Five Favorite: Narrative Nonfiction Podcasts

I basically only listen to podcasts, and long-form nonfiction are some of my favorites. (Yet I don’t listen to audiobooks? 🤔) Below are four of my absolute favorites, and one* I can’t wait to start!

The Dream: Host Jane Marie dives into the world of pyramid schemes, multi-level marketing, and all the other businesses that require their members to recruit their nearest and dearest in hopes of a commission. Join her as she traces the path of get-rich schemes, from her roots in rural Michigan all the way to the White House.

Monster*: This true crime podcast tells the story of one of the city’s darkest secrets, the Atlanta Child Murders, nearly 40 years later. Host Payne Lindsey aims to find truth and provide closure, reexamining the disappearance and murder of over 25 African American children and young adults. Season two focuses on the Zodiac killer.

Serial: Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story — a true story — over the course of a season. Season one focuses on the murder of Hae Min Lee, season two on political prisoner Bowe Bergdahl, and season three on the justice system of Cleveland, OH.

Slow Burn: Even recent history is rich with surprising subplots, strange details, and forgotten characters. On Slow Burn, Leon Neyfakh excavates recent political history and finds surprising parallels to the present. Season one focuses on Watergate and season two on Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

Standoff: In 1992, hundreds of armed federal agents surrounded a family of white separatists in a ramshackle mountaintop cabin. Eleven days later, three people were dead—and the story of Ruby Ridge was just beginning. Journalist Ruth Graham explores a tragedy that’s become a foundational myth for the modern right, and finds some frightening lessons about power and paranoia. 

Do you have your own favorite narrative nonfiction podcasts? Let me know! To see previous topics, click here.

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