This American Life

By This American Life

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Subscribers: 54171
Reviews: 67

 Aug 19, 2020

 Jul 20, 2020
I can't do it anymore American Life. your stories are well done and extremely touching but they're always so sad and I find after listening to them at the end of the podcast the rest of my day is kind of bummed out. so it's not you it's me but I can't do it anymore thank you for all the episodes you've done you do great work

 Jul 20, 2020

 Jul 18, 2020

 Jun 15, 2020


This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. Another 2.5 million people download the weekly podcast. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media, delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards.

Episode Date
717: Audience of One
At a time when going to the movies is mostly out of the question, we bring the movies to you.
Sep 13, 2020
716: Trail of Tears
For the holiday weekend, a roadtrip through history. In this moment when Americans are tearing down monuments and rethinking how to address the shameful parts of America’s past, we return to a story from the early days of our radio show that took that on, in a vivid and complicated way. Sarah Vowell and her twin sister Amy headed out on the road to retrace the Trail of Tears – the route their Cherokee ancestors took when expelled from their own land – and reflected on the question, what are we supposed to do with the mix of good and bad that is this country?
Sep 06, 2020
715: Long-Awaited Asteroid Finally Hits Earth
Teachers, students and parents around the country have been bracing themselves all spring and summer long for the start of this unprecedented school year. This week, it's here.
Aug 30, 2020
577: Something Only I Can See
When you’re the only one who can see something, sometimes it feels like you’re in on a special secret. The hard part is getting anyone to believe your secret is real. This week, people trying to show others what they see—including a woman with muscular dystrophy who believes she has the same condition as an Olympic athlete.
Aug 23, 2020
714: Day at the Beach
It’s the last few weeks of summer, so we’re going to the beach! This week, stories from the surf and sand.
Aug 16, 2020
713: Made to Be Broken
From the moment we wake up in the morning there are a trillion rules — big and little — governing our lives. But sometimes, we encounter one we just can't abide by. In a pitched moment of rule-questioning, a show about rules and the people who break them. 
Aug 09, 2020
712: Nice White Parents
Years ago, producer Chana Joffe-Walt started reporting on one school in New York. She thought the story was about segregation and inequality in public schools. But the more she looked into it, the more she realized she was witnessing something else. She was seeing the inordinate power of white parents at this school. This is the first episode of Chana’s new mini-series: Nice White Parents. 
Aug 02, 2020
443: Amusement Park
This week, we celebrate pre-coronavirus summertime fun: at amusement parks! Ira Glass takes us behind the scenes at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, where the young staff – coached by a funny, fun-loving boss just a little older than they are – truly seem to love their jobs.  
Jul 26, 2020
711: How to Be Alone
In space, in the ocean, by ourselves, or with others—we’re all just figuring out how to be apart.
Jul 19, 2020
710: Umbrellas Down
As China's new national security law tightens its control over Hong Kong, we return to our episode about last fall's anti-government protests and check in to see how people are responding.
Jul 12, 2020
513: 129 Cars
We spend a month at a Jeep dealership on Long Island as they try to make their monthly sales goal: 129 cars. If they make it, they'll get a huge bonus from the manufacturer, possibly as high as $85,000 — enough to put them in the black for the month. If they don't make it, it'll be the second month in a row. So they pull out all the stops.
Jul 05, 2020
709: The Reprieve
The number of Covid-19 patients is dropping and Michigan has started opening up. But it’s still been intensely difficult for the staff in the ICU at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. We've embedded with them over the past few months, and tracked how this pandemic has changed them and their city.
Jun 28, 2020
684: Burn It Down
Stories of people who decide the only way forward — for real change — is to burn everything to the ground. We go to Amsterdam where the boss of the city’s fire department sets off a war with his own firefighters.
Jun 21, 2020
708: Here, Again
An exhaustingly familiar story. Maybe it’ll have a different ending this time, but maybe not. We hear what different people said and did one weekend in reaction to the killing of George Floyd.
Jun 14, 2020
707: We Are in the Future
