Aggregated reviews for Caliphate

In the war on terror, who is it that we’re really fighting? “Caliphate” follows Rukmini Callimachi, who covers terrorism for The New York Times, on her quest to understand ISIS. For more information about the series, visit This series includes disturbing language and scenes of graphic violence.Producer: Andy Mills; Reporters: Rukmini Callimachi and Andy Mills; Managing Producer: Larissa Anderson; Editors: Wendy Dorr and Larissa Anderson; Associate Producer: Asthaa Chaturvedi; Technical Director: Brad Fisher; Executive Producer, NYT Audio: Lisa Tobin; Editorial Director, NYT Audio: Samantha Henig; Assistant Managing Editor, NYT: Sam Dolnick; Music: William Brittelle, Andy Mills, Nate Henricks, Cliff Martinez, Brad Fisher, Taku Sugimoto and David Wingo

Review (5/5)

Absolutely the best journalist ever

Epitome of investigative journalism! (5/5)

Rukmini Callimachi is honestly one of the best investigative journalists in the world. I truly admire her work. This podcast is amazing!

All Consuming (5/5)

I was completely consumed by this podcast. I felt so involved in this journalistic mission, trying to figure it out as she explained what was happening, and I just want to spend more time with Rukmini. Hopefully she’ll be doing more of the sort in the future!

Rukmini is the best reporter (5/5)

This podcast is investigative journalism at it’s finest! Rukmini is an incredible host and reporter. Please do more podcasts!

The best source (5/5)

Here we’ve been, where we are and where we are going to be. Very thorough and revealing.

Excellent (5/5)

This podcast was both entertaining and very informative.

Absolutely Amazing (5/5)

I know virtually nothing about world politics and how terrorists operate. This podcast blew my mind. A truly eye opening podcast letting the listeners know of how bat sh*t crazy terrorists actually are with gripping reporting. I recommend this podcast to all my fellow pod cast listeners before the normal true crime podcast. 10/10.

The best of journalism (5/5)

Absolutely heart wrenching. Amazing reporting. Very informative.

Can’t recommend enough (5/5)

I rarely write reviews, but felt compelled here. This podcast gives insights into a very complex issue that many argue about but few truly understand. I’ve listened to the full series three times over the past year because it is so dense and there is so much to absorb.

Must listen!! (5/5)

This podcast was absolutely INCREDIBLE. Stellar reporting from around the world on a complex issue about which we could all stand to learn more. The interviews and storytelling kept it interesting throughout—I ended up listening to the entire podcast in one day. Thank you for all your hard work to create this!!

Gripping (5/5)

And soothing voice

Amazing! (5/5)

One of the best and most fascinating podcasts I’ve ever heard!

Mind blowing interesting (5/5)

This is an absolutely amazing podcast with fantastic reporting. I listened to every minute of it and found myself rewinding it when my mind randomly wandered because I didn’t want to miss a thing. What an amazingly detailed, objective, and sad account about a segment of our human history. Excellent reporting!

Truly the best podcast I’ve listened to (5/5)

I cannot recommend this podcast enough. I enjoy a wide range of genres on podcasts and am a fan of others like serial. This podcast, however, captivated my interest and I couldn’t stop listening in a way no other has.

Why The NY Times is the best at what they do (5/5)

Thank you for sharing this story.

Greatest example of how journalism should be (5/5)

Thank you, Rukmini!

Let the stories be told! (5/5)

Excellent Reporting!

Amazing podcast (5/5)

I could not stop listening. I did the entire series in a day. I actually am going to subscribe to the NYT because of this podcast. I feel this is worth it.

Awesome (5/5)

I can see how many months and years of hardwork it might have taken to do this whole podcast..

Thank you (5/5)

For telling this story. I listened to the series on my Google Home while cleaning out the basement, it must’ve been the longest time I’ve ever spent down there in one go.

WOW! (5/5)

This Podcast was so well made. There were times when I was shocked, captivated, informed, and saddened. You know something is good when you don’t want it to end. Thank You for sharing.

Blown Away (5/5)

This is incredible. Listen to it.

Amazing work (5/5)

I listened and o all the episodes in 2 days. If there were Oscars for podcasts, their podcast would get it... Rukmini is smart and fearless. I would like a volume 2. Follow up with victims and investigate ISIS at the current situation... well done

Captivating (5/5)

This podcast sat in my feed I listened-to for a very long time. I didn’t think it would be interesting, but once I turned it on I burned through it in a week and started recommending it to everyone. Really nice job. Thank you. I learned a lot.

Some of the best reporting I’ve ever heard (5/5)

Could not stop listening. I listened to the whole thing within a 24 hour period. Incredible information and great reporting.

PLAY IT (5/5)

Incredible podcast. I am not a series podcast listener, I like to jump episodes and shows and all of that. I burned through these. Do yourself a favor and listen. Then spread it to everyone else you know. Incredible, incredible dedication and work!

The Perfect Podcast (5/5)

Wow what a great podcast. Interesting, in-depth, and top notch production quality. Great voice to listen too, and really gets to the heart of the subject. I really loved it.

Stunning podcast (5/5)

Absolutely loved this. It was addictive. Love Rukmini and her perseverance. Provides an inside look into ISIS affected areas and lives of people affected. The other thing about Rukmini is that she sounds totally non judgement almost to a fault. The episode on Yezidi girls is just nerve wrecking, makes you well up. Great job Rukmini. Respect.

Need More! (5/5)

This podcast was incredibly insightful and addicting. I cannot say enough good things about it. Please make more like this one, these stories need to be told!

Riveting (5/5)

This was fascinating and riveting. Thank you for giving me a glimpse into a world, a war, and the hearts of all the people featured in this podcast.

BS- you want to talk terror? (1/5)

Talk about homegrown terrorism by white supremacists who hole the market on terror worldwide. Mass shootings and race violence is perpetrated by them. Focusing on suggesting that terrorism is only ISIS and related to Islam is fakery.

A Must Listen! (5/5)

Spellbinding. I could not stop listening. Unnerving, scary, sad, triumphant, and discouraging. This has all the feels!

Fabulous reporting and incredibly educational (5/5)

Rich with detail, history, and keen observations, this podcast provides insights on the power and influence of ISIS and its impact on the local and international stage.

Absolutely fantastic (5/5)

I devoured this podcast in 2 days. Absolutely fantastic reporting.

Great content? (5/5)

This s definetly up there for one of favorite content. The story telling and research was perfect. Wish there was more!

Eye Opening (5/5)

Loved the unbiased view of this podcast!

Heavyweight business (5/5)

This is a must!

Fantastic (5/5)

Would love more podcasts like this

Wow! (5/5)

One of the best podcasts I’ve heard. I’ve never heard this issue described in such a clear way.

Amazing! (5/5)

This is the best podcast I have ever listened to. Not only was it entertaining and made well, but it was incredibly informative. I genuinely learned a lot from all the episodes of this podcast

Fantastic (5/5)

Intriguing all the way through with lots of interesting information about isis. I found myself losing track of time and at the same time learning.

A journalistic approach that has been missing (5/5)

For those that have always known OF the enemy but never known ABOUT it, this is a great podcast to help you delineate radical jihad without forcing empathy or tolerance. Rukmini Callimachi gives an impervious profile on ISIS that as been missing in most Western propaganda-filled dialogue in the last two decades.

Very interesting. (5/5)

Definitely found the podcast to be interesting and a good listen. Thanks.

Very good journalism (4/5)

This turned out to be chilling in the end. I was also very impressed with the quality of journalism. She never took anyone at their word and instead hunted down confirmation and corroboration of each interviewee.

Great podcast. (5/5)

Definitely a good recommendation to listen

Remarkable Journalism (5/5)

This is courageous and in-depth journalism at its finest. I devoured this podcast in two days and feel it may prove challenging to find one of equal substance.

Fantastic (5/5)

The type of journalistic integrity we need more of!

Amazing! (5/5)

This is an absolutely amazing podcast. I can't believe the ways people try to recruit ISIS members.

Excellent Journalism (5/5)

I really enjoyed listening to this podcast. I learned so much and enjoyed hearing such a thoughtful perspective. I hope we can expect to hear more/some updates in the future!

An Incredibly Powerful Piece of Work (5/5)

I had to MAKE myself stop listening since there were only 12 episodes. I limited myself to an episode a day and it was a highlight of the day every time. The show and the reporting was extremely interesting and thorough and sincere and it gave such an honest glimpse into an organization that has so much swirling around it at all times. I enjoy this podcast bc you get to see the humanity on multiple sides of this human tragedy. Isis-an incarnation of evil or a society of people dealing w/great injustice and suffering led to believe that this is their only chance to fight for their place in the world—or somewhere in between? I’m sure the amount of work that went into this piece can’t be nearly summed up in 12 episodes and I certainly hope it’s not the end of this fantastic show.

Excellent podcast (5/5)

Excellent podcast! I was addicted by the first episode.

Caliphate (5/5)

I listen 2 podcast all the time at work, I could not stop listening, the reporter 4 the times, I 4 get her name, but wow, she had me so mesmerized, Mabey the best I have ever heard!!!

“Her quest to understand ISIS” (1/5)

The New York Times folks.....

Journalism at its finest (5/5)

This is a substantial piece of journalism. So glad I dedicated the time to listen. In the world of 24 hour news sound bites, we need more pieces like this.

Incredible (5/5)

This podcast is quite simply incredible.

***Speechless*** (5/5)

I’ve recently discovered podcasts and they really are a “throwback” to what used to be known as oral history. Oral history is riveting and let’s be frank, it’s how most of history is written and translated down through generations. This podcast is the penultimate demonstration of the practicality and amazingly important tradition of oral history. Rukmini has this wonderful way of being self-effacing while also convincing you of how amazing her knowledge, history, and investigation into ISIS is. It’s left me speechless how close I felt to the story, the real activities chronicled, and the outcomes. I hope we see more from Rukmini in the future. I really want to learn and experience more from her point of view.

Breathtaking (5/5)

This is honestly one of the hardest and subsequently easiest podcasts I’ve ever listened to. I found myself constantly rewinding to listen again to specific parts in order to make sure I was interpreting it correctly. Such a fascinating descent into the abyss of ideology and humanity that is Isis. I highly recommend to everyone with even the smallest interest in the world’s complexity.

Impactful (5/5)

Incredible journalism about a very complex topic!

Excellent (5/5)

More than I wanted to know, but burying one’s head in the sand is not an option.

Spellbinding piece of journalism (5/5)

I listened a while after it was first released, and I must say, it’s not an easy listen, but I have never recommended a podcast more highly. Most commendable are Rukmini Callimachi’s ability to dig deeply and use all of her considerable NYT resources to paint a very poignant, shocking and horrible story. She and her team have the compassion, sensitivity and the expertise that allowed them to gain the trust of those she’s interviewing. Thus she’s given her subjects a sense of humanity, which allows us to begin to comprehend of impact of ISIS, both those who were recruited and those who were victims. Listen in order and listen until the end. I believe the last episode is the most stunning. This reporter and her associates risked their lives to bring this story to us.

Amazing!! (5/5)

This is such an informative podcast. One of my favorites. Please upload a season 2!!!!

Excellent NYT podcast (5/5)

I started this podcast last year before I purchased my NYT subscription. I wasn’t able to finish it last year and had forgotten about it until today. This is so engaging and interesting. The content is obviously well researched but is personable and accessible. I loved hearing about an Iraqi man’s love for Metallica in between the hard-hitting heaviness of the subject. Rukmini Callimachi could read a grocery list to me and I would want to listen. She has the absolute best voice for podcasts.

Intimate & Visceral (5/5)

Rukmini Callimachi narrates this beautifully woven journalistic story. Amazing insight and deep dive into intimate vignettes of life inside/amongst the IS caliphate. Highly recommend to everyone and anyone!

Very engaging! (5/5)

Incredible reporting and very informative. I so appreciate being able to see and learn about a topic that I knew little about.

Great Podcast (5/5)

Best podcast ever. It helped me a lot to understand ISIS and what they want to achieve, why they commit those ruthless atrocities. My first language is not English but Rukmini made it very easy to understand even for people with weak English.

