Erik Larson has read lots of captain’s logs while researching big historical events. When he found the log of Captain Walther Schwieger, the guy who headed the U-boat that sank the Lusitania, he knew something didn’t sound right.
Host Ira Glass speaks with Jim McManus, whose book Positively Fifth Street inspired Ira to start playing poker. Jim talks about holding and folding, why a poker novice is sometimes the toughest player to beat...and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Ira Glass speaks with several members of the Planet Money team, who all found themselves—in the course of their reporting—independently asking the same stoner-ish question: What is money? Ira and Planet Money producer Jacob Goldstein discuss a pre-industrial society on the island of Yap that used giant stones as currency. The book that Jacob read about Yap is called The Island of Stone Money.
Ira talks with reporter My Thuan Tran of The Los Angeles Times about how San Jose City Councilwoman Madison Nguyen went from being the "golden child" of the Vietnamese community to someone who faced weekly protests and a hunger striker. Turns out red-baiting is alive and well in the Vietnamese-American community.
Host Ira Glass introduces four characters: Kay McDonald, who raised a daughter named Sue, and Mary Miller, who raised a daughter named Marti. In 1994, Mary Miller wrote letters to Sue and Marti, confessing the secret she'd kept for 43 years: The daughters had been switched at birth and raised by the wrong families.
In this show, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Ira and David Hauptschein explored this now utterly quaint question: Are people having experiences on the Internet they wouldn't have anywhere else? Several hundred listeners sent in samples of what they were finding on the Internet. A guy offers a girl a late-night tour of Microsoft...and this actually makes him seem hot.
Every city's got a place like this: that weird no man's land on the outskirts of town, with junk yards and landfills. Charlie Gregerson grew up near that stuff, on Chicago's far south side, and he remembers finding debris from famous Louis Sullivan masterpieces in the garbage dump after those buildings were demolished.
Ira explains that our show's a little different this week. It consists of one long story, lasting the entire hour, about a young boy, an abandoned house, and the mysterious family who once lived there and then seemed to disappear without a trace.
In 1946, a man named David Boder started to investigate the Holocaust before it was known as the Holocaust. He dragged a primitive recording device around Europe and gathered the first recorded testimonials of concentration camp survivors.
Host Ira Glass joins a group of tourists to walk through the captured German submarine that's on permanent display at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. He notes that the Museum chooses to underplay the murderous Nazi origins of the boat.
Host Ira Glass tells the story of a time capsule project designed to document our lives so that people a thousand years from now can know what we were like. Ira explains that when a friend of his got involved in the time capsule, Ira realized that he hates the people of the future.
Dirty political attacks go back to the very beginning of the American Republic. What's different today, says historian Richard Norton Smith, is that television and the other electronic media have made our contact with the candidates so intimate.
Host Ira Glass talks with Stephen Nissenbaum, author of a history called The Battle for Christmas, which explains when people started believing in a Santa who arrives Christmas Eve carrying presents. It was in 1822, and incredibly, the poem that created our modern idea of Santa is still around, known by heart by tens of millions.
Host Ira Glass describes the moment when black single mothers became a national political issue—and a national symbol. It was 1965, when a young Assistant Secretary of Labor named Daniel Patrick Moynihan issued a report calling for action on the issue of African-American single mothers, and black leaders, including the Rev.
Ira talks about the classic biography of an American pimp, Iceberg Slim's Pimp: The Story of My Life, and explains today's show. He warns listeners that although there's no sex in the show at all, there is a scene or two in which men hit women.
Modern-day fables of two different kinds of do-gooders during and after the 1994 genocide in the African country of Rwanda. Philip Gourevich, author of the book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, tells first about international relief workers who served as "caterers" to some of the Hutu powers as they continued their policy of ethnic cleansing after fleeing to refugee camps.