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Americans and the Wilderness [rebroadcast]

Like millions of Americans this summer, BackStory is quitting the city and heading into the wild. We’re exploring Americans’ fascination with, and fear of, wild places – and the ways in which humans impact even the most remote corners of the country.

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Rare History Well Done

Meat in America

As you’re getting your Labor Day grill on… Brian, Ed and Peter are cooking up an episode all about America’s love affair with animal protein across the centuries, from smokehouses to supermarkets.

Where There’s Smoke

A History of Fire

On this episode, BackStory blazes a trail across time in a quest for fire. How have Americans harnessed its power and coped with its dangers?

National Lampoon

Satire in American History

This is no joke: Brian, Ed and Peter are are marking the end of Jon Stewart’s hugely popular run on The Daily Show with stories about satire across the generations.

Pitch a show!

Winter/Spring 2015

Have a topic you’d like to see on air this year? Tell us more.


Recent Episodes

Let’s Make Up

Reconciliation and Its Limits [rebroadcast]

As the U.S. mends fences with historic enemies Iran and Cuba, we return[...]

The Pursuit

A History of Happiness

In July 1776, the signers of Declaration said “the pursuit of Happiness” was[...]


From the Blog

San Francisco vs. John Muir

The fight over the remote Hetch Hetchy Valley

In 1906, an enormous earthquake rocked San Francisco. Much of the city was[...]

The Wilderness Returns

Southern fears in the face of the advancing Union army

We return to a time when Americans were mired in civil war. Ulysses[...]


Latest Comments


Commented on: Pitch a show!

I'd like to see a look at the history of abortion in the United States. Was it ever as contentious [...]

Bob Walsh

Commented on: National Lampoon

Woody Allen already joked about it in Annie Hall, didn't he? [...]