Incredible (5/5)

Left me slack jawed and speechless. Not only did I learn about Isis and the incredible difficulties of reporting on them, but the central narrative around Abu Huzaifa was fascinating. Is he a monster, an idealist, a kid in over his head? What kind of people join Isis? And can we trust them when they leave. I don’t know, but it was sure interesting thinking about it.

Podcast is not journalism (1/5)

I can call them diary keepers but not journalists, the podcasters are bringing way too much of their personal feelings and personal judgement to the show.

Great podcast (5/5)

Loved this podcast and the way it was done. It was intriguing and told in a very human way. Great job!

Who is IsIs¿ (3/5)

To figure out what and who we are dealing with, it has to do with history and Biblical! Before I move forward let me ask you this what is this Muslim religion? Then you have to ask the question who their god is, where did there god come from? Then Look toward the Catholic religion! Because of history claims and in fact gave The Muslims there god Mohamed. The reason why the pope of the Vatican had given the Muslims a God was for a key reason, was to attack in Jerusalem slaughter the people in Jerusalem, so that the Vatican to be moved to your Jerusalem. There was a handler involved as well. But you got understand the Bible as well. The Bible great history and predicts history! Now let me speak about Isis. 2013 the meteor right that flew across Siberian that blue solo blew out window set off car alarms and toppled over people. Have you ever heard in the Bible the locust army? Because around about 2013 close to 2014 is where Isis had slaughtered their first religious group and there were north east of Iraq. The people that bled and got away from the attack ran of a mountain, and this mountain, Mount Cyanide. Another way of looking at it look at the biblical terms. Syria is very Biblical. “It from the Bible in the end times Syria will be brought to rubble. Have you not seen the Syria lately. Biblical God tells Russia you don’t wanna come down in this war, I’ll pull you down by your nostrils. Just take a good look in the whole world and tell me what you see, and I will agree with you because we see the same as everybody sees the same.

Caliphate (5/5)

It’s not the best produced podcast but it’s not bad. What makes this podcast great is the stories. Rukmini knows the right questions to ask and seems fearless. These are amazing, heart-wrenching stories and they opened my eyes to so much regarding ISIS and a part of the world that we rarely get to see this intimately.

Good plan, poor execution (3/5)

I learned a lot from this podcast but constantly wished someone who knew what he or she was doing had edited it. Too much fluff that didn’t progress the story line, too much of the reporter talking over the background speakers, and needlessly long music interludes.

Caliphate… Best podcast ever (3/5)

This is a podcast I didn’t want to end… I just want more more more! It’s hard to find a podcast that will beat this one or can keep my interest the way this one did.

Stunningly amazing (5/5)

This podcast is a gorgeous example of journalism. Rukmini Kalamaki, thank you for your work.

Fantastic (5/5)

This podcast blew me away. So interesting. So relevant. Wonderful job.

Does not hit the spot (2/5)

Continuous mystery surrounding dates and a non-credible source. Somehow this is supposed to shed light or discredit a whole population? It is like focusing on a yankee rebel while GW was plotting and planning against British. Needs to improve. And once again more importance is given to presenter and show rather than content.

Caliphate (5/5)

Heard an early release episode (I think) and was instantly caught up in every aspect of the show. Caliphate, is highly entertaining and educational (a rarified combination). My best guess is that the show is aimed at audience ages 11 and up.

Learned A Lot (5/5)

This was a fascinating podcast. Really well made.

Gripping (5/5)

This was informative and intriguing. It provided nuance to an often misunderstood and generalized issue. It was also a superb example of how engrossing audible journalism can still be. I’ll happily retain my subscription to the NYTimes if this is the kind of work they continue to produce.

So good! (5/5)

To do a podcast about a subject as emotionally charged as this is not an easy job. The NYT team, however, has done a fantastic job. The reporting, analysis and presentation isn’t just richly researched and nuanced, it is also compassionate. And to insert compassion in a subject as difficult as this is such a grand achievement. All those who made this podcast possible deserve laurels.

The Caliphate (5/5)

Spellbinding in its storytelling while deeply disturbing in its implications. As a Muslim, I don’t recognize at all the world ISIS tried to create but I cannot escape how deeply they believed what they practiced. Only by understanding this warped world order can we mitigate the risks of this happening again. One thing for sure is that militaries are ill equipped to counter ideological warfare as we see time and again.

Amazing (5/5)

Incredible, engaging, honest reporting. Very well done.

Riveting (5/5)

I binged this remarkable series in one sitting and congratulate the New York Times reporters for their dogged commitment for unearthing the truth through verifiable sources. Top-notch journalism.

More relevant than ever, extremely well sone (5/5)

Gutting and difficult at times but incredibly well done. A riveting and relevant series.

So worth listening to. (5/5)

One of the most fascinating podcasts I've ever heard. Highly recommend. Really well done.

Wonderful series - compelling (5/5)

Cannot stop listening. Bless you.

Incredible! (5/5)

This is my favorite podcast to date! Unbelievable.

Real journalism for once (5/5)

And Trump is right; these ARE animals. More stories like this and people will start to realize why it’s not racist to protect ourselves from these radical monsters that can hide amongst their normal human cattle. These beasts need to be eradicated, end of story.

The go-to podcast on understanding ISIS (5/5)

This is the go-to podcast to understand ISIS. For military and security professionals, this is the one the US Army Command and General Staff College recommends for a “know your enemy” level of awareness. The podcast author (and her media colleagues) operates similar to a professional intelligence organization (with a “get the story” mentality replacing the bureaucratic policy nonsense of normal intel operations). HIGHLY recommended (to the point of being a listening assignment to military professionals).

Very Interesting (5/5)

Well made and concise. Not a bunch of filler like so many others like this are full of.

Journalism at its finest! (5/5)

This story was compelling from start to finish. Very powerful take-always and a huge reflection on the state of the word that we live in.

Must listen! (5/5)

I highly recommend this podcast. I really didn’t know much about this subject matter before listening and I definitely feel more informed now.

5 stars! (5/5)

This podcast has captivated me throughout and opened my eyes to a world we so often don’t see. So good.

Amazing reporting! (5/5)

Wow! She is definitely one of the BEST reporters out there. Her professionalism, and how courageous she is inspired me! amazing! must hear!

Eye opening, disturbing and informative (5/5)

I never expected a Podcast about the Caliphate would be so incredibly interesting. Honestly, I didn’t ever have interest in learning about the Caliphate, but this podcast was so gripping. Recommend! Great job!

A masterpiece of journalism (5/5)

Can a podcast win a Pulitzer? This is a deserving piece, a deep-dive into ISIS and extremism that is enlightening, captivating, and terrifying.

Wow (5/5)

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and this is one of the best so far. Hard to stomach at times, but so important, as it helps westerners like me understand the utter hell people have endured under ISIS rule. Heartbreaking and eye opening, I recommend for anyone wanting to educate themselves on the Middle East, and our current social climate the world over.

What insight (5/5)

Some of these episodes esp the prisoners ones, are heart breaking. Well done.

Great listen (5/5)

Very well done! Enlightening, informative, interesting! Makes me want to look into the conflict and subject matter more!....thank you. I truly hurt for all the women/girls and people who have been victims of ISIS....thank you for the reporting on this subject.

Wow (5/5)

What an amazing dissection of ISIS. The reporter did an amazing job. I was obsessively engaged throughout the whole piece.

Wow! (5/5)

I was just taken into a world I would otherwise never have access to if not for this excellent podcast by its hosts.

One of my favorites (5/5)


Amazing! (5/5)

Couldn’t get enough of this podcast. Rukmini does a fantastic job reporting on this issue and I am impressed with her professionalism. 10/10!!!

so good!!! Super informative!!! (5/5)

I was weary of this podcast but I didn’t know a lot about international policy so I gave it a shot. SO worth it. Incredible journalism and very captivating.

Phenomenal Reporting (5/5)

Great insight into the rise and fall of Daesh

Intriguing show, piercing music and too much of it. (5/5)

The content is sufficiently suspenseful without the long intervals of music.

Wow. (5/5)

One of the best podcasts I’ve listened to. Incredible and necessary reporting.

Masterful journalism (5/5)

Profoundly informative and powerful. It will leave you at a loss for words.

So interesting! (5/5)

Very interesting podcast! I wish there were more episodes!!

Dark & SO Good (5/5)

Another amazing podcast by the NYT. I’m a big fan of this reporting team & this is a very well done project. Great sound quality.

Please STOP saying “So”!!! (5/5)

Great podcast but must every sentence start by saying “so” and end by saying “right “ ? Driving me crazy...

Mindful Skeptics Podcast (5/5)

I am up to the 5th episode and I am loving it. Great podcast from a great journalist point of view.

Amazing (5/5)

Journalism at its best. Very well narrated and easy to follow. Hoping to see more from her in the future.

Terrifying (5/5)

I first stumble upon the this podcast a couple months after it premiered on The Daily podcast. I binged listened the whole series, literally on the edge of my seat. Very fascinating for me as a high schooler. Keep up the good journalism work :)

Amazing (5/5)

Amazing inside look at ISIS, incredible reporting.

F-ing Brilliant (5/5)

Best podcast I’ve listened to in a while. Possibly ever. Amazing!!!!

Skipped best part (1/5)

Thanks for killing the story by missing the details of the escape from Syria, useless story really.

I Regret Putting Off Listening for So Long (5/5)

Simply put: you will not find a more prescient and riveting podcast out there. Stunningly and scrupulously reported, this is the sort of show that should be required listening, even for folks who don’t like podcasts.

It’s a must (5/5)

Wonderful, what an amazing insight of Isis, I love how the reporter provides us with such a raw insight of how Isis began, and remains.

A++ (5/5)

Very impressed! Great reporting and intriguing stories.

Obsessed (5/5)

I absolutely loved this podcast. It was well put together but beyond that so just interesting, intense, raw and really gave you so much more of the picture.

more_please (5/5)

why can't there be more podcasts like this!?

Wow this is incredible (5/5)

What a great pod. This show really tells the story, gives you insight & perspective, & chills.

JillHl (5/5)

Awesome! I binged listened to this based on it be included as an iTunes editor’s top pick for 2018. Well reported - emotional (I cried during episode 9 and 10)

Extremely informational (5/5)

The episodes are short and packed with information. The editing is seamless and makes the podcast very easy to listen to. The information is intriguing and educational. Something I’m recommending to everyone.

Incredible (5/5)

The best podcast of all time.

Incredibly well done (5/5)

Great story. Very well narrated. Honest and straight to the point.

Honest. Raw. Brutal. (5/5)

Honest. Raw. At times, hard to listen to... but even harder not to.

Loved every minute (5/5)

This was an awesome podcast. Found it on the list of best podcasts from 2018 and it definitely was. Great stories and we’ll documented.

Wow (5/5)

This podcast kept me hooked from start to finish I didn’t want it to end! Would definitely recommend

Informative and disturbing (4/5)

Fantastic job by Rukmini and her team. Wish she dove in more to understand points and probed further. Loved the mix of facts and history (and could have used even more of it) mixed with current examples. I guess my rating is one score less for those reasons. This group of people is just sick and twisted. And Josefa is NO good at all.

Great (5/5)


🤯 (5/5)

This is so interesting and well told. Thank you for giving us insight to this extreme situation. WOW! I really like this podcast.

Amazing and Captivating (5/5)

Anyone that aspires to become a journalist should follow Rukmini. She achieves such an impressive balance between common decency and reporting issues no one wishes to discuss. She is a true prize of our generation.

Well done. (5/5)

Wow. Beautifully done.

Best pod I have ever listened to (5/5)

Binged in under 36 hours. Incredible production. Fascinating content. Well done!

I’m new to podcasts (5/5)

I’m new to podcasts so I was hoping this would be good abs it was great! I felt as though I was listening to a movie. It was also very touching. Her voice is beautiful and kept me listening. Thanks!!

