Sveriges 100 mest populära podcasts

Throughline

Throughline

Throughline is a time machine. Each episode, we travel beyond the headlines to answer the question, "How did we get here?" We use sound and stories to bring history to life and put you into the middle of it. From ancient civilizations to forgotten figures, we take you directly to the moments that shaped our world. Throughline is hosted by Peabody Award-winning journalists Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei.Subscribe to Throughline+. You'll be supporting the history-reframing, perspective-shifting, time-warping stories you can't get enough of - and you'll unlock access bonus episodes and sponsor-free listening. Learn more at plus.npr.org/throughline

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The Mandela Effect

For nearly thirty years, the South African government held a man it initially labeled prisoner number 46664, the anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. But in 1994, Mandela transformed from the country's 'number one terrorist' into its first Black president, ushering in a new era of democracy. Today, though, many in South Africa see Mandela's party, the ANC, as corrupt and responsible for the country's problems. It's an ongoing political saga, with all sides attempting to weaponize parts of the past ? especially Nelson Mandela's legacy. On today's episode, we tell Mandela's story: the man, the myth, and the cost of freedom.

To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.


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2024-05-16
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The Labor Of Love (Throwback)

There's a powerful fantasy in American society: the fantasy of the ideal mother. This mother is devoted to her family above all else. She raises the kids, volunteers at the school, cleans the house, plans the birthday parties, cares for her own parents. She's a natural nurturer. And she's happy to do it all for free.Problem is? She's imaginary. And yet the idea of her permeates our culture, our economy, and our social policy ? and it distorts them. The U.S. doesn't have universal health insurance or universal childcare. We don't have federally mandated paid family leave or a meaningful social safety net for when times get rough. Instead, we have this imaginary mother. We've structured our society as though she exists ? but she doesn't. And we all pay the real-life price.Today on the show, we look at three myths that sustain the fantasy: the maternal instinct, the doting housewife, and the welfare queen. And we tell the stories of real-life people ? some mothers, some not ? who have fought for a much more generous vision of family, labor, and care.

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2024-05-09
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The 4th Amendment: Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment is the part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits "unreasonable searches and seizures." But ? what's unreasonable? That question has fueled a century's worth of court rulings that have dramatically expanded the power of individual police officers in the U.S. Today on the show, how an amendment that was supposed to limit government power has ended up enabling it.

To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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2024-05-02
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The Ghost in Your Phone (Throwback)

It's hot. A mother works outside, a baby strapped to her back. The two of them breathe in toxic dust, day after day. And they're just two of thousands, cramped so close together it's hard to move, all facing down the mountain of cobalt stone.Cobalt mining is one of the world's most dangerous jobs. And it's also one of the most essential: cobalt is what powers the batteries in your smartphone, your laptop, the electric car you felt good about buying. More than three-quarters of the world's cobalt supply lies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose abundant resources have drawn greed and grifters for centuries. Today on the show: the fight for control of those resources, and for the dignity of the people who produce them.

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2024-04-25
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Ralph Nader, Consumer Crusader

Whether it's pesticides in your cereal or the door plug flying off your airplane, consumers today have plenty of reasons to feel like corporations might not have their best interests at heart. At a moment where we're seeing unprecedented product recalls, and when trust in the government is near historic lows, we're going to revisit a time when a generation of people felt empowered to demand accountability from both companies and elected leaders ? and got results. Today on the show, the story of the U.S. consumer movement and its controversial leader: the once famous, now infamous Ralph Nader.

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2024-04-18
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The 14th Amendment

Of all the amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the 14th is a big one. It's shaped all of our lives, whether we realize it or not: Roe v. Wade, Brown v. Board of Education, Bush v. Gore, plus other Supreme Court cases that legalized same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, access to birth control ? they've all been built on the back of the 14th.

The amendment was ratified after the Civil War, and it's packed full of lofty phrases like due process, equal protection, and liberty. But what do those words really guarantee us?

Today on the show: how the 14th Amendment has remade America ? and how America has remade the 14th.

Clarification: A previous version of this episode did not make clear that the 14th amendment guarantees equal protection and due process to all people in the United States, regardless of citizenship.

