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Act Two: Wenceslas Square

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.

Act Three: The Homesick Explorer

This American Life contributor Sarah Vowell tells the story of a mapmaker named Charles Preuss who charted the Western Territories with two of American history's legendary explorers—John Charles Fremont and Kit Carson. The maps Preuss made were best sellers and helped open the Western frontier to settlement.

Act Two: Internet

In this show, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Ira and David Hauptschein explored this now utterly quaint question: Are people having experiences on the Internet they wouldn't have anywhere else? Several hundred listeners sent in samples of what they were finding on the Internet. A guy offers a girl a late-night tour of Microsoft...and this actually makes him seem hot.

Prologue

Every city's got a place like this: that weird no man's land on the outskirts of town, with junk yards and landfills. Charlie Gregerson grew up near that stuff, on Chicago's far south side, and he remembers finding debris from famous Louis Sullivan masterpieces in the garbage dump after those buildings were demolished.

Prologue

Erin Einhorn grew up begging her mother to tell her all about the remarkable story of how she survived World War Two, thanks to a Polish woman named Honorata Skowronski, who risked her life. But her mother didn't like to talk about it.

Act Two: Where's Walter?

Starlee Kine rents a room at a Ramada hotel in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where a ghost supposedly plays pranks on the guests and staff. The ghost's name is Walter, for Walter Schroeder, the guy who originally built the hotel in the 1920s.

Act Three: Giving Up The Ghosts

Writer Shalom Auslander reads his short story about how he decided to start forgetting the dead, even though his job required him to remember. Shalom's most recent book is Hope: A Tragedy.

Act One: Straight Eyes On The Quirin Guys

Chris Neary tells the story of how a bungled Nazi sabotage operation from the early days of World War II has become the legal foundation for the Bush administration's current push to try U.S. citizens in military tribunals. But when you return to the original facts of the case, it's not only unclear if they support current Administration policy, it's unclear if they support the Supreme Court's decision in the original case.

Prologue

Ira talks to historian Ted Widmer about two of the first pen pals in the New World. John Winthrop and Roger Williams were both Puritans in Massachusetts in the 1630s.

Act Five: What Peacetime Forgets About Wartime

A few years back, a writer named Lee Sandlin wrote a story for the weekly paper The Chicago Reader about what makes wartime different—how a country's perceptions and logic during war are fundamentally different than during peace. It was a massive historical article, exhaustively researched.

Act Six: Lessons From Ancient Wars

The story of a preventive act of war committed 3200 years ago, in the land that's now Turkey, not too far from Iraq. Seneca's The Trojan Woman takes place at the end of the Trojan war.

Act Two: God Shed His Grace On Thee

A fable of how America got its name, and how it was named after someone who was a fraud, but the kind of fraud people love, the kind of fraud who knows how to please a crowd. Jack Hitt tells the racy and little-known story of how Amerigo Vespucci got his name all over the map of the western hemisphere by telling lies about what he found there—the type of lies which can be found today in the pages of Penthouse magazine.

Act Two

Adam Beckman continues his story. He returns to the town in New Hampshire where he discovered the abandoned house as a kid and tries to find out what happened there.