Is it moral? (2/5)

Is it moral for a journalist to reveal the source in such a way? Including the person’s voice without disguise? The journalists behave as if they are action heroes. This may be entertaining but I will seriously question how they protect the sources.

Amazing & Gripping (5/5)

I was sucked into this outstanding podcast. Great reporting and very informative. I’ll be in the lookout for more like this.

The best podcast of 2018 (5/5)

This was the best podcast I listened to all year. I first started listening to it this past August, but I am writing this review now as a testament to the team's reporting; it is exceptional and it has stayed with me for these past few months. In a time where the news seems so surface-level this podcast take the listener right up to the battlefront. Literally. But they don't stop there. The podcast elegantly weaves in normative questions as well: Should the West intervene? Does it do more hard than good? Do people have the ability to reject radicalization before it's too late? Thank you to Rukmini and team for this amazing podcast. I cannot recommend it enough.

The podcast I’d been waiting for (5/5)

Please do a season 2. Please.

Mmuiuu (5/5)


Fantastic, multifaceted, informative (5/5)

Great podcast! In-depth and full of info while staying accessible and interesting

Wow! (5/5)

Mind blowing

An honest and self-aware account of the personal stories surrounding the ISIS conflict (5/5)

Strongly recommend this insightful, boots-on-the-ground, personal journey into the complex realities faced by those who document acts of terror, those who take part in them, and those who ultimate suffer the consequences. Few stories have felt as relevant as this one in these times of unrest and difficult truths. Must listen.

Balance ? (5/5)

A really enlightening series of interviews and exposes. Certainly a starting place for further work. I look forward to a deeper balanced discussion that provides a world view of the geopolitical shifting tides. Adding the direct voices of the “other side” and providing the balance so desparately missing in our political discourse. The presentation and colour of the episodes adds a nuanced if editorial meta layer. While it may be entertaining in my view it is a little distracting from the content. Good work all round NYT team ! Please do more.

Must listen! (5/5)

Thanks for making my commute this week educational and intriguing!

Great stuff (5/5)

Rukmini did such a great job with these podcasts, the format and the content, both were very innovative and informative.

Exceptional (5/5)

Masterful journalism

Gripping (5/5)

In the spirit of brevity, this is simply the best podcast in the genre of investigative journalism. The host is absolutely captivating. A gifted journalist. I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in humanity. In my humble opinion, it’s even a notch above Serial and S-Town.

Quality necessary reporting about ISIS. (5/5)

This series is almost necessary for an in depth understanding of ISIS. It records the origin of the group, it’s recruiting methods, gives individual stories of two people who were recruited, both from the western country and from the Middle East. It tells the stories of those who were kidnapped and enslaved by Isis and explains the scriptural underpinnings ISIS uses to make this palatable. The reporters explain the financing and the strategy behind the horrible “PR” Videos when they kill people in gruesome ways. I became so much better informed, and it added to my ability to be a better citizen.

Number 1 podcast (5/5)

This here is my absolute favorite podcast there is. I am waiting for the day it comes back! Really hoping it does.

Loved it (5/5)

Great podcast. Listened to it all in one day. Really fascinating.

Excellent series (5/5)

I was instantly mesmerized by the reporting and delivery by this journalist! I had not heard of it until yesterday; however, when I started listening I could not stop. Since I had to spend some time traveling, I listened to the entire series, one episode after another. I appreciate the journalist’s ability to present each subject as a human being - no demonizing; while at the same time, it was clear that the atrocities committed were crimes against other human beings. So, so fascinating, chilling, full of warning, terrifying, and extremely educational.

Want more! (5/5)

Loved it. wish there were more podcasts like this!!

Wow (5/5)

Wow. Intense and emotional reporting from the finest in the field. Rukmini is ethical, empathetic, and composed in this podcast that I would suggest to anyone who doesn’t know what ISIS really is all about. I am forever changed.

Super, but... (4/5)

Very interesting content here - just who is this dude annoying the very good female journalist here?! Don’t understand his role in the slightest. So, ma’am, tell me exactly what I’m doing right now...

Podcast is well written but makes me sick (5/5)

The podcast shows the truth behind isis and shows how these people are doing unspeakable crimes and returning to the United States. It is insane to think that a person went to isis killed people and then returned to Canada and has not been arrested.

Excellent (5/5)

Extremely well done and fascinating podcast. Five stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A must-listen (5/5)

Superb! I highly recommend this podcast to everyone.

Great listen (4/5)

Excellent work. Good to hear some in-depth reporting on the ground instead of the usual drivel.

Incredible (5/5)

Rukmini Callimachi is brave & fantastic. I wonder if anyone in a position of power, esp George W Bush or anyone who voted for the Iraq war heard this podcast. It was a hard podcast to listen to & so very important. I feel so grateful for her work, letting civilians know the reality of the awful situation our country has caused & is ongoing. Thank you.

Fascinating (5/5)

Wonderfully done

Recommend (5/5)

As an avid postcast listener, I enthusiastically recommend.

Fascinating (5/5)

I listen to a lot of podcasts, some good, some not so good. This one is done superbly and kept my attention from the first moment.

Super (5/5)

Fantastic. Great quality and riveting.

Give me more! (4/5)

Thanks for this gripping podcast. Suspenseful and educational as well. I accidentally found myself listening to an episode that played following The Daily and was so riveted I sat in the parking structure at the office to finish. Amazing and hoping there is season 2.

Great podcast... well done! (5/5)

Very informative and interesting.

Grade A Journalism & Storytelling (5/5)

Caliphate is one of those rare podcasts with episodes that you’re willing to wait, parked in the driveway, until the very end of each episode.

Best News Podcast! (5/5)

This is the most thought provoking, moving, insightful and masterfully produced podcast i have listened to all year. Excellent journalism in rooting out stories of individuals affected by ISIS and their ideology and governing methodology. Well done!

Caliphate (5/5)

Excellent series looking forward to new releases.

Mesmerizing story (5/5)

This was an amazing and scary story. A real in-depth look at the recruits to ISIS. Who are they? Thank you!

Eye opening (5/5)

This podcast gave me a great view into the inner workings of ISIS and how they recruit as well as the excitement/perils of this type of reporting. The reporter is brilliant and really makes the podcast work. Cannot recommend more!

More (5/5)

When are we getting more?? This is some of the best content I’ve ever heard. Please tell me we’re not done.

Bone Chilling (5/5)

Confirmation that Canadian policies will rain hell on North America.

Great journalism (5/5)

Incredible journalism. Incredible story. Helped me understand what’s going on in the mind of a person susceptible to radicalization.

Amazing Podcast Highly Recommend (5/5)

Great podcast that covers the human side of dealing with ISIS fighters while maintaining your ethics as a journalist. Very dark real look into the life within the Islamic State and whose details often makes you cringe. Can’t imagine what those girls had to go through. Wish there was a little more focus on how isolation, religion and lack of socialization causes kids (like the one interviewed int he podcast) to turn to ISIS for meaning in their lives. I felt the podcast stopped just shorted of making those conclusions to leave it open to their listener.

Wow (5/5)

Truly amazing reporting.

Well-Produced and fascinating (5/5)

Lots of podcasts have great content and potential but they are produced so poorly, or written so poorly, that they fail to keep your interest and they leave you wishing it were better. Not with Caliphate. Fans of Serial, Slow Burn, the various Gimlet series-style and other highly-produced journalistic podcasts will love this one.

Truly fascinating (5/5)

Thank you for making this podcast, I was anxiously awaiting each week’s new episode. Fascinating and engaging reporting, great journalism. I learned a great deal about this grim and depressing reality of our time. Thank you for taking the risks.

Caliphate (5/5)

Loved it, very well done. I wish it would continue

Fantastic work! (5/5)

Very informative about the inner workings of ISIS.

Incredible view into journalism and ISIS (5/5)

This podcast is so well put together. This showcases how brilliant journalism is done, and how much effort is taken to find the truth. Looking forward to more from NYT.

Great journalism (5/5)

I learned so much from this podcast, I highly recommend that everyone listen!!

Riveting-hold on to your seat! (4/5)

Absolutely fascinating. Excellent reporting and interviewing skills. I had to marathon this-could not leave it once I started.

Best of the best (5/5)

The storytelling and music are among the best of any podcast out there. The writing is phenomenal and the podcast offers mystery with an important history. Bravo!

Love (5/5)

I loved this podcast and was sad when it ended.

Pulitzer-worthy (5/5)

I’m speechless. So SO good. I wish I knew how to get the entire western world to listen to this.

NYT (5/5)

Excellent reporting

Incredible insight (5/5)

I have learned so much. It’s easy to demonize, there are so many complications to it. Well reported. I think this is incredible. Be safe.

Stellar reporting but still want more.... (5/5)

Compelling and stellar storytelling, but I wanted more about the Yazidi women and girls. Like where was mention of YAZDA? the US based non profit that is doing tireless work to bring awareness to the ISIS led genocide against them and support for the girls, when they come home? or Nadia Murad, who has been fearless on the world stage, as a Yazidi survivor of ISIS enslavement, naming her rapists and becoming an activist to prevent human trafficking.

Insightful and Provocative (5/5)

Can't get enough of this incredible story, very insightful and thought provoking. I highly recommend listening to the series. Every episode has hooked and patiently waiting the next. This may be the best podcast series I’ve ever heard. Thanks New York Times for this provocative, inspiring podcast.

Outstanding (5/5)

Gripping, insanely detailed, dramatic, addictive, etc. It's amazing. Give it a listen. Seriously, you will not regret it!

Outstanding work (5/5)

This is excellent journalistic work wrapped in a new podcast format. Bravo.

Enlightening (5/5)

This was an amazing and in-depth look at a group and faith we as Americans know little about. In my limited experience with Muslims I found the person I knew and his family to be kind,faithful,peaceful people. I am disappointed by our governments treatment of Muslims and horrible rhetoric. This pod left me emotionally drained and feeling like I have a better understanding of isis. It also left me fearful that the man she spoke to who left isis because he didn’t feel comfortable with their ways and saw the light/error in his ways still believes in us v them and the basic tenets of isis that everyone who has not committed to the faith is at war with it. I wish our jackass “president” would listen and learn. Thank you for doing this. Stay safe.


Couldn't turn it off!

Outstanding (5/5)

Quality journalism and it should be no surprise given the experience of the team and Callimachi. I listen to 2 hours of podcasts a day while driving, and I’ve been on the job for 11 years so far. The best podcast since serial. No, it’s even better than serial.

Soooooo good! Must listen! (5/5)

I don't know what I expected but after seeing it recommended so highly I gave it a listen. It's a series of well-told, fascinating stories that show a different side to ISIS (victims, recruits, organization). Production quality is excellent, the host/narrator are straightforward, human and let the story tell itself. I highly recommend this podcast to everyone. ISIS has been portrayed as both a threat to western civilization and the JV squad. This podcast examines the complexities of who they are and what their goals are by talking to real people and eschewing talking points and propaganda. Engrossing, compelling work done by an outstanding journalist. Do yourself a favor and binge listen today. Bravo to the entire team involved in its creation.

WoW (5/5)

All I can say is WoW! Thank you for this incredible, in-depth reporting. You have opened my eyes in so many ways. Also, Rukmini has such a calming tone to her voice, I could’ve listened to 10 more hours of her!!

Awesome Journalism (5/5)

Thank you for bringing us this raw and in the moment story. I was totally captivated the entire series. Thank you for also providing some history of the Yazidi. I am waiting for another!!!

Loved it. (5/5)

She showed me a real face of evil.

Powerful (5/5)

This is journalism. Powerful through its story telling and reporting. For me I led to introspection and I feel that being being very informative it manages to let me take what I can handle and try to sort out the rest. Rukmini is absolutely brilliant and a warrior of our times. Thank you

Listened to the whole thing (5/5)

Really awesome investigative reporting from rukmini and the nyt. Great story telling and very insightful for anyone who wants to understand isis. Empathetic and critical. In my top 5 podcasts.

Gold Standard (5/5)

This is the gold standard of podcast journalism. Congratulations to all who helped create it.