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2024-04-11
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The Land of the Fee (Throwback)

Tipping is a norm in the United States?and it's always been controversial. The practice took off after the Civil War, as employers sought cheap labor from formerly enslaved people: if tips were expected, companies could get away with paying laughably low wages. But the practice was always controversial, and has been vehemently challenged since it first came to the U.S. from Europe. We speak with Nina Martyris, a journalist who's written about the history of tipping in the United States, to find out how tipping?once deemed a "cancer in the breast of democracy"? went from being considered wholly un-American to becoming a deeply American custom.

To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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2024-04-04
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A History of Hezbollah

Hezbollah is a Lebanese paramilitary organization and political party that's directly supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the wake of the October 7, 2023 Hamas-led attack on Israel, and Israel's invasion of Gaza, Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging missile fire across the border they share, causing growing fears of a regional conflict with the U.S. and Israel on one side and Iran along with its allies in Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthi rebels of Yemen on the other.

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2024-03-28
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The Great Textbook War

What is school for? Over a hundred years ago, a man named Harold Rugg published a series of textbooks that encouraged students to confront the thorniest parts of U.S. history: to identify problems, and try and solve them. And it was just as controversial as the fights we're seeing today. In this episode: a media mogul, a textbook author, and a battle over what students should ? or shouldn't ? learn in school.

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2024-03-21
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Radiolab: Worst. Year. Ever

What was the worst year to be alive on planet Earth? We make the case for 536 AD, which set off a cascade of catastrophes that is almost too horrible to imagine. A supervolcano. The disappearance of shadows. A failure of bread. Plague rats. Using evidence painstakingly gathered around the world - from Mongolian tree rings to Greenlandic ice cores to Mayan artifacts - we paint a portrait of what scientists and historians think went wrong, and what we think it felt like to be there in real time. (Spoiler: not so hot.) We hear a hymn for the dead from the ancient kingdom of Axum, the closest we can get to the sound of grief from a millennium and a half ago.

The horrors of 536 make us wonder about the parallels and perpendiculars with our own time: does it make you feel any better knowing that your suffering is part of a global crisis? Or does it just make things worse?"

This week we're sharing a bonus episode from Radiolab: Worst. Year. Ever.


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2024-03-19
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A Symphony of Resistance (Throwback)

In 2011, the world was shaken by the Arab Spring, a wave of "pro-democracy" protests that spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The effects of the uprisings reverberated around the world as regimes fell in some countries, and civil war began in others. This week, we revisit the years leading up to the Arab Spring and its lasting impact on three people who lived through it.

To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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2024-03-14
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The Rise of the Right Wing in Israel

For most of its early history, Israel was dominated by left-leaning, secular politicians. But today, the right is in power. Its politicians represent a movement that uses a religious framework to define Israel and its borders, and that has aggressively resisted a two-state solution with Palestinians. And its government ? led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ? is waging a war in Gaza which, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, has killed over 30,000 people, many of them children. The government launched the war in response to the October 7th, 2023 Hamas-led attack that, according to Israeli authorities, killed over 1,200 Israelis with an additional 250 being taken hostage.This is not the first time that tension has erupted into violence. But the dominance of right-wing thinkers in Israeli politics is pivotal to how the war has unfolded. On today's episode: the story of Israel's rightward shift.

Correction: In a previous version of this episode, we said incorrectly that Benjamin Netanyahu was born in 1948. He was born in 1949.

To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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2024-03-07
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The Right to An Attorney

Most of us take it for granted that if we're ever in court and we can't afford a lawyer, the court will provide one for us. And in fact, the right to an attorney is written into the Constitution's sixth amendment. But for most of U.S. history, it was more of a nice-to-have ? something you got if you could, but that many people went without.

Today, though, public defenders represent up to 80% of people charged with crimes. So what changed? Today on the show: how public defenders became the backbone of our criminal legal system, and what might need to change for them to truly serve everyone.

To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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2024-02-29
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Dance Yourself Free (Throwback)

Beyonce's Renaissance brought house music back to mainstream audiences. But even when it wasn't gracing the Grammys, house never went away. Born from the ashes of disco in the late 1970s and '80s, house was by and for the Black, queer youth DJing and dancing in Chicago's underground clubs. Since then it's become the soundtrack of parties around the world, and laid the groundwork for one of the most popular musical genres in history: electronic dance music. Today on the show, the origins of house music ? and its tale of Black cultural resistance ? told by the people who lived it.

