Sarah Vowell and her twin sister, Amy, retrace the Trail of Tears. They visit the town in Georgia that was the capital of the Cherokee Nation before the Cherokee were expelled. They enjoy a tourist trap hotel in Chattanooga. They go to Ross's Landing, the embarkment point for the water route of the Trail of Tears. (27 minutes)
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Sarah Vowell's story continues. She and Amy visit the home of President Andrew Jackson, the villain in the Trail of Tears drama. They drive west to Cherokee graves in Kentucky and a commemorative marker that's been placed, oddly, at an Arkansas high school. They head into Oklahoma, where the Cherokee settled and where they were born. Sarah talks with her oldest living relative about the Trail. And she and Amy end their trip at the place where they first heard about the Trail of Tears: an amphitheater where every summer, they saw a dramatic two hour recreation of the Trail. (23 minutes)
Before Sinatra died, Sarah Vowell appeared on this radio program and made a prediction about how network news would cover Sinatra's death ... and she made a simple plea. We hear whether her prediction came true.
There's a famous William Carlos Williams poem called "This is Just to Say." It's about, among other things, causing a loved one inconvenience and offering a non-apologizing apology. It's only three lines long, you've probably read it...the one about eating the plums in the icebox.
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.
Sarah Vowell examines what happens when TV takes on a subject it really has no business exploring at all, but seems fairly obsessed with nonetheless: The Pilgrims. Sarah's most recent book is Assassination Vacation.
A brand new Christmas carol gets its world premiere: A song about both Christmas and American history. With lyrics by Sarah Vowell.
Sarah Vowell tells the story of General Lafayette's triumphant reunion with America, after becoming really, really unpopular in his native France. Sarah's is the author of “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States” among other books.
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.
Sarah Vowell introduces you to a magazine that—if you're lucky—you've never had to read. A magazine called Living Without. Her story is part of the Hearing Voices project, which gets funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Sarah Vowell tells "The Greatest Love Story of the 20th Century," Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.
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.
Sarah Vowell tells the lost story behind a patriotic song, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." An early version of the song celebrated an American terrorist. She's accompanied by Jon Langford and the band.
Sarah Vowell tells the story about the first time the United States attacked a country that hadn't attacked us first. It was also the first time the U.S. went to a foreign country to force a regime change.
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.
Sarah Vowell brings us the story of a national dispute involving Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, a sandwich, park rangers, scientists, and the United States Congress.
Regular TAL contributor Sarah Vowell takes over the family Thanksgiving dinner by bringing everyone to New York. What results is a series of milestones and family firsts.
Sarah Vowell visits four Presidential libraries on a fact-finding tour for...President Clinton. Not that he asked her.
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.
Sarah Vowell explains why so many popular songs portray Santa as a ladies man.
One of the most powerful forces in a room can be the thing that is unspoken between people. Five writers—Scott Carrier, David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, Brady Udall and Lan Samantha Chang—give us case examples: stories when they felt the presence of something unspoken.
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.
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.
How believing in the end of the world can be the best thing that ever happens to you. Writer Sarah Vowell talks about three end-of-the-world groups she comes to know.