Outstanding journey (5/5)

I haven’t enjoyed a podcast series more than this one. The production and quality was top notch. Definitely makes you think quite a bit as you are listening to it! I would recommend this 100%.

Stunning, Shocking, & Amazing (5/5)

This is the single best podcast I’ve ever listened to. I stumbled across it while looking for something to follow up Limetown with, and I think this surpassed all of my expectations. I’ve never truly thought about the effort and danger that could go into being a journalist, but this gives me newfound respect for publications like The NY Times. I’m definitely looking through the rest of their catalog.

So good (5/5)

This is what podcasts were made for. Thank you for all your hard work.

This is the Most Insanely Good Podcast I’ve Ever Listened To (5/5)

Is there a way to give this podcast 6 stars? How about 10? This is the best thing I’ve ever listened to. I’m also moved to write in response to Mr. Scott Stewart who gave the show a single star because he claims “the story falls apart.” Mr Stewart do you have ears? Did you actually listen? This is a podcast about the journey of reporting on one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups, on the pitfalls that that entails, on the risks that are involved and finally on human nature. On the fact that a Canadian member of ISIS at some point found it in his heart to tell the truth about the murders he committed, even as he wanted to hide other parts of his story (exactly when he went to Syria, presumably in an effort to avoid getting caught). Human stories are messy. Usually in news reports it’s all neatly tied up in a bow. This is what the world is *really* like. Kudos also to the composer. I love the music.

Nuanced exploration of ISIS (5/5)

The podcast has a great hook with a series of interview snippets with a former ISIS member living in Canada but ultimately morphs into a more interesting discussion about the difficulty of fighting ideas and ideology. Totally worth ten episodes, many thanks for the reporting! Looking forward to the next in-depth story.

No point - Forced Story (2/5)

Everything that is built up in this story falls apart but is still told and brought to a climax, just to tell us they were mistaken, wrong, etc. no overall point to the 10 episodes. Super disappointed.

Binge Binge Binge (5/5)

It's like Homeland but real.

Eye opening (5/5)

Stellar journalism

Journalism at its Best (5/5)

Thank you for this long form piece that presents a nuanced, intimate view into why people join up with ISIS, an account on the ground of what goes on within, and proof that their ideology runs strong still, even today. Excellent journalism, excellent production. I couldn’t stop listening and I learned so much.

Refreshing but... (4/5)

So this is the closest thing I’ve heard the liberal media report on in an *unbiased* way since Trump has run for president which is absolutely refreshing. What’s disturbing to me is that there are people listening and I can only assume producing this as well that A) blame Trump for god knows what seeing that this animal they followed was Canadian! And B) can’t see that this guy is an animal! He joined the worst terrorist organization we’ve arguably ever seen! Yet liberals are so deep in their own crap that you just put the blinders on and blame Trump, and for what exactly? He just said in episode 10 that you liberals and anyone else that doesn’t follow his beliefs are “them!” ISIS kills “them”, news flash! He is absolutely capable of killing again and he believes in an organization that kills for game. You (and I) mean nothing to him.

Fascinating (5/5)

This podcast was an education on the reality of the ideology and focus of ISIS for me. Trumps ridiculous proclamations are Ignorant and absurd.

Very interesting. Bonus episodes please! (5/5)

A Rukmini and her co workers take us to parts of the world and parts of the internet most people only read about on the news. Her manner of story telling is profoundly interesting. I would love follow up episodes as things progress with your Canadian contact. It would also be interesting to hear more about your trips to Iraq. Even the everyday stuff would be interesting to learn.


This podcast is so well done. Thank you for risking your lives for this podcast. Truly amazing.

The best ever (5/5)

You took me to a war zone with an authentic terrorist. You did not redeem him or condemn him, you just reported him. Wow. This is truly professional journalism. Thanks!

Must listen for all (5/5)

Compelling and informative. This series is what makes podcasts great. I hope there is more like this to come!

Addictive (5/5)

This journalism is amazing! And the podcast as a whole is terrific. Informative, educational, entertaining, truly above the rest in quality. I learned so much from this and have gained a valuable new perspective on many of the topics covered throughout this report. Thank you Rukmini Callimachi, Andy Mills, New York Times and everyone involved

Outstanding (5/5)

I could listen to her for hours—there is just something compelling about her voice and her substance that makes her stand out from other print journalists making their first forays into the new medium of the podcast. As the subject-matter of this podcast could not be more life and death important, I am both horrified and fascinated as I listen...but I’d rather know what is going on out there (and I absolutely trust Rukmini’s reporting) than ignore the ugly reality. Understanding is the first step to doing battle against violence and terror. Thank you so much! I’m truly in awe of your courage and professionalism.

Wow (5/5)

This is absolutely one of my favourite podcasts

Phenomenal! (5/5)

Absolutely phenomenal journalism; perhaps some of the best war journalism out there.

Thanks you for making this. (5/5)

❤️ Beautifully made.

Ground breaking (5/5)

This is gripping, absolutely mind boggling to have a look into this totally different war torn, religion fueled, almost seemingly fictional world that’s going on in Syria and globally while we all go to work and feel so distant from it. They should make a movie out of this.

Worth listening to, especially the harrowing & tragic stories of the captives (4/5)

There are some extra “dramatic” meta reporting details that are worthwhile for students of journalism but not necessarily for the general public. On the other hand, the unintended human costs of the Iraq War should be heard and examined by all.

Fantastic view inside ISIS (5/5)

I am so impressed with the quality of the reporting and courage of Rukmini Callimachi.

Impeccable journalism, breathtaking, humanizing (5/5)

I’m always reluctant to learn about topics that are complex or distant to me. I certainly don’t relate to ISIS. Since I’m fascinated by The Daily, I gave CALIPHATE a try. I couldn’t stop listening! This investigation explains in simple terms what’s ISIS ideology, their way of recruitment, lifestyle, values, hypocrisy, contradictions, success and most importantly, how dangerous a threat they are to all of us. Their biggest contradiction is by far, that while they try to live in the 6th century, when the Prophet Mohammed lived, with a set of values, costumes, dress codes, etc appropriate to that time, they use contraception to avoid getting pregnant their sex slaves. Thank you for making me look forward to my hours of carpool and commute!

I’m not sure about caliphate, and it’s not sure about itself (3/5)

Caliphate, to me, has a lot in common with Making a Murderer, Serial, S-town, and even the documentary “Exit through the Gift Shop” in that it’s ostensibly about unraveling a complex, unresolved topic and ends up being about an specific enigmatic character caught up in the plot (whether that’s the investigator or a side character). I think this bothers me in Caliphate because it’s from the NYT, which usually acts as a decisive, reliable sense-maker in confusing times. Setting aside that this approach doesn’t always make for a satisfying story, it’s strange that Caliphate doesn’t even try to draw the conclusion that ISIS hard to know (to return to its initial premise)—of course there isn’t a straightforward answer to a question like that. Instead, it follows a meandering path. The only common thread throughout is Callimachi’s dogged commitment to digging things up—she IS the story here. Without offering a more substantial conclusion to focus on, I find myself distracted by the reach and power of the NYT as it’s portrayed in this podcast—a feeling I sometimes get listening to “The Daily.” Opening up and publicizing the exploratory journalistic process this way is a fascinating experiment to run. As a listener, I’m not sure how to feel about it. Maybe transparency for its own sake isn’t as meaningful as transparency with a clear payoff.

Amazing! (5/5)

By far one of the best podcasts I’ve listened to. It gives you a glimpse of what is going over seas and in simple explanations. Great job NYT!!!

Amazing (5/5)

For me, I've never knew what is inside ISIS and with this amaing podcast, I knew a lot about them. You shouls really listen to this amazing one

Fearless reporting (5/5)

This is a brave, nuanced and well-told piece of intelligent journalism. The conclusion is chilling. I hope it can serve as a wake-up call to those who propose and embrace only simple-minded military solutions to this ideological menace before it comes back with even more force.

Absolutely stunning (5/5)

Listen to it y’all!

exceptional! (5/5)

enthralling, shocking, enrapturing. “caliphate” is a tour de force of reporting and storytelling. i couldn’t stop listening!

Extraordinary Journalism (5/5)

This is an absolutely brilliant Podcast that shows us, in brutal detail, the dark details and real effects of ISIS. The unexpected joy, sadness, and terror that the listener experiences comes to an undeniable climax while our host enters an active war zone in an effort to recover genuine ISIS documents from demolished buildings during an air strike. The entire series comes to a cathartic finish - this should be required listening to actually gain an understanding of what is happening.

Thank You (5/5)

I just wanna thank you guys for your dedication to unveiling the truth and gaining insight into a world that many Americans dont know much about. I enjoyed every second of. I felt like i was watching a movie lol. I listen to “The Daily” every day on my way to work. Keep doing what you are doing because it matter. Thanks again!!✌🏾

Wow (5/5)

Such a great podcast. Thank you for all of your work.

Listen to this now (5/5)

As a recently graduated American college student who had no knowledge of ISIS other than the name itself and its attacks on Syria, I found this podcast incredibly informative and impactful. This journalism is thorough and compelling in its ability to not only educate the listener but also helps facilitate a means of understanding. I hope that this kind of reporting continues for the sake of the education of a public that needs to become aware of the world around us.

Intriguing and SO Insightful (5/5)

I absolutely love everything about this podcast. Not only does it humanize (in a very real and scary way) the people who join ISIS but it also brings a major reality check to those who say they’re not a real threat. ISIS is an ideology - they are the fringe group of Muslims that have believed for thousands of years that they can’t stop the bloodshed until the entire world becomes Muslim. ISIS is a terrifying danger, and those of us in this world who believe in true freedom can never stop fighting back. This is biblical stuff.

Rukmini is a top notch journalist (5/5)

A must hear for every American. I learned so much. Thank you NYT and Rukmini for bringing these stories to us. Critical work.

Stunning and Invaluable (5/5)

Riveting, insightful, nuanced, extremely worthwhile. Thank you to Rakmini and the whole team for your inspiring courage, tenacity, compassion, and intelligence. An absolute gem.

Real journalism!!! (5/5)

Listen to this for so many reasons, but perhaps foremost to learn and/or to remind yourself of what it means to be a journalist doing work worthy of the title “journalism”. Thank you Rukmini! I hope to hear from you in podcast form.

Thank you (5/5)

Thank you to you all for your hard work. The sacrifices that you give so you can share real news with us doesn’t go unappreciated. Thanks again to you all (including your sources)... blessings.

Excellent (5/5)

Listening to this podcast has been such an experience. Each episode was suspenseful, informative, and impossibly fascinating. Rukmini and Andy weave their experiences together beautifully—they are top-notch journalists. Thank you so much for sharing, and thank you for your fearless pursuit of the truth. To anyone who may be reading this: please give this podcast a listen. You will come out of it both challenged and informed, with a newfound perspective on the infamous terrorist organization.

Thank you Rukmini (5/5)

This was a very informative and objective report of what many of us know it’s happening in that part of the world. What bother me the most is the use of religion -pray before they are raped- to continue to subjugate women, how they are dehumanized to being “just a sex object”. OMG just awful! The reality of what you reported is really sad, the consequences for the Iraquíes/Syria as a result of the destruction, the killings, the subjugation we are yet to see. You exposed yourself to danger by doing this documentary.. that is true reporting Thank you NYT

Incredible (5/5)

This is an amazing look into ISIS. Incredible reporting, but I am not surprised by this as it is the NY Times. Thank you. Please continue this podcast on this subject realm. I would love to continue to learn about Islam, radicalism, and the conflicts involving Islam.

Wow! (5/5)

Well told story of fantastic reporting. Very interesting to learn the sickening details about ISIS & all reporters go through. Can’t say enough about how great this podcast is.

Stunning & Essential Journalism (5/5)

A stunning and essential piece of long-form journalism, especially for those who think defeating ISIS is as simple as declaring it so.

Awesome (5/5)

Thank You for your very hard work. Very eye opening. One of the best podcast around!

