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March 24 2014

#480: Animal Sacrifice

What animals sacrifice for us, and what we sacrifice for them. Including a story from Susan Orlean about dogs in World War II, and the This American Life staff confronts Ira about his dog, Piney.

Photo: Dog wearing suicide bomb vest, 1943.

March 17 2014

#520: No Place Like Home

There's lots of ways we define where we're from. And whether we're proud of it, or ashamed of it, love it, hate it, miss it or are trying desperately to get back to it — where we're from is always a big part of who we are. This week, stories of people who are, in good ways and bad ways, coming to terms with the places they call home.

March 10 2014

#519: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Last May, a weird story made the news: the FBI killed a guy in Florida who was loosely linked to the Boston Marathon bombings. He was shot seven times in his living room by a federal agent. What really happened? Why was the FBI even in that room with him? A reporter spent six months looking into it, and she found that the FBI was doing a bunch of things that never made the news. Her Boston Magazine story.

March 03 2014

#206: Somewhere in the Arabian Sea

Life aboard the USS John C. Stennis, an aircraft carrier that was stationed in the Arabian Sea and supported bombing missions over Afghanistan. Only a few dozen people on board actually fly jets. It takes the rest of the crew — over 5,000 people — to keep them in the air. This American Life producers visited the Stennis in 2002, about six weeks into its deployment. The hour is devoted to this one story.

February 24 2014

#485: Surrogates

This week we look at people who see themselves in others and try to live out their lives through stand-ins — including the story of what one father saw in the convicted murderer he decided to adopt. And the proxy battle over a woman’s honor that bec

February 17 2014

#518: Except For That One Thing

Mike Anderson was 36 years old, married, a suburban father of four. He owned a contracting business and built his family’s modest, three-bedroom house in St. Louis from the ground up. He volunteered at church on the weekends and coaches his son’s football

February 10 2014

#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.

February 03 2014

#517: Day At The Beach

It's January, and freezing outside. This week 5 stories from the sunny beach! Including David Sedaris telling us how losing a sister in 2013 prompted a family reunion, and an impulse buy of a lifetime — an oceanfront cottage big enough for all of th

January 27 2014

#399: Contents Unknown

A man named David Maclean finds himself in a train station in India, with no idea how he got there or who he is. His memory gone, he has no choice but to let other people—police, doctors, friends, family—create an identity for him. David's book about this

January 20 2014

#516: Stuck In The Middle

Jan Brady is not the only one who hated being in the middle. This week we have stories about how it sucks to be in limbo or be the mediator, but we also hear from a man who absolutely loves being in that uncertain and boring middle most of us dread &mdash

January 13 2014

#515: Good Guys

Lots of men think of themselves as "good guys." But what does it actually take to be one? To be a truly good guy. Stories of valiant men attempting to do good in challenging circumstances: in war zones, department stores, public buses, and at the bottom o

January 06 2014

#484: Doppelgängers

We got a tip about a meat plant selling pig intestines as fake calamari, wondered if it could be true, and decided to investigate. Doppelgängers, doubles, evil twins and not-so-evil twins, this week. Fred Armisen co-hosts with Ira Glass. EXTRAS: Fred's Ir

December 30 2013

#14: Accidental Documentaries

What unites these stories on the surface is that they're all made from old tapes, recordings found in attics and thrift stores. What unites them under that surface — and not far under it — is that they all end up being stories about fathers and the legaci

December 23 2013

#514: Thought That Counts

It's the thought that counts. So true. Unfortunately, sometimes it's not always so clear what that thought was. And sometimes, when it is clear, we wish it wasn't. This week, during this, the season of giving, we turn our spotlight on the givers and exact

December 16 2013

#513: 129 Cars

We spend a month at a Jeep dealership on Long Island as they try to make their monthly sales goal: 129 cars. If they make it, they'll get a huge bonus from the manufacturer, possibly as high as $85,000 — enough to put them in the black for the month. If t

December 09 2013

#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.

November 25 2013

#512: House Rules

Where you live is important. It can dictate quality of schools and hospitals, as well as things like cancer rates, unemployment, or whether the city repairs roads in your neighborhood. On this week's show, stories about destiny by address. Much of this st

November 18 2013

#477: Getting Away With It

Stories of people breaking the rules fully, completely and with no bad consequences. Some justify this by saying they’re doing it for others, or for a greater good. Some really don’t care. And, unlike the mealy weaklings you usually hear on this program:

November 11 2013

#511: The Seven Things You're Not Supposed to Talk About

Producer Sarah Koenig's mother lives by a set of rules about conversation. She has an actual list of off-limits topics, including how you slept, your period, your health, your diet and more. You don't talk about these things, she says, because nobody care

November 04 2013

#510: Fiasco!

Stories of when things go wrong. Really wrong. When you leave the normal realm of human error, fumble, mishap, and mistake and enter the territory of really huge breakdowns. Fiascos. Things go so awry that normal social order collapses. An updated version
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