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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.
72 Episodes
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American Police

American Police

2020-06-0401:04:455

Black Americans being victimized and killed by the police is an epidemic. A truth many Americans are acknowledging since the murder of George Floyd, as protests have occurred in all fifty states calling for justice on his behalf. But this tension between African American communities and the police has existed for centuries. This week, the origins of American policing and how those origins put violent control of Black Americans at the heart of the system.
Hong Kong

Hong Kong

2020-05-2845:585

Last week, the Chinese government made the latest and perhaps the most serious move yet to crack down on Hong Kong's semi-autonomy. It's just the latest such effort by Beijing in the decades-long tensions between China and Hong Kong and it seems to take advantage of the quarantine calm that has subdued months of protests. But when did these tensions begin and what have Hong Kongers been fighting for?
Conspiracy

Conspiracy

2020-05-2142:583

Since the beginning of the pandemic, conspiracy theories about the coronavirus have exploded. But conspiracy theories themselves are nothing new - in fact, they're fundamental to American life. In this episode, how conspiracy theories helped to create the U.S. and became the currency of political opportunists.
The Mask

The Mask

2020-05-1441:237

The N95 respirator has become one of the most coveted items in the world, especially by medical professionals. But how did this seemingly simple mask become the lifesaving tool it is today? From bird beaks to wrapping paper to bras, we follow the curious history of one of the most important defenses in our fight against COVID-19.
Endless War

Endless War

2020-05-0736:206

North Korea's famous for being a black box, one of the most secretive and authoritarian countries in the world. It has a nuclear stockpile. A history of erratic behavior. And a particular fixation on antagonizing the outside world — especially the United States. This cycle of antagonism isn't an accident – the U.S. has played a formative role in the history of North Korea. And North Korea's leaders have been invoking that history from the very beginning.
Meltdown

Meltdown

2020-04-3054:516

In the early hours of March 28, 1979, a system malfunction began what would become the worst nuclear accident in American history. What ensued punctured the public's belief in the safety of nuclear energy and became an awful study in the consequences of communication breakdown during a crisis. This week, the fallout of who and what to trust when a catastrophic event occurs.
Aftermath

Aftermath

2020-04-2355:375

In 1927, the most destructive river flood in U.S. history inundated seven states, displaced more than half a million people for months, and caused about $1 billion dollars in property damages. And like many national emergencies it exposed a stark question that the country still struggles to answer - what is the political calculus used to decide who bears the ultimate responsibility in a crisis, especially when it comes to the most vulnerable? This week, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and what came after.
Buzzkill

Buzzkill

2020-04-1635:216

In the whole of human history, no predator has killed more of us than the lowly mosquito. And this killing spree, which we still struggle in vain to stop, means the mosquito has been an outsized force in our history — from altering the fate of empires to changing our DNA. This week, three stories of the quiet legacy and the potential future of the mosquito.
The Principal Chief of Cherokee Nation told his people to stay strong during this pandemic, and to remember how much they've endured over a long history that includes the Trail of Tears. This week, we share an episode from Code Switch that takes a look at an almost 200-year-old Cherokee family feud, the right to representation and what both things have to do with the Trail of Tears.
A Race To Know

A Race To Know

2020-04-0241:544

For nearly as long as there has been a United States there has been a census, it is in some ways how we know ourselves. And in every single census there has been at least one question about race. The evolution of these questions and the fight over asking them is at the heart of the American story. This week, how race has played a central role in who is counted-in America.
1918 Flu

1918 Flu

2020-03-2638:419

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic it's tempting to draw comparisons to the most severe pandemic in recent history - the 1918 flu. But as much as we can learn from the comparison, it's important to also understand just how much these two pandemics differ. This week, what we can learn from what happened then and, just as importantly, where the comparison should end.
American Socialist

American Socialist

2020-03-1901:03:377

It's been over a century since a self-described socialist was a viable candidate for President of the United States. And that first socialist candidate, Eugene V. Debs, didn't just capture significant votes, he created a new and enduring populist politics deep in the American grain. This week, the story of Eugene V. Debs and the creation of American socialism.
Savarkar And India

Savarkar And India

2020-03-1232:37

In the past few weeks Delhi has become the latest place in India convulsed with religious violence as Hindu mobs burned Muslim neighborhoods, mosques and killed over 40 people. The violence comes in the wake of a new citizenship law that excludes undocumented Muslims, but it also follows years of incendiary rhetoric and policies from the ascendant right-wing Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, and India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. As the political philosophy of Hindu nationalism gains ground in India we look back at one of its architects - Vinayak Savarkar.
Public Universal Friend

Public Universal Friend

2020-03-0548:192

America in the run-up to the Revolutionary War wasn't just a period of dramatic political change, it was also a time of great religious and social instability, anxiety and experimentation. And in the midst of it all there arose a self-proclaimed genderless prophet — the Public Universal Friend. This week, how the Public Universal Friend rocked society's norms and paved the way for others to reject religious and gender expectations for centuries to come.
The Invisible Border

