Throughline 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.

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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.

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 to our sponsor-free feed of the show. Learn more at plus.npr.org/throughline

Most Recent Episodes

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400 Years of Sweetness

In the 1970s, a savvy CEO named Dwayne Andreas hit on an idea: take surplus corn from America's heartland, process it into a sweetener, and start selling it to anyone who would buy, all in the name of patriotism. Within a decade, high fructose corn syrup dominated the U.S. sweetener market; today, American diets are saturated with sweeteners, including cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and dozens of others.

400 Years of Sweetness

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Hokyoung Kim

The Nostalgia Bone (2021)

The global pandemic spawned a different type of epidemic, one of an entirely different nature: a nostalgia outbreak. Longing for 'simpler times' and 'better days', many of us turned to 90s dance playlists, TV sitcoms, and sports highlights. We looked for comfort and safety in the permanence of the past, or at least, what we think the past was. But, when it first appeared, nostalgia itself wasn't considered a feeling; it was a deadly disease. This episode traces the history of nostalgia from its origins as an illness to the dominating emotion of our time. And in doing so, we wrestle with its eternal paradox to both hold us back and keep us going.

The Nostalgia Bone (2021)

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La Última Copa: El sueño del pibe

Ésta semana te presentamos un episodio muy especial de nuestros amigos en NPR y Futuro Media — su primer episodio del podcast La Última Copa, en Español. Todo comenzó con una gambeta extraordinaria en una ciudad Argentina. A eso le siguió la llegada a España y el club de fútbol que definiría su carrera, el Barça. La periodista Jasmine Garsd explora el camino trazado por Lionel Messi antes de convertirse en uno de los mejores del mundo. En la Argentina, donde el fútbol a menudo se convierte en obsesión, Messi fue el chico que se marchó antes de tiempo.La historia se cruza con las vivencias de la propia Garsd durante el colapso social del 2001 en la Argentina y el impacto de la crisis en la vida de Messi.

La Última Copa: El sueño del pibe

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The Last Cup: The Kid's Dream

This week we're bringing you something special from our friends at NPR and Futuro Media: the first episode of the podcast, The Last Cup. From his earliest goals on the soccer fields of his hometown in Argentina to his arrival at Spain's Barça Football Club, host Jasmine Garsd follows the journey of a gifted kid who would go on to become one of the best soccer players ever. In Argentina, where the national sport is a fierce obsession, Lionel Messi was the one that got away. As Garsd retraces Messi's early career, she examines the consequences of Argentina's devastating economic crisis of 2001, how it shaped Messi's path, and what it meant for her own life.

The Last Cup: The Kid's Dream

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How Qatar became this year's World Cup host

Football, aka soccer, is life. At least, it is for many people across the globe. There are few things that are universally beloved but this sport comes close. And as teams on nearly every continent prepare for the start of the World Cup, all eyes are on one tiny country at the tip of the desert. Qatar. The first Arab country ever to secure the World Cup bid. But it's been a long and complicated road to get to this moment. Espionage. Embargoes. Covert deals. This is the story of Qatar's decades-long pursuit of the World Cup bid and its role in the nation's transformation into a global power.

How Qatar became this year's World Cup host

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Chistof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

Dreams, Creatures, and Visions

We are in the season of chaos. It can feel like everything is happening at once: You might be sprinting across an airport; or around your kitchen, with a few too many dishes cooking at once. Your phone keeps pinging — texts, weather alerts, and more and more breaking news. Here at Throughline, we're always going to different places in time and space. So this week, come with us: to another time, another place, another realm. In this episode, we'll be your sonic travel guides on a journey through bite-sized pieces of Throughline's most immersive episodes, from the shadowy world of dreams, to the midst of the Revolutionary War, to the haunting music of Radiohead and their visions of the future.

Dreams, Creatures, and Visions

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Kaz Fantone

The Most Sacred Right (2020)

Born into slavery in the early 1800s, Frederick Douglass would live to see the Civil War, Emancipation, Black men getting the right to vote, and the beginning of the terrors and humiliations of Jim Crow. And through all of that, he kept coming back to one thing, a sacred right he believed was at the heart of American democracy: Voting. Next week is the midterm election. So this week, we're bringing you an episode we originally published right before the 2020 election. And we're tackling a question that still feels very timely — a question that both haunted and drove Frederick Douglass his entire life. Is our democracy set up to include everyone? And if not... can it ever be?

The Most Sacred Right (2020)

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The State of Disunion

Is the U.S. on the brink of civil war? It's a question that has been in the air for a while now, as divisions continue to worsen. Beyond the political speeches and debates in the halls of Congress, it's something you're likely feeling in your day-to-day life. Vaccines, school curriculums, climate change, what you define as a human rights issue, even who you call a friend. Some say we've moved beyond the point of discussion. But when words fail, what comes next? In conversation with Malcolm Nance, Anne Applebaum, and Peniel Joseph, we take a deeper look at what we mean when we say civil war, how exactly the country reached this political moment, and where we go from here.

The State of Disunion

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The Woman Question

What's happening in Iran right now is unprecedented. But the Iranian people's struggle for gender equality began generations before the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, also known by her Kurdish name, Jina Amini. The successes of this struggle, as well as its setbacks and horrors, are well-documented, but often misunderstood. Scholar Arzoo Osanloo argues that women have been at the center of Iran's century-long fight for freedom and self-determination. It's a historical thread that goes all the way back to Iran's Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century: A complicated story of reform, revolution, and a fundamental questioning of whether Iranian people — and people around the Islamic world — will accept a government of clerics as the sole arbiters of Islam and the state.

The Woman Question

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Hokyoung Kim

The Dance of the Dead (2021)

Halloween — the night of ghost stories and trick-or-treating — has religious origins that span over two thousand years. Over time, the Catholic Church, pagan groups, and even the brewing company Coors have played a role in shape-shifting the holiday. How did Halloween turn from a spiritual celebration to a multi-billion dollar industry? From the Great Famine of Ireland to the Simpsons, we present the many evolutions of Halloween.

The Dance of the Dead (2021)

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