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2024-02-22
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Love, Throughline

We asked you to call us with your stories of looking for love in the 21st century ? and man, did you come through. We heard the whole range of human experience in your stories, but one theme rang out loud and clear: dating, and especially online dating, is a struggle.

The data backs this up. Despite the fact that meeting someone today doesn't require much more than swiping on your phone, people who are looking for long-term relationships are lonelier than ever.

Why is it like this? How did love ? this thing that's supposed to be beautiful, magical, transformative ? turn into a neverending slog? We went searching for answers, and we found them in surprising places. On today's show: a time-hopping, philosophical journey into the origins of modern love.

Correction: An earlier version of this episode incorrectly said that the Jena Romantics shared a house for 10 years. In fact they lived and worked in close proximity, occasionally cohabitating, for approximately five years

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2024-02-15
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The Scent of History

What if we told you that the key to time travel has been right in front of our eyes this whole time? Well, it has: it's in our noses. Today on the show, the science ? and politics ? of smell, and how it links our past and our present.

For sponsor-free episodes of Throughline, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline

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2024-02-08
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James Baldwin's Shadow (Throwback)

James Baldwin believed that America has been lying to itself since its founding. An insightful commentator on Black identity, American democracy, and racism, he saw something deep and ugly and stubborn in American culture, and never hesitated to call it by its name ? to bear witness, regardless of what it cost him. As the United States continues to reckon with all aspects of its history, writer and professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. guides us through the meaning and purpose of James Baldwin's work, and how his words can help us navigate our current moment.

For sponsor-free episodes of Throughline, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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2024-02-01
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Bonus: The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop

In October of 1983, Grenada's Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was assassinated in a coup, along with seven of his cabinet members and supporters. Six days later, the United States invaded the island country, and took control of it. The bodies of those eight people were never found.

Annie Bain's husband, Grenada's Minister of Housing, was one of the people killed alongside the Prime Minister. For 40 years, she's sought answers about what happened. And now, she's convinced that someone knows.

This week we're sharing an episode from the Washington Post's podcast: The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop.

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2024-01-30
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The Man Who Cured Aging

In 1899, Elie Metchnikoff woke up in Paris to learn that he had defeated old age. At least, that's what the newspaper headlines said. Before long he was inundated with mail from people begging him to help them live forever. The only problem? He didn't know how to do it.

At the time, Metchnikoff was one of the world's most famous scientists. And he believed aging was a disease he could cure. He dedicated his life to that quest, spending his days interviewing centenarians, pulling gray hair out of colleagues and old dogs, and boiling strawberries ? all in the pursuit of eternal youth. If you've ever had yogurt for breakfast, you likely have Metchnikoff to thank.

Today on the show: Elie Metchnikoff's quest, his life ? and his death

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2024-01-25
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The Right to Bear Arms

In April 1938, an Oklahoma bank robber was arrested for carrying an unregistered sawed-off shotgun across state lines. The robber, Jack Miller, put forward a novel defense: that a law banning him from carrying that gun violated his Second Amendment rights.

For most of U.S. history, the Second Amendment was one of the sleepier ones. It rarely showed up in court, and was almost never used to challenge laws. Jack Miller's case changed that. And it set off a chain of events that would fundamentally change how U.S. law deals with guns.

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2024-01-18
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When Things Fall Apart (Throwback)

Climate change, political unrest, random violence: modern society can often feel like what the filmmaker Werner Herzog calls "a thin layer of ice on top of an ocean of chaos and darkness." In the United States, polls indicate that many people believe law and order is the only thing protecting us from the savagery of our neighbors. This idea is often called "veneer theory." But is it true?

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2024-01-11
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The Nostalgia Bone (2021)

They say "everything old becomes new again." Today, that's baggy jeans, shag haircuts, 90s music, TV sitcoms ? the latest version of finding comfort in nostalgia and familiarity in what came before. We constantly look for safety in the permanence of the past, or at least, what we think the past was. But, when it first appeared, nostalgia itself wasn't considered a feeling; it was a deadly disease. This episode traces the history of nostalgia from its origins as an illness to the dominating emotion of our time. And in doing so, we wrestle with its eternal paradox to both hold us back and keep us going.

