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.
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.