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The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.
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33:01 | Sep 5th

How one organization changed the American public's relationship with waste and who is ultimately responsible for it.

44:47 | Apr 4th

Three stories of opioids that have plagued Americans for more than 150 years.
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48:46 | Aug 15th

From the creation of the first penitentiaries in the 1800s, to the "tough-on-crime" prosecutors of the 1990s, how America created a culture of mass incarceration.

55:32 | Sep 26th

In this episode, two stories that challenge the idea of who and why Americans sought refuge in other countries.

34:11 | Sep 12th

We sat down with renowned filmmaker Ken Burns to talk about his new documentary series Country music and his process as a storyteller.
More Podcasts from NPR

31:23 | Aug 22nd

How singing "Strange Fruit" turned Billie Holiday into one of the first victims of the War on Drugs.

31:42 | Aug 8th

Colonial powers used concentration camps at the turn of the 19th century to crush rebellions. How a war between Britain and Boers gave rise to some of the first camps.

56:12 | Jun 13th

Evangelicals have played an important role in modern day American politics, but what exactly does it means to be an evangelical today and how it has changed over time?

22:22 | May 2nd

A deadly smallpox epidemic in the early 1900s and a Boston-area minister who refused mandatory vaccination β€” how his case ended up in front of the Supreme Court.

32:46 | Mar 28th

This week, in a special collaboration with Planet Money, we bring you the history of planned obsolescence – the idea that products are designed to break.

46:12 | Dec 12th

Three stories of opioids that have plagued Americans for more than 150 years.

43:27 | Dec 5th

The battle that electrified our world and the extreme measures that were taken to get there.

43:48 | Nov 28th

In this episode, we'll explore how conspiracy theories helped to create the U.S. and how they became the currency of political opportunists.

41:06 | Nov 21st

This week, how the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki awed, terrified and disrupted millions around the world and changed the course of history.

44:21 | Nov 14th

This week, how one man led an uprising that would have repercussions around the world and inspire the future of Islamic extremism.

25:05 | Nov 9th

NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel shares the story of Nazi Germany's attempt to build a nuclear reactor β€” and how evidence of that effort was almost lost to history.

43:59 | Nov 7th

This week we explore who the Kurds are, who they are to the United States and what, if anything, we owe to them.

43:52 | Oct 31st

This week, how one of our favorite monsters is a window into Haiti's history and the horrors of slavery.

40:42 | Oct 24th

This week, the story of how the U.S. space program was made possible by former Nazis.

44:06 | Oct 17th

This week, how Hong Kong became one of the most important, and most contested, cities in the world.

30:41 | Oct 10th

This week, how one Medieval Islamic philosopher put his pen to paper and shaped the modern world.

19:32 | Oct 3rd

This week we return to 1868 and the first presidential impeachment in U.S. history β€” President Andrew Johnson.

1:06:36 | Sep 19th

In this episode, we look at Puerto Rico's relationship with the mainland U.S. and the key figures who shaped the island's fate.

40:12 | Aug 29th

We explore three stories of protest in sports that are often overlooked but essential to understanding the current debate: Jack Johnson, Wilma Rudolph, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

32:00 | Aug 1st

Who was Huey Long? He was a politician that combined progressive economic ideas with an autocratic streak, leading FDR to call him one of the most dangerous men in America.

36:41 | Jul 25th

How a plan to end segregation by busing in Detroit went to the Supreme Court and had lasting implications for the rest of the country.

50:04 | Jul 18th

For the last 40 years, the U.S. and Iran have been in almost continual conflict. We look at three different moments in this conflict to better understand where it might go next.

38:40 | Jul 11th

This week, we revisit our very first episode about an event from August 1953 β€” when the CIA helped to overthrow Iran's Prime Minister.

28:02 | Jul 4th

This week, we share three stories from NPR Music's American Anthem series that highlight the origins of songs that have become ingrained in American culture.

40:25 | Jun 27th

The protests at The Stonewall Inn 50 years ago fueled the gay rights movement. But gay activists were fighting harassment and discrimination years before.