An Astute Global View of ISIS (5/5)

Rukmini and her staff do amazing investigative reporting work while demonstrating cultural awareness and great deference to ISIS victims interviewed. I love how she points out the strategy of ISIS, as grim and heinous as their actions are, highlighting discoveries such as the Islamic States’ self-sustaining economy. Absolutely fascinating. Well done!!

Ahh-mazing (5/5)

I am so sad this podcast is over. It was so entertaining and informative! Another hit from the NYT.

Thank you Rukmini (5/5)

I don’t write reviews but this is a credit to humanity. Truly incredible.

The Best Produced Podcast I Have Ever Listened To (5/5)

I’ve been a podcast listener for a while now. I’ve come across my fair share of current event podcasts. When i heard about Caliphate I was skeptical because I am by no means an expert in Middle Eastern affairs. As I listen to Caliphate, I am floored by the journalistic integrity, quality, and raw emotion coming from this series. My biggest regret is that this series is only ten episodes. Not my favorite podcast ever, but by far the best I have ever listened to

Such bravery (5/5)

and dedication and generosity on the part of everyone who is in the weave of this reporting. i have no doubt that i will be replaying it from the beginning before too long. thank you

Caliphate continues (5/5)

Rukmini, Andy and the rest of this team have guts. They fearlessly explored places and met people face to face that most of us would never have the nerve to go near. Thank you for what you do and The New York Times for letting them do it. Through the story of this one disaffected young man, we in the modern western world learn what we’re up against in combatting Isis, and it’s formidable. That the story doesn’t tie up neatly in the last episode just underscores the depth of the terrible ideological gulf we still face. More please!

Exemplary reporting. Essential to understanding post-9/11 world. (5/5)

I can not recommend this podcast enough, especially to those who seek to understand the ideology and methodology of the Islamic State. This series illustrates more than just ISIS’s world influence, but how ideological radicalization develops in any environment. The story of Huzaifa serves as an example how broad demonization of a group can exacerbate existing divisions. I hope this begins a larger discussion of how to diplomatically approach people who, as Huzaifa says, feel cornered. Overall excellent work by Rukmini and Michael and the entire team.

Amazing ! (5/5)

I loved every second of this podcast ! Intriguing, interesting , exciting , and I would recommend listening to this to anyone and everyone . I am so sad it’s over . And I hope they have more pod casts like this .

Stunning (5/5)

"Caliphate" offers a unique and in-depth look behind the curtain of the Islamic State, and those who choose to join them. It takes a dive into the heart of humanity in some of the most inhumane of circumstances. Led by outstanding reporting and stellar sound mixing, this podcast is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that stays with you long after the final beat.

Great show (5/5)

It truly is captivating and provides insight a lot of us probably do not have on radicalization. My only complaint was the show finale. It was kind of disappointing. But oh well. I still 100% loved it and am trying to show it with others.

i am shook (5/5)

this incredible storytelling and reporting grips the attention of even a distracted teen like myself. ISIS already terrified me before, but now i know more about what it is that scares me. thank you to everyone who took part in this podcast. my parents are happy that im listening to something important and informing instead of wasting time on youtube and netflix.

Vital Work (5/5)

This podcast is so important. In the fight against ISIS, the missing key has always been the why. Without the why, you cannot understand, and without understanding you cannot win. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

The best behind-the-scene show yet (5/5)

Best podcast I’ve listened to in my life. Simply excellent. To those who accuse Rukmini of “narcissism,” you really missed what this show is about: the process through which Rukmini et al reported their stories published over the last few years. NYT billed it as such. In other words, this series isn’t news reporting and should focus on the methods and events enabling and surrounding traditional journalism. It is a story about journalism as much as it is about the ongoing crisis in Iraq and Syria.

Really great reporting (5/5)

Binged out on all the eps in 1 day. No spoilers here. It’s a fantastic podcast with a great story to tell. Good job.

Best NYT reporting in years (5/5)

An unbiased investigative journalist does an amazing job speaking directly with a Canadian that joined the caliphate. This podcast gets to the heart of the issues with Jihadist ideology and the manipulation of Muslims. Great work. NYT should promote more of this, and less click-bait. I would pay $1 per episode.

Outstanding (5/5)

Just finished it. Wish it wasn’t over. Very engaging and informative.

Wow. (5/5)

Truly amazing reporting, editing, story telling. Humanizing and allowing us a peak behind the shroud. Thank you 🙏🏼

Sets a new bar (5/5)

Without hesitation the best podcast I’ve heard. Excellent reporting about ISIS ideology and their recruiting and training methods. You also get an idea of what real solid reporting methods look like as Rukmini sets out to vet a seemingly unverifiable story. This story took tremendous work and a hefty dose of courage.

Need more stars (5/5)

Journalism at its best!

Very Well done. (5/5)

The production was so well done. I listened to every episode as soon as it was available.

Gripping (5/5)

This is fantastic. Please listen and educate yourself through Rukmimi’s expertise.

Amazing (5/5)

The reporting she does is amazing. For anybody who says the NYT is fake news, this podcast will put them to shame. High quality, in depth, long-term reporting!

Great Journalism!! (5/5)

Ms. Rakmini (hope I’m spelling it right) has done an amazing job detailing ISIS, its members, and the victims from multiple perspectives. Great podcast!

One of the best podcasts around. (5/5)

There’s a natural drama to the storytelling, and there’s so much to learn about how ISIS recruits and operates. Thanks to the tenacity and smarts of Rukmini Callimachi for this one.

Most fascinating podcast (5/5)

It’s so incredible that I listen to every episode at least twice so I don’t miss a word.

Incredible journalism (5/5)

This cast is truly amazing & worth listening to. The storytelling makes it remarkable. Looking forward to more reporting from this group.

Incredibly Insightful (5/5)

Listened to every episode the day they come out. Keep it up.

Fascinating (5/5)

I'm hooked!

Terrific & different reporting (5/5)

An incredible look at the daily lives of ISIS- who/what/when/where and most importantly WHY from a great cast who make the mundane almost sublime. Kudos to this crew

Huge respect to Rukmini and team (5/5)

This podcast exposes the harsh reality of Yazidi people. Amazing journalism.

Stunning. Captivating. Gut wrenching. (5/5)

One of the best podcasts I’ve listened to. Work of art!

Speechless (5/5)


Amazing journalism (5/5)

A truly incredible journey of a passionate journalist, beautifully told and expertly thought out. Thank you for this incredible story.

Chilling, monumental (5/5)

Listen to this. An amazing piece of work.

Absolutely Riveting (5/5)

The New York Times has become something of a liberal agenda-driven news source, so I had some reservations about listening to this podcast. But this is real, insightful, informative, and unbiased reporting the way it used to be. As far as I’m concerned, this is a must-listen for ALL Americans and citizens of the world. Thank you, Rukmini Callimachi, for your outstanding work!

Amazing Reporting (5/5)

I am in awe of the reporting and interviews that Rukmini Callimachi and Andy Mills have conducted to give us firsthand information and history of ISIS and the Califate. I have been moved to tears by their reporting on the Yazidi girls and their families. Thank you for your dedication to bringing this story to us.

Incredible storytelling (5/5)

This is an incredible podcast on a difficult topic. I’ve loved how it creates an impactful story that weaves together many different experiences and perspectives.

Headed for awards!! (5/5)

This is some of the most dogged, dedicated journalism.....really well produced and an incredible eye opening story! Fantastic work all the way around!

The best podcast (5/5)

This is the best podcast I have ever listened to. Hands down.

Excellent (5/5)

I’m just fascinated by this podcast.

Excellent (5/5)


A must listen. (5/5)

Awe-inspiring reporting.

Hard to follow (3/5)

Content is great but the back and forth running audio of the reporter with constant short clips of the characters interjecting every few seconds is extremely annoying and hard to follow


WOW!!!!! Rukmini should work for the CIA under different circumstances.

Quality reporting. (5/5)

Very good and methodical reporting.

A Powerful & Vital Story to be told... (5/5)

One of the most engaging, powerful, moving and important reporting you will ever listen to, not only about the origin of ISIS and the tragic toll it wrought, but the courage it engendered for those that survive it to this day. I heard the first episodes of Califaite when it was part of the NYT The Daily podcast, so I am grateful it came into my life.

Fascinating story, brilliantly done (5/5)

Gripping, heartbreaking, revelatory. I look forward to each episode of this weekly podcast--it is by far one of my favorite. Rukmini and her whole production team have done an outstanding job dissecting Isis in war turn Mosul in a raw, vivid manner the likes I've never experienced. Absolutely brilliant work, bravo to you all.

Listen. Then listen again. (5/5)

Heartbreaking, compelling and stunning reporting and producing. Kudos to the entire team.

Powerful and Moving (5/5)

Incredible reporting, this podcast is an amazing look at the reality of ISIS. Rukmini Callimachi brings to light the horrific actions of this group brought from various vantage points. The personal stories she shares of the lives impacted by ISIS have stirred various emotions in me. Anger, fear, deep sadness have all boiled up in me as I have listened to this podcast. The most recent episode that I listened to, Chapter 9 brought me to tears. I have a daughter that is about the same age as the girls in the podcast. The cruelty that those poor girls had to face is intolerable. Thank you for these reports, they have impacted my world view.

Superb, Prize Winning Reporting (5/5)

Listening to Chapter 9 right now. Each episode breaks your heart. Rukmini Callimachi is one of the most excellent international investigative reporters I've ever read/heard. Thank you for telling the story from a human perspective.


I love this podcast. It is so well put together. I've learned so much. Thank you Rukmini. You're my heroine!

Rukmini is my new hero (5/5)

Rukmini deserves her own action figure. What an incredible person, woman, and journalist.

Best Podcast Series (5/5)

I am in awe of you and your work. Thank you so much for giving us this story. Investigative journalism has always been so unbelievably important but even more so in this terrible time we are in now.

Amazing (5/5)

So wonderful- thank you

Amazing (5/5)

The most incredible reporting I have ever heard. Thank you

Excellent (5/5)

Rukmini is a phenomenal reporter and storyteller.

Incredible (5/5)

Absolutely incredible journalism. Everyone needs to listen to this podcast.

The things we’ve all wondered uncovered! (5/5)

It’s so frustratingly clear and muddy! Thank you for the risk you have taken to give us all better understanding. Thanks for freeing so many muslim families from the unwelcome association to ISIS.

First Rate Reporting (5/5)

I have a better understanding of the world we live in today. Thank you, Rukmini.

Excellent reporting (5/5)

Obviously the story being reported on is extremely captivating. It’s fair to say everyone knows of ISIS, but the ability to take a deeper look into their beliefs and culture is such a fascinating adventure. Beyond the story itself, I really love this reporter. She is able to tell a story in a relatable way. For me, a podcasters voice really matters and she is an easy listen. I hope she continues to podcast her reporting.

Outstanding reporting (5/5)

I never expected this podcast to delve as deep into ISIS as it has. Such powerful storytelling.

Pulitzer worthy (5/5)

Some of the best reporting, timeless coverage, cute personalities which do not distort the content. Love it

Fascinating. (5/5)

This is journalism in action. Gripping and sometimes frightening. I rarely write reviews for podcasts even when I’m enjoying this but this is just too good. Highly recommend it!

Highest recommendation. (5/5)

As someone who studies the Middle East and contemporary politics, I seldom find things that aren’t loaded with inaccuracies or are simply just irritating. The Caliphate does neither of those. Should be mandatory listening for all.

Great investigative work (5/5)

This is a podcast worth listening to in order to understand the complex ideology of ISIS and the aftermath in the lives of those who experience it. Great work!

Best podcast! (5/5)

Well put together and coordinated. She’s an awesome reporter!!!

Addicting (5/5)

This podcast is addicting, it’s so good it makes you wonder if the story is real or from a movie.

Awesome (5/5)

Just what a reporting should be revealing information in unbiased manner

Journalism at Its Best (5/5)

Rukmini is a superlative journalist. Her storytelling abilities are second to none within the war torn ISIS territories and networks. My way to support Rukmini and ALL of the support staff in the making of this podcast and sharing of information is to subscribe to The New York Times. I did so gladly.

