This American Life

This American Life

Each week we choose a theme. Then anything can happen. This American Life is true stories that unfold like little movies for radio. Personal stories with funny moments, big feelings, and surprising plot twists. Newsy stories that try to capture what it’s like to be alive right now. It’s the most popular weekly podcast in the world, and winner of the first ever Pulitzer Prize for a radio show or podcast. Hosted by Ira Glass and produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago.

Episodes

July 21, 2024 59 mins

People rethinking some of the most important relationships in their lives — with their sister, their political party, and the nominee for president.

  • Prologue: Ira observes that we are in a moment of national reconsideration. (2 minutes)
  • Act One: Zoe Chace reports on a surprising guest at the Republican National Convention: Teamsters president Sean O’Brien. (18 minutes)
  • Act Two: Ira talks to Representative Seth Moulton about what ...
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People ​so close to each other, ​in ​extremely intimate situations​,​ who are also a million miles apart.

  • Prologue: Valerie Kipnis tells Ira about riding the subway, shoulder-to-shoulder with someone she knows quite well, pretending she doesn’t see him. (8 minutes)
  • Act One: How much can you trust whether somebody who you think is close to you really is close to you? Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr.’s been thinking about that question sinc...
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July 7, 2024 60 mins

We head to some of the happiest places on earth: amusement parks! Ira Glass takes us behind the scenes at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, where the young staff – coached by a funny, fun-loving boss just a little older than they are – truly seem to love their jobs.  

  • Prologue: Host Ira Glass walks through a Kansas City Missouri amusement park called Worlds of Fun with Cole Lindbergh, who had a season pass to the park as a little k...
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June 30, 2024 61 mins

Boen Wang has a theory that a lot of the misery in his life can be traced to a single moment that happened years before he was born. So he makes a pilgrimage to see if he’s right.

  • Prologue: Ira talks about what it’s like to go back to 1119 Bayard Street in Baltimore. (6 minutes)
  • Part One: Boen visits Norman, Oklahoma, where he was born, to meet the man he thinks changed his parents’ lives—and his life, too. (31 minutes)
  • Part Two:...
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June 16, 2024 58 mins

In Rafah, Yousef is out of options and faces his toughest move yet.

  • Prologue: Since the beginning of the war in Gaza, Yousef Hammash has decided where to go next and when. In Rafah, he is out of options and faces his toughest move yet. (5 minutes)
  • Act One: Yousef does not even want to think about leaving Gaza. (18 minutes)
  • Act Two: The actual price — in cash — of getting out of Gaza. (31 minutes)

Transcripts are available at ...

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June 9, 2024 64 mins

Donald Trump has talked about taking retribution on his enemies since the early days of his 2024 presidential campaign. After his conviction last week in New York, his talk intensified. We try to understand what his retribution might look like by speaking with people who have the most to lose in a second Trump administration: people who believe Trump will be coming for them.

  • Prologue: Donald Trump has talked about taking reveng...
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June 2, 2024 64 mins

People tethered to one particular other person, whether they want to be or not.

  • Prologue: Guest host Emmanuel Dzotsi talks to Leroy Smith about how one high school basketball tryout forever changed Leroy’s relationship to a childhood friend. (7 minutes)
  • Act One: A man finds himself sucked into an intense head-to-head running competition against a perfect rival – all for free burritos from Chipotle. (18 minutes)
  • Act Two: Writer Si...
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May 26, 2024 62 mins

How they organize the chaos of the world, for good and for bad.

  • Prologue: Ira interviews David Wallechinsky, who wrote a wildly popular book in the 1970s called The Book of Lists, full of trivia and research, gathered into lists like "18 Brains" and "What They Weighed." The book sold millions of copies and had four sequels and a brief spin-off TV show. The list books were like the internet, before the internet. (12 minutes)
  • Act ...
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May 19, 2024 62 mins

The trial for the men accused of orchestrating the September 11 terrorist attacks still hasn’t started yet. Family members of those who died that day are still hoping for some kind of accountability, more than 22 years later. This week, the story of how one victim’s sister is navigating this historic and twisted trial.

  • Prologue: Host Ira Glass introduces the new series that Serial is doing about Guantánamo Bay. This is the seco...
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