In this moment of sorrow, protest, and rage in the wake of George Floyd’s death, we offer this as a break from the dreadful present: our show about Afrofuturism. It’s a way of looking at black culture that’s fantastic and hopeful, which feels especially urgent during a time without a lot of optimism. Featuring the song "The Deep" by clppng.
Jun 07, 2020
706: A Mess to Be Reckoned With
Lissa Yellow Bird searches for missing people. She's great at it. But then, her niece goes missing.
May 31, 2020
705: Time Out
While sports of all kinds have been put on pause, we bring you our favorite archive stories from the football fields, boxing rings, and basketball courts of days past. 
May 24, 2020
704: Our Pulitzer-Winning Episode
Last week, our episode "The Out Crowd" won the very first Pulitzer Prize ever awarded to a radio show. This is the episode that won, with some updates on the stories. Hear what the Trump administration’s "Remain in Mexico" policy actually means, on the ground, at the Mexican border.
May 17, 2020
703: Stuck!
During a time when a lot of us feel like we are living in a holding pattern, stories of people feeling stuck.
May 10, 2020
186: Prom
While the seniors danced at Prom Night 2001 in Hoisington, Kansas—a town of about 3,000—a tornado hit the town, destroying about a third of it. When they emerged from the dance, they discovered what had happened, and in the weeks that followed, they tried to explain to themselves why the tornado hit where it did. Plus other stories that happen on Prom Night.
May 03, 2020
702: One Last Thing Before I Go
Words can seem so puny and ineffective sometimes. On this show, we have stories in which ordinary people make last ditch efforts to get through to their loved ones, using a combination of small talk and not-so-small talk.
Apr 26, 2020
701: Black Box
Desperate to know what happened to his family, a man obsessively decodes the only information about them he can get. That, and other stories of people looking into the void for answers.
Apr 19, 2020
700: Embiggening
Sometimes a sketch of a thing needs filling in for its true significance to be known.
Apr 12, 2020
699: Fiasco!
Stories of when things go wrong. Really wrong. When you leave the normal realm of human error, fumble, mishap, and mistake and enter the territory of really huge breakdowns. Fiascos. Things go so awry that normal social order collapses.
Apr 05, 2020
698: The Test
The coronavirus has now fully arrived in the United States. This week, stories of people trying to rise to that challenge, in some pretty extreme situations.
Mar 29, 2020
697: Alone Together
This week, as the staff creates the episode from their apartments and houses, with our host in quarantine, in this moment when everyone’s reaching out to the people they love, we put together a collection of family stories, with some timely stuff at the top.
Mar 22, 2020
696: Low Hum of Menace
Things do not seem fine at all, but it’s hard to say why.
Mar 15, 2020
557: Birds & Bees
Some information is so big and so complicated that it seems impossible to talk to kids about. This week, stories about the vague and not-so-vague ways we teach children about race, death, and sex.
Mar 08, 2020
695: Everyone's a Critic
People squirming in a world where everything is rated and reviewed.
Mar 01, 2020
646: The Secret of My Death
Cryptic messages on a cell phone and a teeter totter at a construction site: these are clues people found, trying to make sense of a death.
Feb 23, 2020
694: Get Back to Where You Once Belonged
People looking everywhere to find a place—any place—where, for once, they don't have to be the odd man out.
Feb 16, 2020
693: Abdi the American
We return to our story about Abdi Nor from 2015, with some big news about his life today. When we first broadcast the story, Abdi was a Somali refugee living in Kenya desperately trying – against long odds – to get to the United States. Then he got the luckiest break of his life: he won a lottery that puts him on a short list for a U.S. visa. But before he could cash in his golden ticket, the police started raiding his neighborhood, targeting refugees.
Feb 09, 2020
692: The Show of Delights
In these dark, combative times, we attempt the most radical counterprogramming we could imagine: a show made up entirely of stories about delight.
Feb 02, 2020
640: Five Women
As Harvey Weinstein goes to trial, we have a different kind of #MeToo story about several women who worked for the same man. They tell us not only about their troubling encounters with him, but also about their lives beforehand. Who were they when they entered the workplace, and how did their personal histories shape the way they dealt with his harassment?
Jan 26, 2020
654: The Feather Heist
A flute player breaks into a British museum and makes off with a million dollars worth of dead birds. 
Jan 19, 2020
691: Gardens of Branching Paths
Stories of other universes that are just like our own, but with one small difference.
Jan 12, 2020
667: Wartime Radio
