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Sarah Vowell

Sarah's the author of several books and has a great, classic radio voice that sounds like no one else. Some of her most popular stories are in these episodes: 81, 104, 107, 118, 151.
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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 Three: French Kiss

This American Life contributing editor Sarah Vowell tells the story of General Lafayette's triumphant reunion with America after becoming really, really unpopular in his native France. Sarah is the author of Take the Cannoli: Stories from the New World, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, and, most recently, Assassination Vacation.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks about the surprising way apologies tend to play out in couples when one person has cheated on the other, based on stories his mother, Dr. Shirley Glass, told in her book Not Just Friends. And contributing editor Sarah Vowell tells us about the time she couldn't stop apologizing.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass reminds the audience about the old TV series MacGyver, about the guy who stops bad guys without a gun. He uses science and sheer ingenuity to invent solutions.

Act Three: Reruns At The Back Of The Bus

Sarah Vowell identifies a phenomenon that's sort of a cultural rerun. It's an analogy that gets made over and over in different situations: people who often are not black, or women, or in any way involved with civil rights, comparing themselves to Rosa Parks.

Act One: Eliminate The Middleman

Here in America, here's how we interact with our political candidates: We dispatch middlemen to the scene, they listen to what the candidates say, they research the candidates' backgrounds, and they tell us what they think is most important. Those middlemen, of course, are journalists.

Act One: Sleepless In Seattle

What if you asked people for advice and actually took all the advice that everyone gave you? As an experiment, writer Sarah Vowell tried exactly that, when she recently solicited advice from many different people about insomnia.

Act One: History

Sarah Vowell has a theory that you can tell the entire history of the United States by standing on one street corner—specifically at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive in Chicago—and describing all the events that happened within eyeshot of the corner. She covers three centuries of history, from Louis Joliet to Keanu Reeves.
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