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Throughline

Author: NPR

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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.
53 Episodes
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Soleimani's Iran

Soleimani's Iran

2020-01-2300:48:0011

When Qassem Soleimani was assassinated by the United States on January 3rd, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander suddenly became a household name. But in Iran, he's been a potent symbol for decades, shaping conflicts in the region and with the U.S. In this episode, the origins of the shadow commander and the complicated legacy of what he means to Iran.
Everybody Knows Somebody

Everybody Knows Somebody

2020-01-1600:59:1320

In the mid-1980's a woman who didn't consider herself a feminist was asked to solve perhaps the biggest problem women face. How she and a small group of people seized on that rare moment and fought back in the hopes that something could finally be done.
There Will Be Bananas

There Will Be Bananas

2020-01-0900:56:5325

The banana is a staple of the American diet and has been for generations. But how did this exotic tropical fruit become so commonplace? How one Brooklyn-born entrepreneur ruthlessly created the modern banana industry and the infamous banana republics.
Resistance Is Futile

Resistance Is Futile

2020-01-0200:37:0412

Artificial intelligence, gene modification, and self-driving cars are causing fear and uncertainty about how technology is changing our lives. But humans have struggled to accept innovations throughout history. In this episode, we explore three innovations that transformed the world and show how people have adapted — and ask whether we can do the same today.
The Moth

The Moth

2019-12-2600:36:2813

Vladimir Putin has been running Russia since 2000 when he was first elected as President. How did a former KGB officer make his way up to the top seat — was it political prowess or was he just the recipient of a lot of good fortune? In this episode, we dive into the life of Vladimir Putin and try to understand how he became Russia's new "tsar."
The Phoebus Cartel

The Phoebus Cartel

2019-12-1900:34:5513

Have you ever wondered why your smartphone or toaster oven doesn't seem to last very long, even though technology is becoming better and better? In a special collaboration with Planet Money, we bring you the history of planned obsolescence – the idea that products are designed to break.
America's Opioid Epidemic

America's Opioid Epidemic

2019-12-1200:46:1119

A record number of Americans have died from opioid overdoses in recent years. But how did we get here? And is this the first time Americans have faced this crisis? The short answer: no. Three stories of opioids that have plagued Americans for more than 150 years.
The Grid

The Grid

2019-12-0500:44:1321

Today, electricity in the U.S. is a utility we notice only when it's suddenly unavailable. But over a hundred years ago, electricity in the homes of every American was a wild idea and the subject of a bitter fight over who would power, and profit from, the national grid. This week, the battle that electrified our world and the extreme measures that were taken to get there.
Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy Theories

2019-11-2800:43:4822

This week we're revisiting one of our favorite episodes about one of our favorite topics: Conspiracy theories. They're a feature of today's news and politics. But they've really been a part of American life since its founding. In this episode, we'll explore how conspiracy theories helped to create the U.S. and how they became the currency of political opportunists.
A Year Of Wonders

A Year Of Wonders

2019-11-2100:41:1623

As extreme weather wreaks havoc around the globe we look at a natural disaster more than 200 hundred years ago that had far-reaching effects. This week, how the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki awed, terrified and disrupted millions around the world and changed the course of history.
The Siege of Mecca

The Siege of Mecca

2019-11-1400:44:2831

On November 20th, 1979, a group of Islamic militants seized Islam's holiest site — the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. They took thousands of hostages and held the holy site for two weeks, shocking the Islamic world. This week, how one man led an uprising that would have repercussions around the world and inspire the future of Islamic extremism.
NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel shares the story of Nazi Germany's attempt to build a nuclear reactor — and how evidence of that effort was almost lost to history. It's a tale he heard from Timothy Koeth and Miriam Hiebert at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park.
No Friend But The Mountains

No Friend But The Mountains

2019-11-0700:43:5425

Over the decades the Kurds have been inspired by, allied with, relied upon and betrayed by the United States. This week we explore who the Kurds are, who they are to the United States and what, if anything, we owe to them.
ZOMBIES

ZOMBIES

2019-10-3100:44:0216

Zombies have become a global phenomenon — there have been at least ten zombie movies so far this year. Which made us wonder, where did this fascination for the undead come from? This week, how one of our favorite monsters is a window into Haiti's history and the horrors of slavery.
The Dark Side Of The Moon

The Dark Side Of The Moon

2019-10-2400:40:3821

50 years ago the world watched as man first landed on the moon, an incredible accomplishment by the engineers and scientists of NASA. But what if some of those same engineers and scientists had a secret history that the U.S. government tried to hide? This week, the story of how the U.S. space program was made possible by former Nazis.
A Borrowed Time

