Alan Smith spent 14 years teaching philosophy and literature to violent criminals in a prison in England until he realized he was changing, slowly "becoming more of the prison than I wanted to be," and had to walk away.
Alessandro Portelli may be best known for oral history work in his native Italy, but in many ways, his heart is in Harlan County, Kentucky. He first heard about Appalachian culture in 1960s folk songs, but he didn't get a chance to visit Kentucky until 1973. That's when he first met Annie Napier, a woman he'd later consider family. Alessandro joins Dick to talk about the people he met in Harlan County and what they taught him about the importance of listening to one another.
As Muammar al-Qaddafi's forces crackdown violently on protestors, Libyans all over the world watch to see what will become of their loved ones and their country. Amjad Tarsin's parents are ardent opponents of the dictator. They were scared they'd pay the ultimate price for their opposition and moved to the U.S. But they always swore they'd return to their homeland once Qaddafi left power.
Kelly Wiedemer lost her job in the financial sector at the start of the recession almost three years ago. She says the problem now is that she has been out of work for so long, many employers won’t even give her resume a second look. Also in this episode, 150 years ago, the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter, S.C., sparking the start of the U.S. Civil War. In 1998, there were still two women living who had married former soldiers from the Civil War. Daisy Anderson and Alberta Martin were young when they married and the men were much older. Before Daisy and Alberta died, producer Joe Richman worked with Radio Diaries to document their stories.
The writer Harry Bernstein died on June 3 - he was 101 years old. He was first on The Story four years ago. Producer Cori Princell tells the story of what she and Harry talked about after the recorder was turned off.
Families can be marked by a crime, even if they don’t know it. Charlie Rizzo's mother and father split up when he was just a boy. His mom took him to Los Angeles. His father stayed in Chicago. It took a conversation with his father - and the revelation of a secret - to understand his father and himself.
Arlie Sholes remembers when the battle between farmers and the government over resources came to a boil. During the Midwest Farming Crisis of the 1980s, he was forced to sell everything and get another job. Arlie's day job led him back to the farm, but this time as a Rural Farm Crisis Hotline Responder. He talks with Dick Gordon about how his own experiences as a farmer prepared him to help other farmers who were going through a tough time. All these years later, he's still answering the phone.
Like many Americans who are now middle-aged, Maggie Steber has to provide care for her aging mother. Complicating the matter is Maggie's profession: she's an award-winning photojournalist who's often traveling abroad. Another complication is that Maggie has always had a troubled relationship with her mother, Madje. And their relationship only got harder once Madje developed dementia. But after her mother's mental health started to decline, she tells Dick Gordon that something surprising happened. Dementia gave her the mother she always wanted.