Host Ira Glass reads from a letter Benjamin Franklin wrote, and discusses it with Jack Hitt.
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A look at the Chicago political machine in the days before our story begins.
Binjamin Wilkomirski and New York writer Blake Eskin try and figure out if they are related. NOTE: A few years after this interview aired, Binjamin Wilkomirski and his Holocaust memoir Fragments were shown to be fabrications. Blake Eskin chronicled this story in his 2002 book A Life In Pieces: The Making and Unmaking of Binjamin Wilkomirski.
Scott Carrier in Salt Lake City with the latest installment in his 12-year quest to chase down and catch an antelope. This story and others are included in his book Running After Antelope.
A communist, the filmmaker Marcel Ophuls, the band Camper Van Beethoven, and other people who may be stuck in the wrong decade.
This episode originally included a story by reporter Stephen Glass (no relation to Ira) about an internship at George Washington's former plantation, which we have removed because of questions about its truthfulness.
More than England, or Japan or Israel.... When we think of South Africa, it's a more interesting mirror of the United States than nearly any country, because we glimpse a distant echo of the most frightening parts of American society — and the most inspiring.
Host Ira Glass explains that today's show begins in 1865 and ends today. Ira reads briefly from Lincoln's Second Inaugural address, which describes slavery as America's Original Sin of sorts.
South Carolina native Jack Hitt discusses the Confederate Flag's prominent place over the statehouse.
An interracial couple takes a plantation tour.
Canadians not getting any respect in two locales: A town called Little Canada, Minnesota; and in Canada, where a guy doing a Canadian-heritage art project gets ribbed by his neighbors, who joke that there is no Canadian culture to celebrate. Then, Sarah Vowell speaks with Ian Brown, formerly the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's long-running program Sunday Morning. They arm wrestle over what it means to be a Canadian, what it means to be an American, and whether the two are the same.
A medieval village, a 1900-pound brass kettle, marauding visigoths, and a plan to drench invaders with boiling oil that goes awry. From Ron Carlson's book The Hotel Eden, read by Chicago actor Jeff Dorchen.
An inextinguishable subterranean fire on the edge of a small Pennsylvania town, and why the residents are not afraid of it. Host Ira Glass and This American Life contributor Alix Spiegel.
Professor Stephen Pyne.
Ira with an expert in medieval manuscripts, Sandy Hindman.
Anthropologists agree that humans stopped being animals when they started walking upright, on two legs. But scientists don't agree on why our ancestors did this.
They can't pronounce the names, can't read the maps, don't know the history, and are on an idealistic quest for justice that so far has not flowered. Kitty Felde, on Americans at the War Crimes Trial for the former Yugoslavia.Interview with Michael Ignatieff about war crimes trials and truth commissions.