So good, it warrants a review (never done one before) (5/5)

Just listen. Very interesting.

Extraordinary reporting!! (5/5)

Rukmini, My greatest admiration for you! The passion you show in doing your Job, regardless of the danger or troubling of the situations!The objectiveness of your journalism is refreshing and very appreciated. I love listening! It makes me worried and very sad, but also helps me understand better the conflict. Keep the great work!!

Wow! (5/5)

6 episodes in and this is just, so good!!!

gets my first ever review (5/5)

This podcast is truly the best of the best. In a world where fake news is rampant, it seems quite timely to have a NYT podcast go behind the scenes, approaching news from the journalist’s angle. Not only does it provide layers of storytelling, but it also provides layers of humanity. And isn’t a bit more humanity what we need right about now? No other podcast has sparked me to write a review— Caliphate is my first for a reason. 10/10 would recommend.

Brave, brilliant, and deeply worrying. (5/5)

Hats off to Rukmini Callimachi, the brave and dedicated New York Times reporter, who is our narrator and guide. Her voice is warm and her manner authoritative as she lifts the curtain on her beat: covering the Islamist group, ISIS. The story is both gripping, and at times, frightening. ISIS is still out there-- far more sophisticated than most of us realize. Quibbles: This podcast is somewhat over-produced. The narrative is interrupted too often by soundbites and sound effects that get in the way of the story. The music isn't right to my ears. But these are subjective rants from a podcast producer.

Disappointing (2/5)

The first half of this podcast builds up a story that you feel is going to be compelling, and the authors do a good job of that. What you realize is that the build up goes no where, and what you are left with are a smattering of isis "behind the scenes" facts, but mostly just different variations of rukmini callimachi basking in portrayed importance at having an intriguing journalistic job. Further, the climax of her big find in Mosul is just to become involved in minute family politics, thus inserting herself and American journalism into a place that she's simultaneously reporting on prior negative aspects American influence already. She does this with no observable point beyond creating voyeuristic consumerist pleasure and advancing documentation of her journalistic "sleuth skills". I felt ethically compromised listening to it.

Caliphate (5/5)

Rukmini and her team have nerves of steel! This series provides wonderful insight to a complex situation, that we should all understand. Truthful, Insightful and Empathetic! Thank you!

Fantastic reporting (5/5)

I first heard Rukmini interviewed in a Longform podcast a couple of years ago and I’ve been captivated by her manner of storytelling ever since. She truly is one of the best investigative reporters I’ve ever come across so to no surprise, this series does not disappoint. If you’re curious about the complex inter workings of insurgencies and the Islamic State in particular, this is definitely worth a listen.

couldn't get past the narcissism (1/5)

This podcaster is more interested in how great she is than in telling the story of the Caliphate. Couldn't finish it. Hope someone else will try to take on this topic without making the story all about her- or himself.

It’s heavenly, truly. (5/5)

Truly one of the most incredible podcasts I have ever listened too. I wish it wasn’t going to end. There is so much great information & story, told in such a beautiful way. I countdown the days until it comes on again.

Mesmerizing (5/5)

More like a detective story than most detective podcasts purport to be. She is the most brilliant and tenacious journalist. Anyone who believes that the NYT puts out “fake news” needs to hear how this woman triple verifies her story using completely unexpected and often ingenious methods.

The most riveting journalism I’ve ever experienced (5/5)

This podcast is the most riveting thing I have ever listened to. As I finish every episode, I can’t wait for the next. This has given me multiple perspectives of how isis works and Rukmini does everything with such integrity.

Episodes can’t come soon enough! (5/5)

I basically pout when an episode is over, and I listen to episodes more than once. I hope there are many more to come!

I wish there were more than 5 stars (5/5)

This is just SO well done, I never want it to end. Rukmini is brave and brilliant and I love listening to the way she tells stories and gets information, she is the perfect combination of empathetic and empowered. I would listen to her all day

Bold, meandering, occasionally craven (3/5)

I a huge fan of the light this reporter is shedding on ISIS - there's no one else in western media who can lift the curtain as well on this topic. That said don't expect a story thread; more a patchwork of investigatory interviews and evidence searches. Treat the first 3-4 episodes as a miniseries with a Serial-style open end (at least so far), and the rest as individual vignettes. I had to knock off a star for the almost obsessive excitement at finding evidence -- a bit 'storm chaser' for my tastes. As for kissing an ISIS bureaucrat's letters because they prove ISIS makes weapons - felt a bit disproportionate and ill-measured. Celebrations in the city of Mosul for journo points was queasy.

Riveting (5/5)

Rukmini Callimachi is brilliant, dedicated and fascinating.

Sad when each episode is over! (5/5)

This is so fascinating and so well done. It’s like Serial - keeps me on the edge of my seat and I just want more, more, more. Bravo!

friggin fantastic (5/5)

does NOT disappoint. i wait for the chapters each week. THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORK AND BRAVERY!

I don’t even have words (5/5)

My mind is blown by this podcast. Not only is the subject matter fascinating, but the amount of skill, and hard work, and sheer GUTS it must take for Rukmini and her team to go out and work to uncover what they did is beyond my imaginings. This is journalism at it’s finest, and it’s an incredibly important force in the world today. Support it whenever and however you can.

Excellent (5/5)

Excellent podcast featuring great reporting! Fascinating and scary look into isis.

Now I understand waterboarding (1/5)

This is altogether underwhelming. A topic that I am fascinated by is rendered tedious. Very slow moving, a lot of filler, a poor-man’s Serial. Not unlike the dashed hopes and dreams of jihadists who journeyed to the Levant in hopes of some great revelation, so too were my hopes of enlightenment rudely destroyed by the utter banality of this narrative. I desperately wanted to love this. Still hanging in there, but alas, I detect ever-diminishing returns on my investment of time.

Phenomenal journalism! (5/5)

This podcast is nothing short of incredible. The story, the reporting, everything is just so much better than I could have even expected! Made me love the New York Times even more than I already do

This is JOURNALISM (5/5)

Fantastic job, I just can’t wait every week for a new chapter.

Another wonderful series from NYT (5/5)

Wow, incredible reporting. Insanely amazing podcast and allows listeners to get a peak inside the mind of an ISIS fighter. In a way, you find yourself mixed with emotions of both anger an empathy. Rukmini, thank you for this.

Fantastic (5/5)

This is journalism. Great job! Thank you.

Exceellent Journalism (5/5)

This reporter from the NYT is one amazing journalist. This project took her 5 years to make and you can tell why with how in detailed it is. I am currently reviewing after listening to episode 7. This so far has been nothing but great. The interviews to the sound editing are awesome. Highly reccommend giving it a listen!. Can't wait to hear what else happens!

The other side of the world (5/5)

Thank you for bringing us these stories. I wish I could have seen Mosul back when, sounds like it was an amazing and beautiful place. Heart breaking to see what has happened to it.

Boring....too much about the reporters (1/5)

And not enough about the actual subject matter. The two reporters/hosts get in the way. Bad new journalism.

Fantastic (5/5)

Simply incredible reporting on an often over-simplified conflict

The most awful, wonderful, interesting, important podcast today (5/5)

As much as I didn’t want to listen to this, I refuse to let my ignorance about this subject get the better of me. Gripping, raw journalism- warts and all.

Compelling reporting (5/5)

Definitely a subject we can all stand to understand through the lens of hard reporting and first hand storytelling. Thank you for doing the dangerous yet necessary journey of bringing this story to the people.

Captivating, horrifying, enlightening (5/5)

Rukmini Callimachi is without a doubt one of the finest living journalists. She was always the best guest on The Daily, I couldn’t look away from her written work, and just admire everything she does. Giving her this platform was a splendid idea, and she exceeds expectations. This story of ISIS’s rise and fall goes leagues beyond other news outlets’ and journalists’ coverage. An absolute must-listen.

Very informative (5/5)

I learned a lot

Best Since Serial (5/5)

I listen to podcasts almost daily, and this is by far the most captivating, well-researched, unpredictably intense and gratifying podcast since the famous Serial Season 1. Thank you, NY Times.

Eye opener (5/5)

Really helped me see that Isis is just more than a group of people wanting to just blow everything up, and how they were able to sneak into everyday life. Definitely have a few more talking point to have with you.

Journalism worth paying for available for everyone (5/5)

Reporting like this is why quality journalism is worth paying for, thanks NYT for making it available for everyone.

Awesome Investigative Journalism (5/5)

Awesome investigative journalism, excellent reporting. Caliphate podcast takes a deep dive into the culture of Isis.

Outstanding (5/5)

Fantastic reporting, storytelling and production.

Excellent reporting (5/5)

Rukmini is one of the best journalists out there. The audio production of this podcast is superb as well.

Very refreshing! (5/5)

I’ve always been curious as to the insight of individuals who were present during the current Daesh establishments in the Middle East. Yes, it’s filled with some pretty gruesome stuff, but it’s the ACTUAL truth: no sugar coating; no bending the truth. Thanks New York Times! I look forward to every episode!

Evocative but... (4/5)

Certainly engrossing and effective at transporting the listener and providing new insight. Keeps threatening to veer I tot he melodramatic with music and ominous voiceover, hushed announcements of “Chapter Seven” and the like.

Awesome (5/5)

I’m learning so much. Thank you for making this podcast.

So engaging and informative! (5/5)

I really enjoyed this podcast. I feel like I learned so much about the Islamic State and being a journalist from the podcast. I love that her pursuit of the facts is told as a story that is leaving me on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait for the next episode and to find out what happens!

Awesome reporting (5/5)

Extremely interesting. Well done! On episode 8 now.

Give Rukmini more podcasts! (5/5)

She is such a fantastic storyteller, a great reporter. The subject is tough but she makes it palatable and understandable. Thanks Rukmini!

So good. (5/5)

My current favorite podcast. I would listen to her stuff for hours.

I wait for this every week with so much anticipation (5/5)

This is the best podcast I’ve listened to so far. I wait for it every week just as I wait for The Handsmaid’s Tale. But, this is real life. This is the story of thousands of people who want a complete change of paradigms in this world and who do not seem to be slowing down until they accomplish it. Thinking about all the work that goes behind the scenes to bring a story like this to life, all the research, the fact checking and the risks that Rukmini, her team and collaborators put themselves through, is just mind-blowing.

Incredible (5/5)

Really makes me understand ISIS in a way that I never really did, and it’s terrifying. The reporting is so in-depth and you feel like you’re in the middle of all the action as they’re trying to understand just what ISIS is trying to do, and how they’re trying to do it. It also makes you think about the future of ISIS, and just how difficult it is to just eradicate their ideology. Really just an incredibly well done and interesting podcast.

Utter crap (1/5)

Do not waste your time with this exercise in basic journalism errors.

Informative and breathtaking in covering a subject few understand. (5/5)

In the era of information overload, it’s refreshing to come across a first rate piece on investigative journalism. Even better, these reporters and the editors understand the difference between writing copy for print and moving that story to a podcast.

Griping Story (5/5)

This story is simply amazing. From the simple fact that this guy would talk, to the finding and using resources, to the danger the writer puts herself in, to learning how all of this operates, I am engrossed. And a woman is the lead reporter on a group that rapes and stones women to death and has no regard for them. I have learned so much. Thank you.

Some people are just dumb (5/5)

I don’t normally write reviews but the 1 * reviews are misleading. One of them says the subject made it all up, this is beyond misleading. This podcast has me leaning in for each episode to drop. Just fantastic reporting. Rukmani is great, she makes you feel like you are helping her solve this puzzle. Nail biting. This is high quality reporting and narrative.

it’s just me or others feel funny about the zip recruiter ad (5/5)

The story is fantastic...however, the zip recruiter ads sounds ironic when they talk about how isis recruits people

Misleading (1/5)

The name and description of the podcast suggested that the information that you were presenting is accurate. However, in the last episode it was revealed that the whole thing was made up by your source. This is level of clickbait is higher than that of Buzzfeed. That’s why people trust you less and less every day. Complete waste of time.

Too good (5/5)

Most entertaining podcast I’ve ever listened to.

