This American Life

This American Life Podcast

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

679: Save the Girl
People go on missions to save young girls from danger. But sometimes they get so caught up in the mission that it overshadows the girl herself....

678: The Wannabes
This country is crawling in presidential candidates right now and they're bumping into each other in Des Moines and yelling over each other in Miami. We hang out with them, in this weird early period of the election when they're easy to walk right up to....

354: Mistakes Were Made
It’s the late 1960s, and a California TV repairman named Bob sees an opportunity to help people cheat death with the new science of cryonics. But freezing dead people isn’t easy. And apologizing for the mistakes you make along the way? Even harder....


644: Random Acts of History
Stories about people who accidentally bump into unsettling facts of history in settings meant to teach them history. What they end up learning is very different from what they’re supposed to....

647: LaDonna
A security guard at the airport notices something going wrong on the tarmac, and takes it upon herself to fix it. It’s way harder than she expects....


199: House on Loon Lake
A real-life Hardy Boys mystery. More than most of our shows, this one lends itself to a Hollywood-style tagline. Perhaps: "The House at Loon Lake: You Might Break In ... But You'll Never Forget." Or, "The House at Loon Lake: Dead Letters Tell No Tales." It's the true story of an abandoned house, discovered by a young boy in the 1970s, and the mystery of why it was abandoned....

675: I’m on TV??
What it's like to be momentarily big on the small screen....


674: Get a Spine!
Stories of people standing up for themselves, shaking off their fear, bracing themselves, and doing what they’ve been scared to do....

172: 24 Hours at the Golden Apple
We document one day in a Chicago diner called the Golden Apple, starting at 5 a.m. and going until 5 a.m. the next morning. We hear from the waitress who has worked the graveyard shift for over two decades, the regular customers who come every day, the couples working out their problems, assorted drunks, and, of course, cops....

332: The Ten Commandments
Stories of people struggling to follow the Ten Commandments from the book of Exodus....


673: Left Behind
People figuring out how to move through a world in which something important has disappeared....

589: Tell Me I’m Fat
The way people talk about being fat is shifting. With one-third of Americans classified as overweight, and another third as obese, and almost none of us losing weight and keeping it off, maybe it’s time to rethink the way we see being fat. A show inspired by Lindy West’s book Shrill....

672: No Fair!
Stories of very small injustices and also one very big one....


616: I Am Not a Pirate
To be, or not to be a pirate? This week, that is the question. Hold fast, mateys! We have stories about both historical and modern-day swashbucklers who loot, pillage, and question their choices....


317: Unconditional Love
Can love be taught? A family uses a controversial therapy to train their son to love them. And other stories about the hard and sometimes painful work of loving other people....

669: Scrambling to Get Off the Ice
The Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee may have to fight to protect Mueller's investigation and make his report public. Now that they’re in the majority, they have new tools they can use. Our producer Zoe Chace spent weeks behind the scenes with them as they tried out their new powers for the first time. This and other stories of people scrambling to get their footing on some challenging terrain....

419: Petty Tyrant
In Schenectady, New York, a school maintenance man named Steve Raucci works his way up the ranks for 30 years, until finally he's in charge of the maintenance department. That's when he starts messing with his employees. Teasing them at meetings. Punishing them with crummy work assignments. Or worse things, like secretly slashing their tires in the middle of the night. Ten years after his arrest, Steve Raucci broke his silence and gave an interview to Paul Nelson at the Times Union in Albany....


668: The Long Fuse
People tossing words out into the world impulsively. And how they ignite and burn. Over decades....

486: Valentine’s Day
Love makes us do crazy things. But usually not this crazy. This week for Valentine's Day we have stories of people going to extremes to find and pursue their one true love....

667: Wartime Radio
Intimate and personal dispatches from two very different battlefields: A small town in the Syrian war. And the U.S. opioid epidemic. Each came from a DIY radio outfit. (Okay, one’s a podcast.)...


638: Rom-Com
The one thing you know for sure when you're watching a romantic comedy is that it's going to turn out okay in the end. When you're living one? Not so much. This week, stories that unfold like rom-coms....

665: Before Things Went to Hell
We revisit those moments of calm before the storm, when things could have gone very differently, but instead, they went to hell....


641: The Walls
Stories from border walls around the world, where one place ends and another begins. And the strange ecosystems that arise....

664: The Room of Requirement
Libraries aren't just for books. They're often spaces that transform into what you need them to be: a classroom, a cyber café, a place to find answers, a quiet spot to be alone. It's actually kind of magical. This week, we have stories of people who roam the stacks and find unexpected things that just happen to be exactly what they required....

47: Christmas and Commerce
Stories about the intersection of Christmas and retail, originally broadcast in 1996 when our show was only one year old. Including David Sedaris's story "Santaland Diaries," which first aired on NPR's Morning Edition in a much shorter version....


204: 81 Words
The story of how the American Psychiatric Association decided in 1973 that homosexuality was no longer a mental illness....

663: How I Read It
Documents you don't normally think of, showing you things you didn't expect....

479: Little War on the Prairie
Growing up in Mankato, Minnesota, John Biewen says, nobody ever talked about the most important historical event ever to happen there: in 1862, it was the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history. Thirty-eight Dakota Indians were hanged after a war with white settlers. John went back to Minnesota to figure out what really happened 150 years ago, and why Minnesotans didn’t talk about it much after....


492: Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde
Dr. Benjamin Gilmer gets a job at a rural clinic. He finds out he’s replaced someone — also named Dr. Gilmer — who went to prison after killing his own father. But the more Benjamin’s patients talk about the other Dr. Gilmer, the more confused he becomes. Everyone loved the old Dr. Gilmer. So Benjamin starts digging around, trying to understand how a good man can seemingly turn bad....

661: But That's What Happened
Stories of women in unsettling situations. When they try to explain what’s wrong, they’re told that they don’t understand—that there’s nothing unsettling about it....


660: Hoaxing Yourself
Stories of people who tell a lie and then believe the lie more than anyone else does. In other words: Stories about people pulling hoaxes...on themselves....

351: Return to Childhood
Stories of people who try to revisit their childhoods—what they find and what they do not find....

659: Before the Next One
There’s no rulebook on how to handle a school shooting. And no real way to prepare for one. This week, people take what they’ve learned from these tragedies and try to use that knowledge to save others....


658: The Unhappy Deciders
Making big decisions about other people's lives can feel pretty awful. Zoe Chace followed Senator Jeff Flake as he decided to force the Senate to delay its vote on Judge Kavanaugh. Among her discoveries: Those protestors in the elevator? They aren’t the reason he did what he did....

657: The Runaways
A bunch of teenagers go missing from a town in Long Island. For months, the police treat them as runaways, ignoring the kids' parents, who keep trying to tell them otherwise. They keep trying to tell them that something much worse might have happened....

656: Let Me Count the Ways
Yes, youʼve heard about the family separations. Youʼve heard about the travel ban. But there are dozens of ways the Trump administration is cracking down on immigration across many agencies, sometimes in ways so small and technical it doesnʼt make headlines. This week, the quiet bureaucratic war that’s even targeting legal immigrants....


655: The Not-So-Great Unknown
What happens when unadventurous people end up in adventurous situations. Like an astronaut who goes to places no one has gone before, even though he’s not really into outer space....