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.

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....