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2024-01-04
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Editing Reality (2023)

We live in divided times, when the answer to the question 'what is reality?' depends on who you ask. Almost all the information we take in is to some extent edited and curated, and the line between entertainment and reality has become increasingly blurred. Nowhere is that more obvious than the world of reality television. The genre feeds off our most potent feelings ? love, hope, anxiety, loneliness ? and turns them into profit... and presidents. So in this episode, we're going to filter three themes of our modern world through the lens of reality TV: dating, the American dream, and the rage machine.

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2023-12-28
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Apology: The Way Back (2023)

Our society is saturated in apologies. They're scripted, they're public, and they often feel less than sincere. Political, corporate, celebrity apologies ? they can all feel performed. It's not even always clear who they're for. So what purpose do these apologies serve? Because real apologies are not just PR stunts. Not just a way to move on. At their best, they're about acknowledgement and accountability, healing and repair. So how did apology go from a process to a product ? and how can we make it work again?

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2023-12-21
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Dare to Dissent

Sometimes, the most dangerous and powerful thing a person can do is to stand up not against their enemies, but against their friends. As the United States heads into what will likely be another bitter and divided election year, there will be more and more pressure to stand with our in-groups rather than our consciences.

So a group of us here at Throughline decided to tell some of the stories of people who have stood up to that kind of pressure. Some are names we know; others we likely never will. On today's episode: what those people did, what it cost them, and why they did it anyway.

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2023-12-14
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The Lord Of Misrule

On November 18, 1633, a book went to press in London. Its author, Thomas Morton, had been exiled from the Puritan colonies in Massachusetts for the crimes of drinking, carousing, and ? crucially ? building social and economic ties with Native people. Back in England, Morton wrote down his vision for what America could become. A very different vision than that of the Puritans.

But the book wouldn't be published that day. It wouldn't be published for years. Because agents for the Puritan colonists stormed the press and destroyed every copy.

Today on the show, the story of what's widely considered America's first banned book, the radical vision it conjured, and the man who outlined that vision: Thomas Morton, the Lord of Misrule.

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2023-12-07
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A.D.A. Now! (2020)

The Americans with Disabilities Act is considered the most important civil rights law since the 1960s. Through first-person stories, we look back at the making of this movement, the history of how disability came to be seen as a civil rights issue in the first place, and what the disability community is still fighting for more than 30 years later.

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2023-11-30
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How U.S. Unions Took Flight

Hot Labor Summer has continued into fall as workers in industries from retail and carmaking to healthcare and Hollywood have organized and gone on strike. Public support for the U.S. labor movement is close to the highest it's been in 60 years. And that's no surprise to people who work in one particular industry: the airlines.

Airline workers ? pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, baggage handlers, and more ? represent a huge cross-section of the country. And for decades, they've used their unions to fight not just for better working conditions, but for civil rights, charting a course that leads right up to today. In this episode, we turn an eye to the sky to see how American unions took flight.

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2023-11-23
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A History of Hamas

On October 7th, the organization Hamas, which is also the ruling government of Gaza, perpetrated an attack just across the border in Israel. The Israeli government says that the attack killed around 1200 people, most of them civilians. And Hamas also kidnapped hundreds more, including women and children, and took them back to Gaza as hostages. In response, Israel has bombarded and invaded Gaza. More than 11,000 people have been killed, and many more displaced. Since that day we've heard from many of you, our listeners, with questions about Hamas. So we took a few weeks to talk to experts on all sides to answer those questions ? people who know the history deeply, and have even participated in it. Today on the show: the origins of Hamas, the context in which it developed, and what it represents to Palestinians, Israelis, and the rest of the world.

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2023-11-16
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Grenada: Nobody's Backyard (2021)

A Marxist revolution, a Cold War proxy battle, and a dream of a Black utopia. In 1983, Ronald Reagan ordered the U.S. military to invade the island of Grenada. Forty years later, many Americans don't remember why ? or that it even happened. This week, Martine Powers, from Post Reports, brings us a story of revolution, invasion, and the aftermath of unresolved history.

