145 episodes

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.

Throughline NPR

    • History
    • 4.6 • 12.1K Ratings

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.

    Afghanistan: The Rise of the Taliban

    Afghanistan: The Rise of the Taliban

    How did a small group of Islamic students go from local vigilantes to one of the most infamous and enigmatic forces in the world? The Taliban is a name that has haunted the American imagination since 2001. The scenes of the group's brutality repeatedly played in the Western media, while true, perhaps obscure our ability to see the complex origins of the Taliban and how they impact the lives of Afghans. It's a shadow that reaches across the vast ancient Afghan homeland, the reputation of the modern state, and throughout global politics. At the end of the US war in Afghanistan we go back to the end of the Soviet Occupation and the start of the Afghan civil war to look at the rise of the Taliban. Their story concludes Throughline's two-episode investigation on the past, present, and future of the country that was once called "the center of the world."

    • 56 min
    Afghanistan: The Center of the World

    Afghanistan: The Center of the World

    Afghanistan has, for centuries, been at the center of the world. Long before the U.S. invasion - before the U.S. was even a nation - countless civilizations intersected there, weaving together a colorful tapestry of foods, languages, ethnicities and visions of what Afghanistan was and could be. The story of Afghanistan is too often told from the perspective of outsiders who tried to invade it (and always failed) earning it the nickname "Graveyard of Empires." In this episode, we're shifting the perspective. We'll journey through the centuries alongside Afghan mystical poets. We'll turn the radio dial to hear songs of love and liberation. We'll meet the queen who built the first primary school for girls in the country. And we'll take a closer look at Afghanistan's centuries-long experiment to create a unified nation.

    • 56 min
    The Aftermath of Collapse: Bronze Age Edition (2021)

    The Aftermath of Collapse: Bronze Age Edition (2021)

    What happens after everything falls apart? The end of the Bronze Age was a moment when an entire network of ancient civilizations collapsed, leaving behind only clues to what happened. Today, scholars have pieced together a story where everything from climate change to mass migration to natural disasters played a role. What the end of the Bronze Age can teach us about avoiding catastrophe and what comes after collapse.

    • 56 min
    Octavia Butler: Visionary Fiction (2021)

    Octavia Butler: Visionary Fiction (2021)

    Octavia Butler's alternate realities and 'speculative fiction' reveal striking, and often devastating parallels to the world we live in today. She was a deep observer of the human condition, perplexed and inspired by our propensity towards self-destruction. Butler was also fascinated by the cyclical nature of history, and often looked to the past when writing about the future. Along with her warning is her message of hope - a hope conjured by centuries of survival and persistence. For every society that perishes in her books comes a story of rebuilding, of repair.

    • 1 hr 7 min
    El Libertador and Venezuela's Rise and Fall (2019)

    El Libertador and Venezuela's Rise and Fall (2019)

    Venezuela is facing an economic and humanitarian crisis as extreme poverty and violence have forced many to flee the country in recent years. How did a country once wealthy with oil resources fall into such turmoil? Through the lives of two revolutionaries turned authoritarian leaders separated by two centuries, we look back at the rise and fall of Venezuela.

    • 56 min
    Lives of the Great Depression (2020)

    Lives of the Great Depression (2020)

    The Great Depression was a revolutionary spark for all kinds of things — health insurance, social safety nets, big government — all of which were in response to a national crisis. Through the personal accounts of four people who lived during the Great Depression, we look back at what life was like back then and what those stories can teach us about the last time the U.S. went through a national economic cataclysm. This is the second episode of our summer series "Movies for Your Mind." Summer movies like you've never heard before.

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
12.1K Ratings

12.1K Ratings

BeckyLou1983 ,

History I Need

Throughline educates me on the history I need to know about, enabling me to better understand current issues. It has enabled me to have a much broader and more educated understanding of so many of the major issues in the world today.

Shugo88 ,

Afghanistan episode-too romanticize and dramatic

This episode was a big departure from the usual quality of Throughline reporting. Everything in the episode was too dramatized and romanticize. The whole episode was a love letter of the hosts toward their ancestral home. The subject is amazingly interesting and way to broad to be condensed into a few episodes of a podcast but the way this episode was produced just seems like a huge departure from Throughline’s usual style.

ojBallerina ,

What’s going on on September 12th?

On September 12, 2021, NPR’s Throughline had a new episode on Afghanistan ready to play. Yet they subbed it with an outdated episode of Uyghur camp in China filled with unfounded and unsubstantiated “facts” that, for example “someone” said in Almaty. Mind you that the Uyghur myths were debunked by journalists since 2019. To produce unchecked programs is bad journalism, knowingly broadcasting untrue information is irresponsible to your listeners and the public, it’s absolutely unethical. Goodbye and unsubscribed.

Top Podcasts In History

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by NPR