The Invisible Border

2020-02-2733:07

Today, the border that divides Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is "soft", in most places you could almost forget that it's there. But for decades it was a deadly flash point in the bitter conflict known as "The Troubles" . This week, we share an episode from Today, Explained that takes a look at the history of this conflict and how Brexit could jeopardize a fragile peace.
The Stars

The Stars

2020-02-2058:35

Astrology has existed for thousands of years and has roots that span the globe. But is it a science or a religion or just a kind of personality test? And why is it more popular than ever? This week, the story of how finding our fates in the stars moved from the fringes to the mainstream and became a multi-billion dollar industry.
Becoming America

Becoming America

2020-02-1332:502

When the United States of America was founded, it was only a union of a small number of states. By the beginning of the 20th century, the United States had become an empire; with states and territories and colonies that spanned the globe. As a result, the country began to not only reconsider its place in the world, but also its very name.
She Got Next

She Got Next

2020-02-0601:01:31

There are more female candidates in this presidential campaign cycle than at any other time in American history. But women were running for the highest office before they could even vote. How three women ran and challenged the notion of who could and should be president of the United States.
Vaccination

Vaccination

2020-01-3023:141

It's a longstanding fight in the U.S., whether people can opt out of vaccination if that means jeopardizing the greater public's health. In this episode, we look back at a 1905 Supreme Court case that set a precedent for whether or not the state can enforce compulsory vaccinations.
Soleimani's Iran

Soleimani's Iran

2020-01-2347:483

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.
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Comments (170)

Lori

Just finished this episode. Y'all said that conspiracies are not just American but also human nature. I realize that I could be opening a bag of worms but I was thinking that this episode explains religions and why we choose to believe them.

May 30th
Reply (5)

William Densmore

You should identify episodes as reruns in the title. I keep listening to reruns on accident. It's especially annoying when I'm driving and have to pull over and pick a different podcast.

May 26th
Reply

Fay

Great job👍👍

May 15th
Reply

Mikhail Sarapulov

Vladimir not Vladamir 😉

May 8th
Reply

Thehubangie

Those poor 'citizens' I've read a short story about one man's journey out. Haunted by it. Good job National PR🤙🖖

May 7th
Reply

Rebecca Boyd

I do love through line so much, I really appreciated this episode. please pleas do one on how the Republican and democratic parties "switched", especially in term of the black voters. please.

May 5th
Reply

Eric van Schaik

Please stop trying to make mad about racism

Apr 8th
Reply (1)

Allie

Fascinating podcast/documentary. I'm not interested in the political topics- (not the fault of this show, I just CAN'T hear any more politics). -So I've only listened to the non-political subjects which are very well produced & informative. This is definitely my kind of cast & is in my "favorites" tab.

Mar 27th
Reply

daisy

comparison

Mar 26th
Reply

Daniel Gallagher

pp

Mar 14th
Reply

karsa orlong

you miss some things that I feel are important so far in the life of this podcasts which make me think you're not doing your best and if you are it's not good enough. not all churches who predicted the second coming are gone. to name two the jehovah's witnesses have done it many times and even the mormons are guilty of making a date up out of thin air. in fact most Christians hope it ends tomorrow. if you dont think he's coming soon then you dont have faith. which I dont because it's all a fools game. the apocalypse will come when the sun burns out or a body too big hits the earth and destroys all life. the end.

Mar 2nd
Reply (1)

Kyle Kuykendall

Astrology is abjectly moronic at best, and dangerous at worst. Painting it with this positive stroke is both illogical and irresponsible. Very disappointed with this episode.

Feb 27th
Reply

Suraj Nair

just when I thought I found a good podcast channel...this episode was an eye opener. I might be wasting my time listening to a show with poor quality research. I doubt this standard of quality might be reflected in other episodes as well. Putting up a corrupt party like Congress on a pedestal is unbelievable.

Feb 26th
Reply

B Muel

Very interesting information, the musical background is loud and distracting and I think mostly unnecessary.

Feb 24th
Reply

Sarang Metkar

The speaker is highly biased and is anti-BJP. I used to value podcast from throughline, however, after listening to this podcast, I am deeply disappointed that throughline invites speakers who are so biased and covers only one side of the story.

Feb 22nd
Reply

Ali Mardani

great content

Feb 18th
Reply

Adrianne W

Wow! wow! wow! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

Feb 18th
Reply

Amie Koivu

Love this podcast! However, the music in this episode was distracting. I had a hard time hearing your guest.

Feb 15th
Reply

Amos Hartley

Loved the content but had an incredibly difficult time listening due to the moderators Vocal Fry. It's mind boggling that someone in the journalism field would not correct this highly unpleasing sound to a listeners ear.

Feb 13th
Reply (1)

Vic Underwood

I wasn't aware of her past. informative. thanks

Feb 12th
Reply
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