311 episodes

Throughline is a time machine. Each episode, we travel beyond the headlines to answer the question, "How did we get here?" We use sound and stories to bring history to life and put you into the middle of it. From ancient civilizations to forgotten figures, we take you directly to the moments that shaped our world. Throughline is hosted by Peabody Award-winning journalists Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei.Subscribe to Throughline+. You'll be supporting the history-reframing, perspective-shifting, time-warping stories you can't get enough of - and you'll unlock access bonus episodes and sponsor-free listening. Learn more at plus.npr.org/throughline

Throughline Throughline

    • History
    • 4.6 • 14.3K Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Throughline is a time machine. Each episode, we travel beyond the headlines to answer the question, "How did we get here?" We use sound and stories to bring history to life and put you into the middle of it. From ancient civilizations to forgotten figures, we take you directly to the moments that shaped our world. Throughline is hosted by Peabody Award-winning journalists Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei.Subscribe to Throughline+. You'll be supporting the history-reframing, perspective-shifting, time-warping stories you can't get enough of - and you'll unlock access bonus episodes and sponsor-free listening. Learn more at plus.npr.org/throughline

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    The Mandela Effect

    The Mandela Effect

    For nearly thirty years, the South African government held a man it initially labeled prisoner number 46664, the anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. But in 1994, Mandela transformed from the country's 'number one terrorist' into its first Black president, ushering in a new era of democracy. Today, though, many in South Africa see Mandela's party, the ANC, as corrupt and responsible for the country's problems. It's an ongoing political saga, with all sides attempting to weaponize parts of the past – especially Nelson Mandela's legacy. On today's episode, we tell Mandela's story: the man, the myth, and the cost of freedom.

    To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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    • 54 min
    How We Recreated the Stories of the Environmental Justice Movement (Throughline+)

    How We Recreated the Stories of the Environmental Justice Movement (Throughline+)

    Throughline producers Lawrence Wu and Devin Katayama discuss the making of "Two Miles Down the Road," which covered the protests in Warren County, North Carolina, in 1982 that kicked off the environmental justice movement in the United States. They talk about finding the people at the center of the story and recreating the scenes those people described into compelling audio.

    To get access to this episode, listen to Throughline sponsor-free, and support NPR, sign up for Throughline+ at plus.npr.org

    The Labor Of Love (Throwback)

    The Labor Of Love (Throwback)

    There's a powerful fantasy in American society: the fantasy of the ideal mother. This mother is devoted to her family above all else. She raises the kids, volunteers at the school, cleans the house, plans the birthday parties, cares for her own parents. She's a natural nurturer. And she's happy to do it all for free.Problem is? She's imaginary. And yet the idea of her permeates our culture, our economy, and our social policy – and it distorts them. The U.S. doesn't have universal health insurance or universal childcare. We don't have federally mandated paid family leave or a meaningful social safety net for when times get rough. Instead, we have this imaginary mother. We've structured our society as though she exists — but she doesn't. And we all pay the real-life price.Today on the show, we look at three myths that sustain the fantasy: the maternal instinct, the doting housewife, and the welfare queen. And we tell the stories of real-life people – some mothers, some not – who have fought for a much more generous vision of family, labor, and care.

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    • 51 min
    The 4th Amendment: Search and Seizure

    The 4th Amendment: Search and Seizure

    The Fourth Amendment is the part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits "unreasonable searches and seizures." But — what's unreasonable? That question has fueled a century's worth of court rulings that have dramatically expanded the power of individual police officers in the U.S. Today on the show, how an amendment that was supposed to limit government power has ended up enabling it.

    To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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    • 48 min
    The Ghost in Your Phone (Throwback)

    The Ghost in Your Phone (Throwback)

    It's hot. A mother works outside, a baby strapped to her back. The two of them breathe in toxic dust, day after day. And they're just two of thousands, cramped so close together it's hard to move, all facing down the mountain of cobalt stone.Cobalt mining is one of the world's most dangerous jobs. And it's also one of the most essential: cobalt is what powers the batteries in your smartphone, your laptop, the electric car you felt good about buying. More than three-quarters of the world's cobalt supply lies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose abundant resources have drawn greed and grifters for centuries. Today on the show: the fight for control of those resources, and for the dignity of the people who produce them.

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    • 51 min
    Ralph Nader, Consumer Crusader

    Ralph Nader, Consumer Crusader

    Whether it's pesticides in your cereal or the door plug flying off your airplane, consumers today have plenty of reasons to feel like corporations might not have their best interests at heart. At a moment where we're seeing unprecedented product recalls, and when trust in the government is near historic lows, we're going to revisit a time when a generation of people felt empowered to demand accountability from both companies and elected leaders — and got results. Today on the show, the story of the U.S. consumer movement and its controversial leader: the once famous, now infamous Ralph Nader.

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    • 47 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
14.3K Ratings

14.3K Ratings

RandomMidwesterner ,

I always read the negative reviews of things I like

Because I want to know why others don’t like it.

1) This is a 40 minute single topic podcast. It isn’t designed to be comprehensive. I mean how could it be. Books and series of books are written about these topics. These episodes are designed to spur thought and a desire to learn more about the topics. This is a morsel, if you like what you hear go and learn more on your own.

2) Bias? Everyone has biases. Everyone has a slant. Again the point is to get you to look at the issue from a slant that you are probably NOT used to looking. Recognize potential bias and think for yourself as you are presented with information you probably haven’t consider before.

3) Pro-Hezbollah? Seriously? The phrase “some people see Hezbollah as freedom fighters” is not the same as “we see Hezbollah as freedom fighters”. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s “rebel scum” (Star Wars reference). “Some people” in the US see Timothy McVeigh as a freedom fighter. This does not mean that “most people” agree with that opinion, yet it also does not change the fact that “some people” do hold that opinion.

Esteban_PodcastReview ,

The Best

One of my favorite shows! They cover each topic in such a comprehensive and holistic way, it’s really impressive. Thanks and keep them coming!

S.Easaw ,

In life and history, all is not as it seems

Thank you for exposing the truth with solid investigative reporting. I was flabbergasted to learn about King Leopold and rubber in the Congo in the past, with a throughline to cobalt mining in the DRC and electric cars in the present. Thank you, thank you for doing this work.

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