This American Life

This American Life describes contemporary life with themed episodes and a variety of stories on that theme — mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. The stories presented are engaging, intimate, surprising, funny, disturbing and bittersweet.

Recent Episodes

#562: The Problem We All Live With

Right now, all sorts of people are trying to rethink and reinvent education, to get poor minority kids performing as well as white kids. But there's one thing nobody tries anymore, despite lots of evidence that it works: desegregation. Nikole Hannah-Jones looks at a district that, not long ago, accidentally launched a desegregation program.

#596: Becoming a Badger

This week, stories about people trying their best to turn themselves into something else—like a badger. Or a professional comedian, in a language they didn’t grow up speaking.

#567: What’s Going On In There?

Often we see someone’s situation from the outside and think we know exactly what’s going on. This week we get inside and find out just how much more interesting the reality of it is. Including a teenaged girl who records a remarkable story about the boyfriend who abuses her, and why it’s so hard to break up with him. Here are the videos by Bianca Giaever mentioned in the episode.

#595: Deep End of the Pool

What do you do when you're thrown into a situation you’re not prepared for? And while you’re flailing around—what happens to the people who depend on you? This week we present stories of people who find themselves in over their heads, including an attorney who knows little about criminal law assigned to defend a young man facing twenty years in prison. ANNOTATED COURT DOCUMENT