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2023-11-09
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The Supreme Court's Shadow Docket

Roe. Brown. Obergefell. Dobbs. These Supreme Court decisions are the ones that make headlines, and eventually history books. But today, the vast majority of the Court's work actually happens out of the public eye, on what's become known as the shadow docket. The story of that transformation spans more than a century, and doesn't fall neatly along partisan lines. Today on the show: how the so-called court of last resort has gained more and more power over American policy, and why the debates we don't see are often more important than the ones we do.

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2023-11-02
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The Three Faces of Ataturk

"Authority, without any condition and reservation, belongs to the nation." A military commander named Mustafa Kemal uttered these words in 1923, on the eve of the founding of the Republic of Turkey. He would later rename himself Ataturk, "Father of the Turks." And he was outlining a vision for the future: a future where old empires were buried and new nations reigned supreme. That vision would resonate beyond the borders of the new Turkey, becoming a shining example for leaders around the world of how to build a single unified national identity ? no matter the cost.

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2023-10-26
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The Dance of the Dead (2021)

Long before it was a sugary moviefest, the Halloween we know was called Samhain. The Celts of ancient Ireland believed Samhain was a night when the barrier between worlds was thin, the dead could cross over, and if you didn't disguise yourself, evil fairies might spirit you away. Over time the holiday shape-shifted too, thanks to the Catholic Church, pagan groups, and even the brewing company Coors. From the Great Famine of Ireland to Elvira and the Simpsons, we present the many faces of Halloween.

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2023-10-19
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The Contradictions of Abraham Lincoln

In 1855, Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to his best friend, Joshua Speed. Speed was from a wealthy, slave-owning Kentucky family; Lincoln believed slavery was wrong. You are mistaken about this, Lincoln wrote to Speed. But, differ we must." One way for Lincoln to have dealt with his best friend, I suppose, would be to say you're a horrible person, you're morally wrong, and I shun you," says NPR's Steve Inskeep. "Lincoln did not take that approach, which I think might be a little controversial today."You might know Steve primarily for hosting NPR's Morning Edition. He also writes histories, and his newest book, "Differ We Must: How Lincoln Succeeded in a Divided America," takes a long hard look at Lincoln the politician: the man who went out of his way to build political consensus, even with people whose views he considered noxious. It's a case for why we should collaborate, and yes, compromise with people across the aisle ? not because it's nice or the right thing to do, but because it makes our government work. Today on Throughline, a conversation with Steve Inskeep about the contradictions of Abraham Lincoln.

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2023-10-12
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Two Miles Down The Road

Deborah and Ken Ferruccio saw the toxic chemical spill while they were driving home late one summer night in 1978: a big smelly swath of brown oil on the side of the road. Reverend Willie T. Ramey saw it too. He was a pastor at two local churches and a respected community leader. And not long after that highway spill, he agreed to meet the Ferruccios just after midnight in a barn in Warren County, North Carolina. The Ferruccios told Reverend Ramey they needed his help. Someone was dumping toxic waste in their county, and they needed to organize. Today on the show: how a group of local citizens in a poor, rural, majority Black community came together to fight an iconic battle for environmental justice ? and how their work laid a path that leads right up to today.

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2023-10-05
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Tenochtitlán: A Retelling of the Conquest (2021)

In a sense, 1521 is Mexico's 1619. A foundational moment that for centuries has been shaped by just one perspective: a European one. The story of how Hernán Cortés and a few hundred Spaniards conquered the mighty Aztec Empire, in the heart of what's now modern Mexico City, has become a foundational myth of European dominance in the Americas. And for a long time it was largely accepted as truth. But in recent decades researchers have pieced together a more nuanced, complicated version based on Indigenous accounts: a version that challenges what one historian calls "the greatest PR job in the history of the West." In this episode, the real story of the fall of Tenochtitlán.

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2023-09-28
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David v Goliath

In the year 1258, more than 100,000 soldiers amassed outside the great Islamic city of Baghdad. They were the Mongol Army, led by the grandson of the fearsome Genghis Khan. Within weeks, they'd left the city ? which had stood as the center of power and commerce in the Muslim world for nearly 500 years ? smoldering in a grotesque heap. And that was just the beginning. The Mongols would continue to push West, conquering Muslim cities until there was just one left in their way: Cairo.

In the valley where it is said David once met Goliath, an unlikely group of slave soldiers fought a battle that would decide the fate of the Islamic world. A battle you may never have heard of that's as important to world history as D-Day or Gettysburg. It's a story full of personal and societal rivalries, political scheming, vengeance, and treachery ? a real-life Game of Thrones. The Battle of Ayn Jalut.