Intimate and personal dispatches from two very different battlefields: A small town in the Syrian war. And the U.S. opioid epidemic. Each came from a DIY radio outfit. (Okay, one’s a podcast.)
Jan 05, 2020
690: Too Close to Home
For the holidays, stories of families finally addressing the thorny thing they’ve never really talked about.
Dec 29, 2019
576: Say Yes To Christmas
No Christmas can ever be as good as the ones you had as a kid. But this week we go all in and bring the joy, the spontaneity, the sense that anything can happen back to Christmas. 
Dec 22, 2019
323: The Super
In 1980's New York City, rent is rising: it seems out of control, and residents struggle to keep up. So Jack Hitt helps organize tenants, and threatens a rent strike. This does not go over so well with his building super, who, as it turns out, is a very dangerous man. This and other stories of the mysterious hold supers have on their buildings, or their buildings have on them.
Dec 15, 2019
689: Digging Up the Bones
There's a lot that can be gained from unearthing the past -- learning about oneself, learning about others. But, it doesn't always go how you'd expect.
Dec 08, 2019
252: Poultry Slam 2003
During the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's - the highest turkey consumption period of the year - we bring you an annual This American Life tradition: stories of turkeys, chickens, geese, ducks, fowl of all kinds, real and imagined, and their mysterious hold over us. 
Dec 01, 2019
291: Reunited (And It Feels So Good)
Stories about getting back together with your parent, your spouse, your ... Brahman bull. And how it never goes the way you think it's going to.
Nov 24, 2019
688: The Out Crowd
Reports from the frontlines of the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" asylum policy. We hear from asylum seekers waiting across the border in Mexico, in a makeshift refugee camp,  and from the officers who sent them there to wait in the first place. 
Nov 17, 2019
687: Small Things Considered
Stories about being little. Secret writings in tiny letters. The power of a very small number. And one story from a not-so-tall writer. 
Nov 10, 2019
239: Lost in America
Stories of people who are lost, histories that are lost, and things that are lost. This show was recorded onstage in front of audiences on a five-city tour in May 2003. The cities: Boston, Washington DC, Portland Oregon, Denver and Chicago. Featuring house band OK Go.
Nov 03, 2019
319: And the Call Was Coming from the Basement
For the week leading up to Halloween, scary stories that are all true. Kidnappings, zombie raccoons, haunted houses—real haunted houses!—and things that go "EEEEK!!!" in the night. Plus a story by David Sedaris, in which he walks among the dead.
Oct 27, 2019
686: Umbrellas Up
For over 100 days now, protestors in Hong Kong have taken to the streets every weekend. What it’s like to live through that.
Oct 20, 2019
685: We Come From Small Places
The staff goes to one of the biggest parties in New York City, the Labor Day Carnival and the West Indian American Day Parade in Brooklyn.
Oct 13, 2019
581: Anatomy of Doubt
This week, a story about doubt: how it germinated, spread, and eventually took hold of an entire community, with terrible consequences. A collaboration with The Marshall Project and ProPublica.
Oct 06, 2019
683: Beer Summit
Two people, sitting down over a beer, hashing out their differences and understanding where the other guy is coming from. Hard to imagine these days, right? It's so rare right now that someone is curious enough to actually see the other person's point of view. This week on the show, beer summits. Including going behind the scenes of the most famous one ever.
Sep 22, 2019
477: Getting Away With It
Stories of people breaking the rules fully, completely and with no bad consequences. Some justify this by saying they’re doing it for others, or for a greater good. Some really don’t care. And, unlike the mealy weaklings you usually hear on this program: None of these wrongdoers seem regretful about what they’ve done in the slightest.
Sep 15, 2019
205: Plan B
There's the thing you plan to do, and then there's the thing you end up doing. Most of us start off our lives with some Plan A, which we abandon...switching to a Plan B, which becomes our life.
Sep 08, 2019
388: Rest Stop
Nine radio reporters. Two days. One rest stop on the New York State Thruway. Stories of people who are just passing through, and the ones who can’t leave, because this is where their jobs are.
Sep 01, 2019
682: Ten Sessions
What if someone told you about a type of therapy that could help you work through unhealed trauma in just ten sessions? Some people knock through it in two weeks. Jaime Lowe tried the therapy—and recorded it.
Aug 25, 2019
681: Escape From the Lab
What happens when our most ingenious creations actually make it out into the world.
Aug 18, 2019
409: Held Hostage
Stories of people held captive — by criminals, by paperwork, and in one man's case, his own body — and the ways they try to cope.
