26 episodes

The Last Archive​ is a show about the history of truth, and the historical context for our current fake news, post-truth moment. It’s a show about how we know what we know, and why it seems, these days, as if we don’t know anything at all anymore. The show is driven by host Jill Lepore’s work as a historian, uncovering the secrets of the past the way a detective might. iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries. 

The Last Archive Pushkin Industries

    • History

The Last Archive​ is a show about the history of truth, and the historical context for our current fake news, post-truth moment. It’s a show about how we know what we know, and why it seems, these days, as if we don’t know anything at all anymore. The show is driven by host Jill Lepore’s work as a historian, uncovering the secrets of the past the way a detective might. iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries. 

    Children of Zorin

    Children of Zorin

    In the 1970s, a Soviet journalist named Valentin Zorin made a series of documentary films about the United States. At a time when few Russian journalists came to the U.S., Zorin traveled all across the country, and gained access few American journalists had. The Cold War was a battle of ideas, and Zorin saw himself on the frontlines. He was on a quest to unmask the United States by spreading doubt, conspiracy theories, and a strange cocktail of truth and misinformation.

    • 53 min
    It Came From Outer Space

    It Came From Outer Space

    A fake moon landing. Astronauts carrying space pathogens back to earth. Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain. HIV manufactured in a government laboratory. COVID-19 vaccines killing millions. In this episode, Jill Lepore follows a trail of disease stories and conspiracies from Apollo 11 to COVID-19. In part two of our series about the moon landing: Apollo’s splashdown, and the tidal wave of doubt it set off.
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    • 52 min
    Remote Control

    Remote Control

    In 1961, President Kennedy announced that the United States would go to the moon. Eight years later, the Apollo 11 astronauts set foot upon its surface. Millions of Americans watched live on their televisions as it happened, but somehow the pinnacle of man’s achievement became a wellspring of conspiracy theories. In this first episode of a two-part series on the moon landing, Jill Lepore traces the explosion of conspiratorial thinking that began with Apollo 11’s lift off — a path winding from awe of science, to the unshakeable faith that everything is a conspiracy. The more extraordinary scientific research and technology got, the more difficult it became to keep sight of the line between fact and fiction, and between the believable and the unbelievable. 
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    • 53 min
    Repeat After Me

    Repeat After Me

    One night in 1952, a Coloradan businessman hypnotized a local housewife. Under his spell, she began to recount her past life as a 19th-century Irish woman. He caught it on tape. The story of her reincarnation tore out of their Colorado town and across the world. It spawned major motion pictures, an international bestselling book, and a national hypnosis craze. But beneath all the uproar lay a set of questions that revealed a deep worry about the nature of self in the 1950s, the decade’s strange mishmash of psychology and spiritualism, and an anxiety about gender. This week on The Last Archive: Who are you, really?
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    • 52 min
    The Inner Front

    The Inner Front

    During World War II, Nazi radio broadcast the voice of an American woman who came to be known as Axis Sally. She spoke, via shortwave radio, to American women, attempting to turn them against their country and the American war effort. She was waging a battle on what came to be called the Inner Front, the war of public opinion. Propaganda-by-radio was new then; so was psychological warfare. Writers, poets, psychologists, propagandists, and broadcasters all took to the airwaves in the 1930s and 1940s in a pitched battle of words and sound. After the war, two American women who had broadcast for Axis powers, Germany and Japan, were prosecuted for treason. How did the courts measure the power of words, over radio, to change minds?
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    • 46 min
    Believe It

    Believe It

    Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! was one of the most popular radio shows of the 1930s, and for good reason: Early radio, not unlike the Internet of nearly a century later, was obsessed with doubt about belief. On this episode of The Last Archive, Jill Lepore spins the dial and takes a tour of 1930s radio — from Robert Ripley to Charlie Chan, from Mexican broadcaster Pedro González to the shows of Orson Welles: the full spectrum of true and false on the air.
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    • 51 min

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