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2023-09-21
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A Tale of Two Tribal Nations

The word "reservation" implies "reserved" ? as in, this land is reserved for Native Americans. But most reservation land actually isn't owned by tribes. Instead it's checkerboarded into private farmland, federal forests, summer camps, even resorts. That's true for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in northern Minnesota, where the tribe owns just a tiny fraction of its reservation land. But just northwest of Leech Lake is Red Lake: one of the only reservations in the country where the tribe owns all of its land. So what happened? In this episode, we take a road trip through Leech Lake and Red Lake to tell a tale of two tribal nations, the moments of choice that led them down very different paths, and what the future looks like from where they are now

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2023-09-14
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Silicon Island (2022)

In a world where computer chips run everything from laptops to cars to the Nintendo Switch, Taiwan is the undisputed leader. It's one of the most powerful tech centers in the world ? so powerful that both China and the U.S. have vital interests there. But if you went back to the Taiwan of the 1950s, this would have seemed unimaginable. It was a quiet, sleepy island; an agrarian culture. Fifty years later, it experienced what many recall as an "economic miracle" ? a transformation into not just one of Asia's economic powerhouses, but one of the world's.

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2023-09-07
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How Korean Culture Went Global (2022)

From BTS to Squid Game to high-end beauty standards, South Korea reigns as a global exporter of pop culture and entertainment. Just 70 years ago, it would have seemed impossible. For the next episode in our "Superpower" series, exploring U.S. connections to East Asia, we tell the story of South Korea's rise from a war-decimated state to a major driver of global soft power: a story of war, occupation, economic crisis, and national strategy that breaks around the world as the Korean Wave.

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2023-08-31
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By Accident of Birth (2022)

In August of 1895, a ship called the SS Coptic approached the coast of Northern California. On that boat was a passenger from San Francisco, a young man named Wong Kim Ark. He was returning home after visiting his wife and child in China, and he'd taken similar trips before. But when the ship docked, officials told him he couldn't get off. The customs agent barred him according to the Chinese Exclusion Act, which denied citizenship to Chinese immigrants.

Though Wong Kim Ark had been born in the U.S. and lived his whole life here, the agent said he was not a citizen. U.S. history, politics, and culture is deeply linked to East Asian countries like China, South Korea, and Taiwan.

This month, we're telling some of those stories, in our series "Superpower." Today, the story of Wong Kim Ark, whose epic fight to be recognized as a citizen in his own country led to a Supreme Court decision affirming birthright citizenship for all.

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2023-08-24
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The Characters That Built China (2022)

Today, China is a global superpower. But less than two hundred years ago, the nation was in a state of decline. After what became known as the 'century of humiliation' at the hands of Western imperialist powers, its very survival was in question. A movement arose to fight off foreign interference and preserve Chinese culture in the face of intense pressure from a rapidly-changing world. And the key to that movement was language.In this episode, we follow three key reformers who worked to modernize written and spoken Chinese, sometimes risking their lives to do so. Their work simplified Chinese, standardized it, and took it from an inaccessible language built for the elite to a modern language for the masses. It was a struggle that spanned generations, changed the fate of millions of people, and helped create the powerful modern nation-state of China.

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2023-08-17
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The Lavender Scare

One day in late April 1958, a young economist named Madeleine Tress was approached by two men in suits at her office at the U.S. Department of Commerce. They took her to a private room, turned on a tape recorder, and demanded she respond to allegations that she was an "admitted homosexual." Two weeks later, she resigned. Madeleine was one of thousands of victims of a purge of gay and lesbian people ordered at the highest levels of the U.S. government: a program spurred by a panic that destroyed careers and lives and lasted more than forty years. Today, it's known as the "Lavender Scare." In a moment when LGBTQ+ rights are again in the public crosshairs, we tell the story of the Lavender Scare: its victims, its proponents, and a man who fought for decades to end it.

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2023-08-10
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Getting to Sesame Street (2022)

American schools have always been more than where we go to learn the ABCs: They're places where socialization happens and cultural norms are developed. And arguments over what those norms are and how they're communicated tend to flare up during moments of cultural anxiety ? like the one we're in now.

