted resources and attention from its own social problems -- a thesis that seems every bit as timely today as it was forty years ago.
James Q. Wilson is the author or co-author of fifteen books, the most recent of which is The Marriage Problem. Others include Moral Judgement; The Moral Sense; American Government; Bureaucracy; and Thinking About Crime. He is currently chairman of the Board of Academic Advisers of the American Enterprise Institute. In 2003, President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. He is currently the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University.
Robert Vare is the editor at large of The Atlantic Monthly. He is a former editor at The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times Magazine, where he edited the Pulitzer Prize-winning cover story "Grady's Gift," in 1991. In 2004, he was the editor of Things Worth Fighting For, a post-humously published collection of writings by Michael Kelly, the former Atlantic editor-in-chief who was killed while covering the war in Iraq. A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard, he has taught nonfiction writing at Yale and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.