A Borrowed Time

2019-10-1700:44:0523

Over the past six months, demonstrations in Hong Kong have increasingly become more violent and more determined. What started out as a protest against a proposed extradition law has now become a call for China to recognize Hong Kong's semi-autonomy. But what is at the root of this tumultuous relationship between Hong Kong and China? This week, how Hong Kong became one of the most important, and most contested, cities in the world.
The Commentator

The Commentator

2019-10-1000:30:5420

Today the foundations of philosophy are seen as a straight line from Western antiquity, built on thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle. But, between the 8th century and 14th century, the West was greatly overshadowed by the Islamic world and philosophy was in very different hands. This week, how one Medieval Islamic philosopher put his pen to paper and shaped the modern world.
High Crimes and Misdemeanors

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

2019-10-0300:19:2914

When Andrew Johnson became president in 1865, the United States was in the middle of one of its most volatile chapters. The country was divided after fighting a bloody civil war and had just experienced the first presidential assassination. We look at how these factors led to the first presidential impeachment in American history.
American Exile

American Exile

2019-09-2600:55:1516

For centuries, the United States has been a prime destination for migrants hoping for better economic opportunities, fleeing danger in their home countries or just seeking a new life. But has there ever been a moment when Americans were the ones who felt compelled to flee elsewhere? In this episode, two stories that challenge the idea of who and why Americans sought refuge in other countries.
Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

2019-09-1901:06:2125

Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory in 1898 and for much of the next fifty years Puerto Ricans fought fiercely about this status. Should they struggle for independence, or to be a U.S. state, or something in between? 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.
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Comments (132)

Behnam Rezaeian Moghadam

wow, I bet even Pentagon couldn't tell the story as one-sided and cynical as you did. I guess being the world's most powerful government gives you the right to illegally  invade and occupy another country and if some locals fight back you can always count on so called independent journalists to moan for your dead soldiers. At the end their lost is more important than casualties of local 3rd world citizens.

Jan 27th
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Ty Judd

Full of Liberal Propaganda as Quessam Soleimoni & his organization was labeled as a Terrorist group in 2013 by the UN & President Barrack Hussein Obama NOT in 2019 under President Trump like they try to claim! The people at NPR should be disgusted and ASHAMED of themself for repeating MSNBC & CNN LIES!

Jan 24th
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Jonathan Sykes

Very well done episode. Glad you got this out while he is still on the minds of Americans.

Jan 23rd
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Alex Mercedes

great episode!!

Jan 19th
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Hoi_Pollois

What a story! Ignited by a horrifically violent event in Montreal, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Joe Biden wanted something to happen. Victoria went to law school for securities law, but as the only woman on the Senate Judiciary Committee she was chosen to do SOMETHING about women. This is the story of how the 🇺🇸 came to see, understand + act to prevent Violence Against Women. Zigzagged as progress has been, it's not over. The throughline brings us into present with the #MeToo movement + it's *still* not settled.

Jan 16th
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Brian Fuhrman

I’m really disappointed in your decision to run this as a Joe Biden ad in the middle of a Democratic primary. Lost all credibility with me!

Jan 16th
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Lacey Wahl

super interesting and infuriating. I hate how I feel like it's an innate sense of superiority and fomo.

Jan 11th
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Backtofront

great back story! not quite the story I've been brought up hearing.... would love to hear a show about Suleimani life before being murdered by the US

Jan 6th
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Adrianne W

Rebroadcast? why? love the show otherwise.

Jan 5th
Reply (1)

Dre

Yes it was. And it’s also pro-putin...

Jan 3rd
Reply (1)

Milky Way

Great job, guys

Jan 1st
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William Densmore

wasn't this released a long time ago?

Dec 30th
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Juliana Quist

This is one of my favorite podcasts. Thorough and well researched. But, please, please enunciate your "t's" when you speak. The word is kitten not "ki-en". It is really distracting and detracts from a story being told by professional journalists.

Dec 12th
Reply (1)

Kaitlyn Houle

where did the episode of hong Kong history go??

Dec 11th
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Angela H

Same garbage and same trashman 2019!

Nov 22nd
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Angela H

War over pushing drugs into someone else's country!

Nov 20th
Reply (1)

Jake Smith

Lebron James is not the most famous athlete in the world.

Nov 19th
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Stefan Mathew

great episode guys! again! I just love listening to your show. Could you please create an episode on the Israel-Palestine conflict?

Nov 17th
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Guillermo Quinones

Very interesting topic. It's amazing to understand the role of this person in the study and understanding the teachings of ancient philosophers. But more refreshing is the notion of a world with respect to all no matter your religion or ethnicity. A pitty this is not in our age.

Nov 14th
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Angela Gloria

Throughline does a great job giving a comprehensive and engaging view of the background to current issues. really thankful :)

Nov 10th
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