When it premiered in 1969, the kids' TV show Sesame Street was part of a larger movement to reach lower-income, less privileged and more "urban" children. It was part of LBJ's Great Society agenda. And though it was funded in part by taxpayer dollars, Sesame Street is a TV show, not a classroom, and it set out to answer the question of what it means to educate kids. Today: how a television show made to represent Harlem and the Bronx reached children across a divided country, and how the conversations on the street have changed alongside us

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2023-08-03
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The Hidden War

How does a country go from its leader winning the Nobel Peace Prize to all-out war in just one year? That's the question surrounding Ethiopia, which has become embroiled in one of the deadliest wars of the 21st century. The U.S. has called it an ethnic cleansing campaign against Tigrayans, a minority group in the country; some human rights organizations have called it a genocide. But many people outside Ethiopia and its diaspora had no idea it was happening. In U.S. media, it's hardly discussed, even as violence has intensified throughout the country. In this episode, we tell the story of Ethiopia ? the oldest independent country in Africa ? and the political, cultural and religious factors that led to this war.

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2023-07-27
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All Wars Are Fought Twice (2022)

"All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory," writes Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen. This week on Throughline, we want to pause the news cycle to think about not just how war is experienced or consumed, but how it's remembered. A refugee from the Vietnam War, Nguyen calls himself a scholar of memory ? someone who studies how we remember events of the past, both as people and as nations. As the war in Ukraine continues and conflicts around the globe displace millions, we speak with Nguyen about national memory, selective forgetting, and the refugee stories that might ultimately help us move forward.

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2023-07-20
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No Bad Ideas?

Humans have always created. But historian Samuel W. Franklin argues that "creativity" didn't become a social value until the Cold War. Today, we're at another inflection point for humanity, technology, and national identity. The meaning of originality is blurring; there are legal disputes about what constitutes original art; and AI can write a song like your favorite artist in seconds. So what does it mean to put creativity on a pedestal? And what would it look like to tear it down? On this episode, we talk with Franklin, author of "The Cult of Creativity: A Surprisingly Recent History," about original thinking, AI, and how the human drive to create gets branded, packaged, and sold.

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2023-07-13
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The Legacy of Henry Kissinger

Depending on where you stand, Henry Kissinger is either a foreign policy mastermind or a war criminal. Some see him as a brilliant strategist who made tough but necessary decisions to advance American interests in a complex world; others point to his infamous order that American warplanes should "bomb anything that flies, on anything that moves" as evidence that he bears responsibility for the loss of countless civilian lives. But one thing both sides agree on is that few figures in the 20th century have had a more profound influence on how the U.S. conducts foreign policy.Kissinger grew up in an orthodox Jewish household in Germany, under the shadow of the Nazis' rise to power; he and his family fled to the U.S. when he was a teenager. Professor Jeremi Suri, author of "Henry Kissinger and the American Century," argues that Kissinger's experiences during the Holocaust have informed his approach to global politics throughout his career, as well as his relationship with democracy, war, and power. Today on the show, how Henry Kissinger shaped, and was shaped by, the 20th century.

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2023-07-06
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After Roe: A New Battlefield (2022)

The Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade transformed the landscape of abortion rights overnight. For the doctors, lawyers, feminists, and others who had fought for nationwide legalization, Roe was the end of a long battle. But for the growing movement against abortion rights, it was the beginning of a new battle: to protect the fetus, challenge abortion providers, and ultimately overturn Roe. This is the story of how opponents of abortion rights banded together, built power, and launched one of the most successful grassroots campaigns of the past century.

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2023-06-29
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The Labor Of Love

There's a powerful fantasy in American society: the fantasy of the ideal mother. This mother is devoted to her family above all else. She raises the kids, volunteers at the school, cleans the house, plans the birthday parties, cares for her own parents. She's a natural nurturer. And she's happy to do it all for free. Problem is? She's imaginary. And yet the idea of her permeates our culture, our economy, and our social policy ? and it distorts them. The U.S. doesn't have universal health insurance or universal childcare. We don't have federally mandated paid family leave or a meaningful social safety net for when times get rough. Instead, we have this imaginary mother. We've structured our society as though she exists ? but she doesn't. And we all pay the real-life price.

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2023-06-22
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