Throughline

Throughline

www.npr.org/podcasts/510333/throughline
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.


The Grid
Dec 5 • 43 min
The battle that electrified our world and the extreme measures that were taken to get there.
American Shadows
Nov 28 • 43 min
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
Nov 21 • 41 min
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
Nov 14 • 44 min
This week, how one man led an uprising that would have repercussions around the world and inspire the future of Islamic extremism.
Throughline Presents: Short Wave
Nov 9 • 25 min
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.
No Friend But The Mountains
Nov 7 • 43 min
This week we explore who the Kurds are, who they are to the United States and what, if anything, we owe to them.
ZOMBIES
Oct 31 • 43 min
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
Oct 24 • 40 min
This week, the story of how the U.S. space program was made possible by former Nazis.
A Borrowed Time
Oct 17 • 44 min
This week, how Hong Kong became one of the most important, and most contested, cities in the world.
The Commentator
Oct 10 • 30 min
This week, how one Medieval Islamic philosopher put his pen to paper and shaped the modern world.
High Crimes and Misdemeanors
Oct 3 • 19 min
This week we return to 1868 and the first presidential impeachment in U.S. history — President Andrew Johnson.
American Exile
Sep 26 • 55 min
In this episode, two stories that challenge the idea of who and why Americans sought refuge in other countries.
Puerto Rico
Sep 19 • 66 min
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.
Three Chords And The Truth
Sep 12 • 34 min
We sat down with renowned filmmaker Ken Burns to talk about his new documentary series Country music and his process as a storyteller.
The Litter Myth
Sep 5 • 35 min
How one organization changed the American public’s relationship with waste and who is ultimately responsible for it.
On The Shoulders Of Giants
Aug 29 • 40 min
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.
Strange Fruit
Aug 22 • 31 min
How singing “Strange Fruit” turned Billie Holiday into one of the first victims of the War on Drugs.
Mass Incarceration
Aug 15 • 48 min
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.
Scorched Earth
Aug 8 • 31 min
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.
Huey Long Vs. The Media
Aug 1 • 32 min
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.
Milliken v. Bradley
Jul 25 • 36 min
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.
Rules Of Engagement
Jul 18 • 50 min
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.
Four Days In August
Jul 11 • 38 min
This week, we revisit our very first episode about an event from August 1953 — when the CIA helped to overthrow Iran’s Prime Minister.
American Anthem
Jul 4 • 28 min
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.
Before Stonewall
Jun 27 • 40 min
The protests at The Stonewall Inn 50 years ago fueled the gay rights movement. But gay activists were fighting harassment and discrimination years before.
The X On The Map
Jun 20 • 41 min
How the murder of an unarmed black civil rights activist in 1965 lead to the march to Montgomery that ended in “Bloody Sunday.”
Apocalypse Now
Jun 13 • 56 min
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?
Mitch McConnell
Jun 6 • 33 min
Mitch McConnell is one of the least popular politicians in the country, so how did he win eight consecutive elections? This week, we share an Embedded ep. that traces his history.
Savarkar’s India
May 30 • 34 min
Right-wing Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi has won reelection as Prime Minister of India. We look back at Vinayak Savarkar, one of the architects of Hindu nationalism.
A Dream Of Modern China
May 23 • 47 min
China is a world superpower today. But just over a century ago, the country was in complete turmoil. How one man led a movement to reshape China as we know — Sun Yat-sen.
El Libertador
May 16 • 56 min
We look back at the rise and fall of Venezuela through the lives of two revolutionaries turned authoritarian leaders: Simón Bolívar and Hugo Chávez.
White Nationalism
May 9 • 34 min
How has white nationalism shaped U.S. immigration policy in the 20th century? This week, we share an episode we loved from It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders.
Outbreak
May 2 • 22 min
A deadly smallpox epidemic in the early 1900s and a Boston-area minister who refused mandatory vaccination — how his case ended up in front of the Supreme Court.
Resistance Is Futile
Apr 25 • 37 min
From the tractor to talking robots, society has feared innovations. But usefulness usually overcomes resistance. Is today any different from the past?
War Of The Worlds
Apr 18 • 35 min
Two sects of Islam, 1400 years of history, and three stories to help us better understand the Sunni-Shia divide.
Nancy Pelosi
Apr 11 • 24 min
Nancy Pelosi is widely seen as the most powerful woman in U.S. politics. Follow her rise from a Baltimore political family to becoming Speaker of the House twice.
Opioids In America
Apr 4 • 44 min
Three stories of opioids that have plagued Americans for more than 150 years.
The Phoebus Cartel
Mar 28 • 32 min
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.
The Border
Mar 21 • 15 min
In this week’s episode, the history of militarization at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Moth
Mar 14 • 34 min
In this episode, we dive into the life of Vladimir Putin and try to understand how he became Russia’s new “tsar.”
American Shadows
Mar 7 • 41 min
In this episode, we’ll explore how conspiracy theories helped to create the U.S. and how they became the currency of political opportunists.
High Crimes And Misdemeanors
Feb 28 • 17 min
This week we return to 1868 and the first presidential impeachment in U.S. history — President Andrew Johnson.
The Forgotten War
Feb 21 • 34 min
What’s fueled the hostility between the U.S. and North Korea? We look back at the tangled history.
On the Shoulders of Giants
Feb 14 • 39 min
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.
Four Days in August
Feb 7 • 37 min
This week we look back at four days in August 1953, when the CIA orchestrated a coup of Iran’s elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.
Introducing Throughline
Jan 30 • 2 min
NPR’s new history podcast hosted by Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah. New episodes every Thursday starting February 7th.