Intriguing (5/5)

Intriguing and thorough investigative reporting!

A must listen (5/5)

Dark but confirms that the best way to avoid a threat is to know about it. The banality of evil...

Very insightful (5/5)

Very well done and gives the rare glimpse into the psyche and thought process of a western fighter.

Riveting! (5/5)

A pager turner in a podcast. I could also listen to Rukmini recite the phone book. Her voice is music to my ears. Thank you RC and the team of amazing journalists, editors and all the folks at the NYT for your passion for the truth.

Excellent (5/5)

The Daily meets Seriel

So impressed! (5/5)

This podcast got me into podcasts! Thank you for these amazing stories and your brilliant journalism! This podcast is so well done! Love it!

Love it! (5/5)

Love every second


This is truly one of the most fascinating investigative podcasts around. I am a long time and picky listener of true crime podcasts and though this doesn’t fit exactly into that category, I was hooked from the very beginning. It’s incredibly produced and edited, and has shed light on how people can be coerced and seduced into the extremist ideology.

Wow. MUST Listen. (5/5)

The reporting. The audio clips. The interviews. Such a good broad view perspective on the Middle East, Islam, politics. I could go on and on... but just press play and see for yourself.

Understanding the world (5/5)

Intriguing inside scoop on ISIS. Excellent insight from Rukmini Callimachi and her connections.


I loved this podcast. Kept me from start to finish but now I’m left feeling incomplete. PLEASE SAY THERE IS MORE COMING!!

Jaw dropping, significant & exceptional (5/5)

What a spectacular piece of journalism because not only does the Caliphate podcast illuminate the challenge of teasing out truth from falsehood, but also reveals the complexity of the justice system in a the storyline is fantastic.

A fascinating story from reporters on the ground (5/5)

This is well done and and incredible story. I can’t wait for the next episode. Thank you for sharing how you report, too. I’m learning so much about ISIS, Mosul, and how you track down the facts. Great work!

Profound (5/5)

A meaningful analysis of the human mind and the power of ideas.

Amazing Podcast! (5/5)

This is by far one of the most captivating and interesting podcasts I’ve listened to thus far. I listen to about 15 podcasts regularly and this is one of three that leave me incredibly excited to hear the next episode!

Incredible Journalism (5/5)

Wow! The editing and storytelling are super well done! I’m completely hooked and I want to thank you for bringing the world this story.

Immediately Fascinating (5/5)

I love the way it's edited - successfully putting you in several perspectives at once

Super interesting!!! (5/5)

Big fan of this podcast - Roheini is a great interviewer & the story is unbelievable

Interesting & Brilliant (5/5)

Caliphate is the best deep dive into ISIS I've come across. It helps listeners understand the why behind the organization and the how regarding their indoctrination of Muslims from all over the world. This is both terrifying and thought provoking.

Insightful & unique (5/5)

A depth of understanding of ISIS today

Excellent!! (5/5)

This podcast should be required listening in high schools, along with ones that focus on racism, refugees’ experiences, insight to middle eastern cultures and the various other areas that American ignorance exists and is capitalized on by tyrants like Trump. Start with teens and help them to learn how to think critically and for themselves. This is one example of how impressionable teens are turned into killers. Amazing expose.

Very disturbed young man (3/5)

The Muslim Canadian at the heart of the story is a self absorbed, neo sociopathic coward. He admits killing more than a few citizens for Isis and Allah but in the end, is concerned only for his own well being and his relationship with his Mommy. He is now considering absolving himself within the religious community. Really now. Where is your conscience?!? You killed people, destroyed families and left a wake of destruction!!! You should be punished, not processed with fellow worshippers and forgiven. This guy is depraved, no better than a school shooter. The interviewers clearly made him feel special and he opened up like a misunderstood teenager for them. The most disturbing podcast Ive ever listened to.

Absolutely riveting! (5/5)

I became addicted to Caliphate episodes on The Daily podcast. It’s fascinating and disturbing and worth a listen.

Terrifying (5/5)

The content is truly terrifying and eye opening and interesting! I’d like it better if they left out the useless chatter between the two main folks putting this podcast together. Nobody wants to listen to that!

Addictive telling (5/5)

This is a very intimate portrait into the life of a former isis recruit. I couldn’t wait for the next episode to come out each time I listed to a chapter.

Well done (5/5)

Great listen so far. Very interesting and informative. Well done all those involved in making this

Powerful reporting (5/5)

Intense reporting of the inside working is Isis . The podcast show corrupt and hippo critical a version of Islam Isis is!

Excellent Journalism (5/5)

As a news junkie who graduated from SU Newhouse I am hypercritical of all the new broadcasts, but this is real NY Times in depth reporting in a world class format. If you like the Daily this will hook you, the format is perfect and the subject is riveting.

The guy has recanted the interview (1/5)

So apparently he has changed his story and has said that he lied about the killing he did in Syria - he apparently did not of what he describes in the podcast.

Fantastic! (5/5)

I listened to the first 4 episodes in one day. Stellar reporting and fascinating inside knowledge. Highly recommend for anyone— but especially those interested in world events, international relations, and the politics of fear.

Crazy (5/5)

Crazy story, I cant wait to hear the next one. I Cant stand the ads in the middle of podcast. get them out of the way before or after the podcast.

All Americans must listen (5/5)

Hear first hand the attraction of Islamic fighting and the first thing I’ve heard that humanizes the longing and also the mental trickery to get people to do horrific things

Her voice is annoying (1/5)

the FBI needs to interview this woman. she associates with terrorists and calls it journalism.

Good content (2/5)

23 minute podcasts with advertisements is hard to get into. This could’ve been produced better, 5 episodes could’ve easily been 1.

Great story (5/5)

The journalist is very brave for meeting with this man/ monster. He should be in prison for murdering two men, who probably did nothing wrong! I know American soldiers who did far less and are now serving lengthy prison sentences. He is a coward and I can’t help but hear him giggle when he talks about these atrocities. Wanted to write this as a private email but could not find where to do that.

So good (5/5)

Best podcast ever.

The best podcast of 2018 (5/5)

Incredibly informative, detailed, captivating and frightening. Outstanding research and reporting. A must-listen.

This podcast is awesome (5/5)

It’s so cool to hear how a nytimes journalist finds her stories and sources, especially when the story is about isis and the source has first-hand experience.

Interesting, leaves you wanting more (5/5)

The hosts have a great story telling ability on what is going on in our world today. I wish there were more episodes. Very interesting, worth the listen.

So well done (5/5)

A really fascinating and scary look into ISIS

Such bizarre insight into humanity (5/5)

This is an insane story, and it is nuts to hear how this person who started out relatively normal was gradually radicalized and fit into a terrorist system, and then gradually pushed further and further. No idea where it is going, but I’m along for the ride.

Feels Like I’m A Fly On The Wall (5/5)

As a huge Podcast Fan I Can Truly Say That This PodCast Is Vivid, Detailed and Creates With A Genuine Passion That Is Clearly Conveyed Immediately After Listening To Episode 1....Amazing Work:

YAS (5/5)

So capturing. I couldn’t stop listening. Great informative podcast! Keep it comin!

Primary sourced Isis material like I’ve never seen before (5/5)

This is absolutely worth a listen !

Well told, fascinating topic (5/5)

Could listen to her tell stories all day. Love this podcast. Great format. Compelling storytelling.

Much needed explanation of so much sadness (5/5)

I am so glad this series has come out. Rukmini Callimachi (and all the reporters involved) has gone all out for us. Here’s hoping this will lead to solutions.

Andy Mills (producer)- #metoo harasser (2/5)

Love Rukmini Callamachi. However, producer Andy Mills is known throughout the radio world to sexually harass young women in radio in a variety of settings, including when he was at WNYC. Despite this, he continues to get promoted because he's protected by the old boys club of public radio.

Peabody-level storytelling (5/5)

From courageous reporting to fabulous sound editing, and evocative music, Caliphate is an amazing telling of the Isis saga as experienced firsthand by a Westerner. The series delivers a powerful experience - revealing and shocking - augmented by unique music, sound effects, and editing cuts that make you feel as if you are there.

Eh (1/5)

I love this podcast but I dislike that paid subscribers to NYT get exclusive access. I get why they do it, but that doesn’t mean I agree with it. It’s 2018, digital media should be free.

Provocative, informative, authentic (5/5)

:) two thumbs up

Leaves you wanting more (5/5)

Every time an episode starts playing ending music I go “nooo I want more!!!” And then impatiently wait until next week. So yeah I love this podcast. I think it’s one of the best ones around right now.

A Powerfully True Perspective (5/5)

As anyone with some understanding of Sociology will recognize upon hearing this series of recordings, this ongoing war is about commercial and commercialized interests both large and small. Time - just as blood - flows as easily as sand.

Rukmini is 🙌🏼 (5/5)

It’s hard to wait each week for it to come out! Thank you to The Daily for playing the first episode because it’s fantastic. The lengths this woman goes for knowledge and truth. She’s so inspiring.

Gripping audio journalism (5/5)

This is a fantastic, deep dive into why one person joined ISIS/ISIL and why he left. If you like Serial or solid journalism, you’ll love this podcast. When I heard that NYT subscribers could access the next episode early, I figured I would be lazy and just wait for the next podcast on iTunes, but after listening to two, I started listening through the NYT mobile app.

Zip recruiter ad seemed in poor taste (5/5)

I’m really enjoying the reporting and it’s very interesting, but I can’t help but see the humor in the fact that the pod is sponsored by Zip recruiter while the pod is about recruiting for a terrorist organization.

Disconcerting in the extreme... (2/5)

Although the subject matter is compelling and the need to know “why” understandable- the giddy laughter of the reporter, when faced with tales of literal murder, and plans for mass murder, is really off putting. Would she, I wonder, laugh convivially to cajole conversational common ground from the likes of an Adolph Eichmann? It’s not remotely funny. It’s disgusting - people who, like the interview subject, who’ve committed religiously motivated, state funded murder, should be ostracized (and prosecuted). They were just following orders? Enough already. I’m shaken not only by the demeanor of the interviewed killer; he has a vapid, banal, jokey manner of an irresponsible teenager- as if he’s not actually killing real people but playing a video game, but also by the the journalist’s too. She’s articulate but totally removed from her subject’s despicable acts. Maybe she’s too terrified to deal with it outright? Like one of the cool kids she claims she was never part of, accepting of “whatever”, and giggling girlishly about an Isis flag planted over Greenland? All of it gave me chills.

Engaging. Courageous. And troubling. I’m hooked. (5/5)

Rukmini strikes me as curious, driven, smart and strong - and with humility. This is important work. Can’t wait to hear where she takes us next.

Investigative Journalism at its best!! (5/5)

This podcast is captivating. It provides insight into a vastly mysterious, even taboo at times institution of our society that is the Caliphate. What I love most about this podcast is how the passion and years of hard work to develop this story truly shine through. Great podcast, astounding work, and a true example of excellent investigative journalism. Keep it coming New York Times!

Fascinating (5/5)

Horrifying yet fascinating. Well- produced. And brave journalism. Looks like podcast format is promising medium for quality journalism.

Amazing Journalism (5/5)

Very impressive journalism. Absolutely riveting.

Needs warning for intense subject matter (4/5)

I agree this is a brilliant podcast with superb reporting. I was in the car listening to episode 3 and was shocked at the graphic description that I was not prepared to hear. It was very disturbing and I would have appreciated a warning prior to listening. It is an important story and needs to be told - just be ready.

Great podcast. Keep it up! (5/5)

Great podcast and I love the host. Very interesting topic delivered in a easy to follow way!

Insightful & thoroughly engaging in it’s Terrifying Reality (5/5)

How this is happening around the world is just mind-boggling! Excellent and assertive reporting, as one expects from the NYT team. I smell a Pulitzer...!

Enlightening & Informative (5/5)

Please listen to this. It is so important. Thank you for this reporting.

Investigative Reporting at its Best (5/5)

Fascinating and informative.

