337: Man vs. History
Jul 27, 2007
Stories about people taking history into their own hands. We hear from two men in two different wars. One is trying to make a difference in the current war in Iraq. The other is with the CIA at the very end of the Cold War.
- Dal LaMagna made a fortune selling high-quality grooming products. And after retiring, he wanted to do some good in the world. His plan: Curb the violence in Iraq. He thought he could get the Sunni resistance to sit down with Coalition forces to negotiate a cease-fire. So he hooked up with a member of the Iraqi parliament named Mohammed Al-Dynee and headed to Baghdad and Amman, where, remarkably, doors opened to him.
This American Life gave Dal an audio recorder to carry into his meetings, and he recorded 25 hours of his remarkable journey through the Middle East as a would-be citizen-diplomat. Producer Sarah Koenig sifted through the 25 hours, talked to Dal about what happened, and put together this story. (22 minutes)
Dal also ran for President.Song: "Overture from The Man of La Mancha", Original Broadway Cast Recording (1965)
- Arthur Phillips reads an abridged version of his short story "Wenceslas Square," which takes place in Czechoslovakia at the end of the Cold War. (31 minutes)
This story was first published in a collection of essays and fiction called Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier. Arthur Phillips's new novel is called Angelica.
Dal LaMagna, aka Tweezerman (left), with Mohammed Al-Dynee. They're at Dal's bungalow on Long Island, New York.