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.
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There’s a museum in Baltimore that was created to memorialize the black experience in America. It’s called The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum.
Paul Zimmer is eighty-three years old now, and he’s still haunted by something he saw in his teens. Something very few Americans have ever seen: The explosion of an atomic bomb.
Comedian and actor Azie Dungey recounts her time playing a slave for visiting tourists at George Washington’s estate in Mount Vernon.
Ira talks to producer Elna Baker about Stede Bonnet, a nobleman who woke up one day and decided that his new life goal was to become a pirate. You can read the trials of Stede Bonnet online.
Producer Stephanie Foo talks to author and pirate historian Laura Sook Duncombe about the most successful pirate of all time, Cheng I Sao.
Ira explains how at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the men with their finger to the button called their loved ones for what was potentially the last time.
Ira talks to producer Nancy Updike and reporter Dan Ephron, about their interview with the accomplice, Hagai Amir, who showed them the house where he and his brother plotted the murder and the shed where he machined special bullets.
Updike and Ephron reconstruct the night of the murder, with Ephron describing what he recalls (he reported from Israel at the time and covered the rally where Rabin was assassinated). A police investigator talks about interrogating Amir in the hours after the assassination.
Ephron takes the shirt Rabin was wearing on the night of the assassination from Israel to the U.S. to have it examined by a gunshot expert. A right-wing activist describes what the assassination meant to her and her settler movement -- a political victory.
Erik Larson has read lots of captain’s logs while researching big historical events. When he found the log of Captain Walther Schwieger, the guy who headed the U-boat that sank the Lusitania, he knew something didn’t sound right.
PJ Vogt’s friend plays a trick on some girl scouts. The trick doesn’t work.
We bring you this very matter-of-fact article from 1853, about something profoundly troubling: a slave auction in Virginia.
Actress Sue Scott reads a short story by Etgar Keret. Etgar's newest book is a memoir called The Seven Good Years.
Ira talks to John Biewen about how remarkable it is that he could grow up in a town and never learn about the most significant event in its history. This show about Native Americans and settlers was first broadcast on Thanksgiving weekend, on the 150th anniversary of the war.
John meets up with Gwen Westerman, a Dakota woman who moved to Mankato twenty years ago, also having no idea about its history. Together they travel to historic sites across Minnesota, reconstructing the story of what led to the war between the Dakota and the settlers.
John continues the story of the Dakota War of 1862, and how it resulted in the expulsion of the Dakota people from the state of Minnesota. Then John goes back to his hometown to see how this history is being taught today.
Host Ira Glass speaks with Jim McManus, whose book Positively Fifth Street inspired Ira to start playing poker. Jim talks about holding and folding, why a poker novice is sometimes the toughest player to beat...and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Allison Silverman reports on This Is Your Life, a show from the 1950s where unsuspecting—and often famous—audience members would have their biographies created on the spot for 40 million viewers. But is that really a present you'd want to receive? Allison is an Emmy Award-winning writer who has worked on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Reporter Starlee Kine observes what would have happened if the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada in 1983 had been decided not by Ronald Reagan, but by a bunch of middle schoolers...and she remembers a class trip to the Nixon library, where Nixon aide HR Haldeman spoke.
Ira Glass speaks with several members of the Planet Money team, who all found themselves—in the course of their reporting—independently asking the same stoner-ish question: What is money? Ira and Planet Money producer Jacob Goldstein discuss a pre-industrial society on the island of Yap that used giant stones as currency. The book that Jacob read about Yap is called The Island of Stone Money.
Chuck Salter, son of Georgia Rambler Charles Salter, Sr., visits a man named Windell Cleveland, who was interviewed by his father 33 years ago. Chuck is a senior writer at Fast Company Magazine.
The Erie Canal.
Fred van Doorninck and George Bass were unlikely candidates for pioneering underwater Byzantine archaeology—Fred hates water, and George found the Byzantine era boring. But that's exactly what they did, when they devoted 50 years to uncovering the mysteries of a shipwreck.