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Yemeni fishermen in the Gulf of Aden

THE MENU ON THE LEFT is an archive of Mike’s reporting and criticism. He was a 2006-2007 Fulbright fellow in Berlin, where he edits and writes for Spiegel Online. His travel book Sweetness and Blood, about the spread of surfing to odd corners of the world, was named a book of the year by The Economist in 2010.

He’s also written a novel about L.A., Too Much of Nothing, and a documentary film about honor killings. He wrote the European Dispatch column for Pacific Standard and he’s written about politics, travel, and books for The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Der Spiegel, Atlas Obscura, The L.A. Review of Books, and the Los Angeles Times

In early 2012 he was kidnapped by pirates in Somalia and held hostage for two and a half years. He’s still adjusting to freedom.