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

June 16, 2024 58 mins

Yousef is forced into a move he is not sure he can make.

  • 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 thisamerica...

Mark as Played

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...
Mark as Played
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...
Mark as Played
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...
Mark as Played
May 12, 2024 64 mins

For years, Majid believed that if he could testify in court about what happened to him when he was held in a CIA black site, a judge and jury would give him a break. Finally, he got a chance to see if he was right.

  • Prologue: Ira talks about the exciting new series that Serial is doing about Guantánamo Bay. We’re airing two of those episodes on the show – one this week and one next. (2 minutes)
  • Act One: Majid Khan struggled with ...
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April 7, 2024 59 mins

People taking it upon themselves to solve the tiny, overlooked crimes of the world.

  • Prologue: Host Ira Glass bikes around Manhattan with Gersh Kuntzman, in search of illegal license plates. (11 minutes)
  • Act One: Writer Michael Harriot reexamines the DIY criminal justice system his mom invented to deal with his bad behavior as a child. (20 minutes)
  • Act Two: Producer Aviva DeKornfeld talks to Caveh Zahedi about a crime he may or ma...
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March 24, 2024 60 mins

The things we break and the ones we can't fix.

  • Prologue: Ira tells the stories of three things that broke–two of them in his own family. (8 minutes)
  • Act One: A teenage whiz kid invents a new toy for Milton Bradley. Then the trouble starts. (28 minutes)
  • Act Two: Reporter Dana Ballout sifts through a very long list—the list of journalists killed in the Israel-Hamas War—and comes back with five small fragments of the lives of the pe...
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People waking up to the fact that the world has suddenly changed.

  • Prologue: Jackson Landers tells the story of a very strange decision he made one summer day. (6 minutes)
  • Act One: Elena Kostyuchenko tells the story of how she was probably poisoned after reporting on Russian’s invasion of Ukraine, and how she kept not believing it was happening. Bela Shayevich translated this story from Russian and reads it for us. (21 minutes)
  • Ac...
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March 3, 2024 66 mins

A series of phone calls to a man in Gaza named Yousef Hammash, between early December and now. He talks about what he and his family are experiencing, sometimes as they are experiencing it.

  • Act One: Over the course of one week in December, Yousef tries to get his sisters to safety, in Rafah. (29 minutes)
  • Act Two: Yousef is managing a camp of 60 people in Rafah, including his youngest sister, who is 8 months pregnant. Every day t...
Mark as Played
March 28, 2015 64 mins

Even when you're not trying to get one over on someone, it can be useful to keep the truth to yourself. Or conversely, to not know why people are lying to your face all the time. This week we'll tell you the whole truth about not telling the whole truth. Including the story of a guy who learned to lie for the first time in his life at age 29.

  • Ira talks with a guy in Chicago named Josh who likes to spend time going bird watching...
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