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Prologue

Erin Einhorn grew up begging her mother to tell her all about the remarkable story of how she survived World War Two, thanks to a Polish woman named Honorata Skowronski, who risked her life. But her mother didn't like to talk about it.

Act Two: Where's Walter?

Starlee Kine rents a room at a Ramada hotel in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where a ghost supposedly plays pranks on the guests and staff. The ghost's name is Walter, for Walter Schroeder, the guy who originally built the hotel in the 1920s.

Act Three: Giving Up The Ghosts

Writer Shalom Auslander reads his short story about how he decided to start forgetting the dead, even though his job required him to remember. Shalom's most recent book is Hope: A Tragedy.

Act One: Straight Eyes On The Quirin Guys

Chris Neary tells the story of how a bungled Nazi sabotage operation from the early days of World War II has become the legal foundation for the Bush administration's current push to try U.S. citizens in military tribunals. But when you return to the original facts of the case, it's not only unclear if they support current Administration policy, it's unclear if they support the Supreme Court's decision in the original case.

Prologue

Ira talks to historian Ted Widmer about two of the first pen pals in the New World. John Winthrop and Roger Williams were both Puritans in Massachusetts in the 1630s.

Act Five: What Peacetime Forgets About Wartime

A few years back, a writer named Lee Sandlin wrote a story for the weekly paper The Chicago Reader about what makes wartime different—how a country's perceptions and logic during war are fundamentally different than during peace. It was a massive historical article, exhaustively researched.

Act Six: Lessons From Ancient Wars

The story of a preventive act of war committed 3200 years ago, in the land that's now Turkey, not too far from Iraq. Seneca's The Trojan Woman takes place at the end of the Trojan war.

Act Two: God Shed His Grace On Thee

A fable of how America got its name, and how it was named after someone who was a fraud, but the kind of fraud people love, the kind of fraud who knows how to please a crowd. Jack Hitt tells the racy and little-known story of how Amerigo Vespucci got his name all over the map of the western hemisphere by telling lies about what he found there—the type of lies which can be found today in the pages of Penthouse magazine.

Prologue

Ira explains that our show's a little different this week. It consists of one long story, lasting the entire hour, about a young boy, an abandoned house, and the mysterious family who once lived there and then seemed to disappear without a trace.

Act Two

Adam Beckman continues his story. He returns to the town in New Hampshire where he discovered the abandoned house as a kid and tries to find out what happened there.

Act Two: Bombs Over Baghdad

We hear the story of the Persian Gulf war, as told by Issam Shukri, a family man from Bagdad who was drafted into Saddam's army against his will. He had to explain to his three-year-old son why those usually civilized Americans were bombing their city night after night.

Act Three: Toto, I Don't Think We're In Vietnam Anymore

U.S. special operations forces will lead the first part of the coming war we're all bracing for. We hear how a simple half-hour mission turned into a bloody all-day battle in one of the last times special operations forces went out: in 1993, in Somalia.

Act Two: Watching From The River's Edge

David Rakoff tells the story of the day that used to hold the record as the worst disaster in New York history: June 15th, 1904, when the steamship The General Slocum, caught fire and sank in the Hudson river, killing 1,031 passengers. Almost everyone aboard was from one neighborhood in New York, and by all accounts, that neighborhood was never the same again.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass joins a group of tourists to walk through the captured German submarine that's on permanent display at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. He notes that the Museum chooses to underplay the murderous Nazi origins of the boat.

Act One

Reporter Alix Spiegel tells the story of the Ostwind, the boat that came to be known as "Hitler's Yacht." (25 minutes)

Act Two

Alix Spiegel's story continues.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass tells the story of a time capsule project designed to document our lives so that people a thousand years from now can know what we were like. Ira explains that when a friend of his got involved in the time capsule, Ira realized that he hates the people of the future.