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MinnPost Picks: on why Putin has already lost, an epic con and a sunken gold ship’s real treasure

Our weekly roundup of recommended reading, listening or viewing by MinnPost’s staff and contributing journalists.

A protest sign with a depiction of Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen placed on railings outside of the Russian Embassy in London.
A protest sign with a depiction of Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen placed on railings outside of the Russian Embassy in London.
REUTERS/Toby Melville

Why Vladimir Putin has already lost this war, The Guardian

Tanner CurlAgainst the odds, Ukraine has managed to stymie Russia’s invasion so far, but given the overwhelming military firepower at Vladimir Putin’s disposal, it seems likely that Russia will become, in some form, an occupying force. But Yuval Noah Harari argues in The Guardian that the Russians will have a hard time holding the country: “Nations are ultimately built on stories. Each passing day adds more stories that Ukrainians will tell not only in the dark days ahead, but in the decades and generations to come. In the long run, these stories count for more than tanks.”
—Tanner Curl, executive director

Inventing Anna, Netflix

In the wrong hands the story of Anna Sorokin would be a cheesy waste of a couple hours … somewhat entertaining, but you’d feel cheated that you just wasted the one commodity you can’t get back; time. But in the right hands … in the hands of master storyteller Shonda Rhimes … the story is a nine-episode binge-worthy gem. Inventing Anna is the close-to-life fictional tale of Sorokin, known to those in New York high society as Anna Delvey, a filthy rich German heiress. The problem (or genius) is, it was all a con. Sorokin, a highly ambitious 20-something, conned her way to the top at almost breakneck speed, fleecing banks, hotels, resorts, you name it. The woman conned her way onto a private jet. What makes the story sing is the portrayal of Sorokin, played by Julia Garner. Yes, that Julia Garner … Ruth from Ozark. That alone makes it worth tuning into the Netflix series.
—Harry Colbert, managing editor

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Doomed ship of gold’s ghostly picture gallery is plucked from the seabed, The Guardian

The S.S. Central America, carrying California gold-rushers and their profits, sank in 1857 off the coast of South Carolina in a hurricane. Numerous expeditions have recovered millions of dollars of nuggets, ingots and coins, but another treasure among the wreckage has been discovered: an astonishing collection of 19th-century glass plate photographs of the miners, merchants and their families that somehow survived at the bottom of the Atlantic.
—Corey Anderson, creative director

J. Kenji López-Alt Says You’re Cooking Just Fine, The New Yorker

I’ve been a fan (but hopefully not a fanboy) of J. Kenji López-Alt since his Cook’s Illustrated days. He’s been a reliable source of thoughtful cooking information — not just how to make something but why you should do it that way, and what to change if you want a different result. As is abundantly clear from this interview with the New Yorker’s Helen Rosner, López-Alt brings that same thoughtfulness to other aspects of life, and his reflections on having a platform, fatherhood and not being an asshole really spoke to me.
—Tom Nehil, news editor