Ira tells the story about how Scott first got into radio. He was listening to a story on the radio one day, thought "I can do that," and promptly hitchhiked across the country to Washington, to the headquarters of NPR.
Adam Gopnik reads a story from his book Paris to the Moon, about living in Paris with his family and wanting his son to be a bit more American. He tells him a bedtime story about the most American thing he can think of: baseball.
Is Paris still the racially tolerant place that Richard Wright and James Baldwin discovered in the 1940s? Janet McDonald talks about whether African-Americans are still welcomed in Paris so warmly, even after a half century of African migration to the city. Also: Why it's sometimes better for her to put on a bad American accent.
Writer Bill Buford reads from his book Among the Thugs. In it he sets out to try and understand the soccer hooligans who were rioting in ways large and small on a regular basis after soccer matches. It's a remarkable book—in turns funny, and then horrifying.
Three days into the beginning of the new millenium, Kahari Mosley and Garcia Suzinko left home to do something they'd never done before: They took a twelve-hour bus ride to New Hampshire to volunteer for a Presidential campaign. What they saw...and what moved them to volunteer in the first place.
Students in a French language class in Paris try to explain holiday customs to a woman from Morocco, and somehow everything they describe sounds utterly improbable. A true story from writer David Sedaris, recorded before a live audience at a reading for City Arts and Lectures in San Francisco.
This American Life host Ira Glass and producer Susan Burton spent a week in August recording a suburban Chicago youth group at every stage of their very first mission trip. The teenagers were from Covenant Presbyterian Church in Chicago.
These teenagers are the children the Christian right has in mind when it holds conferences on what's at stake in America's culture war. On the fourteen-hour drive to West Virginia, we listen to the Backstreet Boys and talk about Dawson's Creek. One of the things that's so interesting about these teenagers is the odd mix of Christian and secular pop in their lives.
We end our show with a story of city life and the natural world co-existing peacefully. Iggy Scam went on a mission seeking urban fisherman—guys who throw down fishing poles right down in the middle of the big city, often in the most polluted industrial environments possible.
Writer Meghan Daum goes to DeSmet, South Dakota, where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived and where many of the books she wrote in the Little House on the Prairie series are set. It turns out to be remarkably similar to what Meghan had pictured before she went: The people seem like they are genuinely trying to hold on to the values Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about in her books.
It can be frightening to get lost, but what if you could adapt the thrill of being lost, the pleasure of being lost, to safe parameters? Just get a little lost. Is it even possible? Or is that playing with fire, where you're sure to get burned? Writer David Sedaris has these thoughts.
The story of the lengths a father will go to to retrieve a lost teddy bear, and why—after he's enlisted many other parents to help him wade through tens of thousands of bags of trash to find it—none of the parents involved think he's nuts.
Host Ira Glass with Eddy Harris. The first time Eddie set foot in a black nation in Africa, a man at the border found out he was an American—a black American—and said "Welcome home." But Eddy Harris says the Motherland doesn't really feel much like home.