Aug 11, 2019
585: In Defense of Ignorance
Exactly how incompetent you are. What your ex’s best friend really thinks of you. The approximate time that you will die. Some things in life are better not to know about. And sometimes there can be a benefit to not knowing. In this episode — examples of ignorance truly being bliss, or even being an asset.
Aug 04, 2019
680: The Weight Of Words
Words mean things, but some words are especially meaningful — whether in a survival manual, a song lyric, or a slur.
Jul 28, 2019
165: Americans In Paris
Many Americans have dreamy and romantic ideas about Paris, notions which probably trace back to the 1920s vision of Paris created by the expatriate Americans there. But what's it actually like in Paris if you're an American, without rose-colored glasses?
Jul 21, 2019
679: Save the Girl
People go on missions to save young girls from danger. But sometimes they get so caught up in the mission that it overshadows the girl herself.
Jul 14, 2019
678: The Wannabes
This country is crawling in presidential candidates right now and they're bumping into each other in Des Moines and yelling over each other in Miami. We hang out with them, in this weird early period of the election when they're easy to walk right up to.
Jul 07, 2019
354: Mistakes Were Made
It’s the late 1960s, and a California TV repairman named Bob sees an opportunity to help people cheat death with the new science of cryonics. But freezing dead people isn’t easy. And apologizing for the mistakes you make along the way? Even harder.
Jun 30, 2019
644: Random Acts of History
Stories about people who accidentally bump into unsettling facts of history in settings meant to teach them history. What they end up learning is very different from what they’re supposed to.
Jun 23, 2019
677: Seeing Yourself In the Wild
Stories of those unexpected moments when we see who we really are.
Jun 16, 2019
647: LaDonna
A security guard at the airport notices something going wrong on the tarmac, and takes it upon herself to fix it. It’s way harder than she expects. 
Jun 09, 2019
676: Here’s Looking at You, Kid
Adults telling kids who they are, and kids wondering — are they right?
Jun 02, 2019
199: House on Loon Lake
A real-life Hardy Boys mystery. More than most of our shows, this one lends itself to a Hollywood-style tagline. Perhaps: "The House at Loon Lake: You Might Break In ... But You'll Never Forget." Or, "The House at Loon Lake: Dead Letters Tell No Tales." It's the true story of an abandoned house, discovered by a young boy in the 1970s, and the mystery of why it was abandoned.
May 26, 2019
675: I’m on TV??
What it's like to be momentarily big on the small screen. 
May 19, 2019
674: Get a Spine!
Stories of people standing up for themselves, shaking off their fear, bracing themselves, and doing what they’ve been scared to do.
May 12, 2019
172: 24 Hours at the Golden Apple
We document one day in a Chicago diner called the Golden Apple, starting at 5 a.m. and going until 5 a.m. the next morning. We hear from the waitress who has worked the graveyard shift for over two decades, the regular customers who come every day, the couples working out their problems, assorted drunks, and, of course, cops.
May 05, 2019
332: The Ten Commandments
Stories of people struggling to follow the Ten Commandments from the book of Exodus.
Apr 28, 2019
673: Left Behind
People figuring out how to move through a world in which something important has disappeared.
Apr 21, 2019
589: Tell Me I’m Fat
The way people talk about being fat is shifting. With one-third of Americans classified as overweight, and another third as obese, and almost none of us losing weight and keeping it off, maybe it’s time to rethink the way we see being fat. A show inspired by Lindy West’s book Shrill.
Apr 14, 2019
672: No Fair!
Stories of very small injustices and also one very big one.
Apr 07, 2019
671: Anything Can Be Anything
People connecting the dots that maybe should not be connected.
Mar 31, 2019
670: Beware the Jabberwock
Stories from the upside-down world where conspiracy theorists dwell.
Mar 17, 2019
669: Scrambling to Get Off the Ice
The Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee may have to fight to protect Mueller's investigation and make his report public. Now that they’re in the majority, they have new tools they can use. Our producer Zoe Chace spent weeks behind the scenes with them as they tried out their new powers for the first time. This and other stories of people scrambling to get their footing on some challenging terrain.
Mar 03, 2019
668: The Long Fuse
People tossing words out into the world impulsively. And how they ignite and burn. Over decades.
Feb 17, 2019
666: The Theme That Shall Not Be Named
Satan! In his many surprising manifestations, all around us.
Jan 20, 2019
665: Before Things Went to Hell
We revisit those moments of calm before the storm, when things could have gone very differently, but instead, they went to hell.
Jan 13, 2019