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Sarah Vowell

Sarah's the author of several books and has a great, classic radio voice that sounds like no one else. Some of her most popular stories are in these episodes: 81, 104, 107, 118, 151.
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Act 3: The Homesick Explorer

This American Life contributor Sarah Vowell tells the story of a mapmaker named Charles Preuss who charted the Western Territories with two of American history's legendary explorers—John Charles Fremont and Kit Carson. The maps Preuss made were best sellers and helped open the Western frontier to settlement.

Act 3: French Kiss

This American Life contributing editor Sarah Vowell tells the story of General Lafayette's triumphant reunion with America after becoming really, really unpopular in his native France. Sarah is the author of Take the Cannoli: Stories from the New World, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, and, most recently, Assassination Vacation.

Act 1: History

Sarah Vowell has a theory that you can tell the entire history of the United States by standing on one street corner—specifically at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive in Chicago—and describing all the events that happened within eyeshot of the corner. She covers three centuries of history, from Louis Joliet to Keanu Reeves.

Act 1: Act One

Sarah Vowell and her twin sister Amy re-trace the Trail of Tears. They visit the town in Georgia that was the capital of the Cherokee Nation before the Cherokee were expelled.

Act 2: Act Two

Sarah Vowell's story continues. She and Amy visit the home of President Andrew Jackson, the villain in the Trail of Tears drama.

Act 2: The World's Most Perfect Pneumatic Vacuum

Canadians not getting any respect in two locales: A town called Little Canada, Minnesota; and in Canada, where a guy doing a Canadian-heritage art project gets ribbed by his neighbors, who joke that there is no Canadian culture to celebrate. Then, Sarah Vowell speaks with Ian Brown, formerly the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's long-running program Sunday Morning. They arm wrestle over what it means to be a Canadian, what it means to be an American, and whether the two are the same.