The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell deeply reported stories about the ideas and characters that animate America’s government. For fifty years, we’ve hired plucky young writers probe and explain the topics that are critical to our nation but seldom understood. To celebrate our fiftieth anniversary, twenty of our former writers and editors revisited one of their most important pieces. They looked back at stories that had an outsized impact on the world or on themselves; that presaged something big to come; or that were totally wrong in an interesting way. What you’ll find is a range of essays—from Nicholas Confessore on how Republicans came to own K Street to Amy Waldman on how home shopping channels helped birth Donald Trump. Together, they paint a five-decade long picture of power and politics in Washington.