Nice (5/5)

Very interesting podcast

I’m Hooked (5/5)

Amazing journalism! Thank you NYT for creating this fascinating podcast. Well done- keep it coming!

Finally it is here. (5/5)

Good reporting.

Lives up to the highest of bars already set by Michael Barbs. (5/5)

And I know that it’s not a Barbs (I’m assuming that’s what everyone who knows him calls him (why wouldn’t they?)) podcast per se, but seeing as he’s set the podcasting genre’s bar so high at the Times, any submission P.B. (Post Barbs) can’t be any geek off the street, if you know what I mean. The caliphate is sinceriously, ridiculously good. A perspective and insight that nobody has ever bore witness too outside of Isis till now. Rukmini Callimachi got the interview of her career, and I for one am very grateful that she and The NY Times are presenting it to us in this fashion. Homeboy is fascinating (I’m up to episode 4) and I look forward to knowing what happens/happened to him, as he clearly can’t just disappear back into society after being the focus of this podcast. Or can he? Nawwwww....not possible. Anyway, thanks NY Times. Great podcast, and a nice break from your normal routine of laying bare the ‘real news’ about our mind numbingly incompetent President. Not enough ‘Stars’ available to give to give to you for your work.

The daily (5/5)

It’s because the first two episodes were premiered on ‘the daily’ podcast. They were awesome.

Great reporting awful sountrack (4/5)

Rukmini is amazing, but the scaremongery sound design is more appropriate for a horror movie than what I'd expect from the NYT. Meh.

Interesting but slow and dragged out (4/5)

Also could do without the 1 minute instrumental outros

Good editing, good storytelling, good soundtracking (5/5)

Informative and pleasant to listen to—this podcast provides a welcome relief from the banter of talking heads and the alarms sounded about “breaking news.”

Excellent program. (5/5)

Concise, cogent narrative filled with deeply personal perspectives.

Good so far... (4/5)

Am I the only one who sometimes has to check and make sure I didn’t accidentally hit the increase speed button? Sometimes she talks so so so fast! That is my only criticism.

What an interesting series (5/5)

You guys always come up with great stuff but Fatmini (sorry, I just couldn’t resist) really outdoes herself. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for episode 3. Thanks NYT and Rukmini.

Amazing (5/5)

Very gripping and well produced podcast. Cannot wait for more....

Exceptional! (5/5)

Rukmini Callimachi is exceptional. She’s a top-class investigative reporter capable of pulling you into her well-delivered and well-researched stories. I consider her a national treasure (thank heavens for immigrants)!

Chapter 2 was great (4/5)

The narrating is good. Lots of details well explained. Looking forward to chapter 3. My only critique is that I would rather it be an hour long vs. 30 minutes.


Have been waiting for something like this for ages. I've followed everything Callimachi does with intense interest and this doesn't disappoint. Production value, reporting, and storytelling are of the highest quality, as one would expect from the NYTimes. I sincerely hope this podcast will have a long run (and longer episodes, too, please!).

Howdy (5/5)

Howdy there friends!

What’s with the awful music (4/5)

Good podcast but the music ... dreadful.

Re: the 1 star review asking why there are 5 stars (5/5)

The first episode has been released in a Saturday publishing of "The Daily" a New York Times podcast, and is really quite compelling. I would suggest you check it out, but now this episode just came out today here. So, I've only listened to the prologue and one episode so far, but I'm hooked. Editing, production, sound engineering is top notch and very compelling journalism. I'd highly recommend giving this a listen.

Host of this podcast is an uninformed nitwit (1/5)

Tried lecturing me recently about the costs of the "war on terror" and was demonstrably off by a few trillion dollars.

Interesting (4/5)

I have only listened to the first two episodes but I’m really looking forward to hearing he while series

Courageous and bold (5/5)

A courageous investigation! Wonderful insight! Love the work of these journalist!

Amazing! (5/5)

Incredible podcast so far. Love the concept and the sound design is wonderful.

Can’t wait (4/5)

Thanks NY Times for important content delivered in a way that makes for an intriguing and suspenseful listening experience. I recommend!

Caliphate Is Must-Listen Podcasting! (5/5)

Generally speaking, I find myself to be predisposed to skepticism and/or ambivalence when the Back Door Pilot episode tactic is used to build interest in new shows. Despite my tendency, Caliphate was undeniably gripping from the start. If the first two episodes that previewed on Up First are any indication, I’d say Caliphate has the potential to be one of the best podcast productions of all time. I don’t often write reviews for podcasts, but the fact that people have been leaving spiteful one-star reviews out of ignorance of the advanced release for NYT subscribers prompted me to rate and review Caliphate, and most importantly, it is a truly phenomenal production.

Fantastic. (5/5)

I am a NYT subscriber so I was able to listen to Chapter 2 early. So naturally my opinion is officially valid ;). This is phenomenal reporting. Seamless, thorough and captivating. Thank you!

Informative (5/5)

I’ve only heard the first three episodes but I’m really impressed with the style, candor, and informative nature of this podcast. I’m looking forward to the remainder and I recommend this podcast based on the quality of what I’ve heard so far.

Tense, Informative, Fascinating (5/5)

This is a well-produced podcast that holds my attention with tension, facts, and a well-told narrative story.

Riveting (5/5)

I heard the first two episodes on The Daily. Captivating and I can’t wait for more

Well done (5/5)

I just listened to the first episode, not expecting to like this podcast, but it is done in a compelling way, so I have now subscribed

Excellent (5/5)

I've lsitened to the first two episodes. Mad props to Rukmini Callimachi.

love it! (5/5)

My teacher reccomended this podcast, but I hate that there is basically one episode...I NEED MORE!

Excellent start (5/5)

This reporter set the standard for covering ISIS. It is a must listen to for anyone trying to understand its roots and power.

Greatness (5/5)

This is great! When does the next one come out?

im so excited! (5/5)


How Could this be? (4/5)

Really NYT? “Not a Mad Man Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theory” What will the NYT claim next? “ISIS has been throwing gays off roof tops.” Geez, those pesky Glenn Beck Predictions!!

Better than Serial (5/5)

Riveting. This woman is an inspiration I want to BE her. Ahhhh!!! The reporting and production on this podcast are phenomenal. Giving Serial a run for its money. I’m obsessed!!!!

Compelling story (5/5)

RC is an incredible reporter and this podcast grabs your attention and never lets go. Beautiful use of soundscapes to create mental scenarios.

Excellent! (5/5)

I love hearing how Rukmini does her work behind the scenes, she's amazing! I'm sure it'll get plenty of one-star reviews from left-leaning people who are upset to learn Islam has something to do with establishing a caliphate, but that's unavoidable. It'll probably also get some one-star reviews from right-leaning people who are upset to learn that US presence in the region has greatly compounded the problem, but that's unavoidable. Hopefully the editors just let Rukmini speak and don't try to put their thumb on the scale.

Dissapointed (1/5)

Huge fan of this reporter’s work, however this podcast so far looks poorly produced and released. I hope to be proven wrong, but so far we are teased with an ill-conceived release schedule (and I am a NYT subscriber) and watered down, overly produced content.

Was skeptical, but pleasantly surprised!! (5/5)

This is excellent investigative journalism. Truly. I had a feeling this would be just another ignorant perspective on a culture that’s so poorly understood and stigmatized, but this reporter clearly has done her homework and put her life at risk endlessly to bring you TRUTHFUL, REAL journalism and answers the one question on everyone’s mind: “who are they?”. 5 stars for Caliphate & looking forward to new episodes!!!!

Finally something as good as Serial (5/5)

I’ve only listened to the first two episodes... but I have finally found something that has made me feel like Serial first did. I can’t wait for more to come!!

Front line journalism at its BEST. (5/5)

The journalist is on the ground at the front line looking for one answer: Who is ISIS? The stories are shocking, painful and important for us to hear. Thank you for your work. (p.s. those giving 1 star because they couldn’t access the first episode should respectfully go back now and update your review)

nothing riveting so far.. (3/5)

pretty disappointed after the first couple of “episodes”, which were basically pointless and obviously meant to just drag out the series. not sure if this is the best strategy to attract new subscribers.

Gripping from the very beginning. (5/5)

I need to hear more. Just release them and let us binge! Keep up the amazing work.

I was hooked at chapter 1 (5/5)

Just listened to chapter 1 and I am totally hooked.

It would be good. (3/5)

Interesting content but her voice is nerve grating. Just use your regular voice. Quit trying the sultry thing. Just talk.

Excellent reporting (5/5)

Rukmini Callimachi is a gift - very grateful that her work is getting this level of promotion.

Great! (5/5)

I heard the first episode on the daily and am intrigued!!!great reporting !

Incredible!!! (5/5)

Such an important and difficult task: Understanding hate and violence from the context of the hated and targeted. Thank you.

Riveting (5/5)

I found this podcast riveting, heartbreaking and very revealing of how violence begets violence. The courage of the journalist undertaking this project astounds me. She dives into the soul of the caliphate. Another top notch production by the NYTs. Note that NYTs subscribers get advanced access to the episodes. I have listened to two.

Looking forward to it (5/5)

Loved the first episode. The reporter is engrossing. The topic frighteningly fascinating. Thank you for doing this.

Arianna (5/5)

Very interesting podcast!!! I can’t wait for the next podcast!! Kudos to the journalist very brave. Thanks

One of the most important stories of our time (5/5)

I had to subscribe as soon as I listened to the first episode on The Daily.

Extremely Interesting (5/5)

A fascinating incite into a complex subject. Highly suggested if you think you understand ISIS. Just the first episode blew my mind with content I otherwise never would have experienced.

Great Listen! (5/5)

Rukmini and the team have done a great job with this one. I just listened to the first episode and I was on the edge of my seat! 5 stars!

Self flattering journalism (1/5)

I thought this podcast was about ISIS. It is just a self flattering look at how this journalist works. I don't know why they Times thinks that we have the time or should be interested in this self-congratulatory show whose sole purpose seems to be to convince the public that Rukmini is so fantastic. I imagine it will be interesting to aspiring journalists - but not to people who want to learn more about ISIS. I won't be listening. BTW - Rukmini also likes to talk in a whisper, which means that someone like me who lives in the city needs to close the windows to hear the podcast.

Must listen if you want to understand our world (5/5)

I wish to correct an assumption by a previous reviewer that the high rating given to this podcast was based upon zero episodes. You should know that this podcast is available a week early for those who have a subscription to the New York Times. Therefore, I am sure that these reviews were produced by those who have already heard the first two episodes, as I have now. This is an extremely eye-opening production, and the woman who is spearheading the reporting of this information is, I gather, also herself a Muslim. She is extremely brave, and her eye-witness and boots on the ground reporting is gripping.

Captivating (5/5)

I didn't want to listen to this podcast when I heard the advertisement on The Daily, but they tricked me with making a Daily episode the first episode of this podcast. The narrator is captivating. It's dark subject matter, but I am excited to keep listening. I'm glad The Daily snuck an episode into their show!

Excited (4/5)

Even though I have only listened to the one available episode I’m pretty excited for the rest!

Gripping!! (5/5)

Wow that was amazing! I want to hear more! My only complaint is having to wait for the next episode. Netflix wouldn’t ensnare me with a riveting story then make me wait a week for more! (Side note: for the people who were “suspicious” of the 5 star reviews when only the trailer had been released- NY Times subscribers had early access to the podcast before it was released to the rest of us. So it’s not a conspiracy or fake news, so relax...AND LISTEN TO THIS POD, ITS FRIGGIN GRRRREAT!)

The best new podcast since Serial. (5/5)

The best new podcast since Serial.

Thanks for the preview (5/5)

Really interesting first episode on The Daily. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

The Daily intro (5/5)

Heard the first two episodes on The Daily today (April 19). Note to those looking for more episodes—Thursday’s, or get them early as a NYTimes subscriber. Love the perspective they take, love the interview style. As a side note about perspective, they present it as a chronicle of one reporter’s experience following them. By focusing on one person’s story, they’re clearly trying not to make any blanket political statements; it seems more like the listener is welcome to draw their own opinions based on the facts of this reporter’s experience. Definitely worth a listen.