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APM Reports Documentaries

The documentary unit of APM Reports (formerly American RadioWorks) has produced more than 140 programs on topics such as health, history, education and justice.

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Vietnam and the Presidency

Four American presidents tried to end the conflict in Vietnam. The lessons they learned echo sharply today.


12 Jun 2006

Rank #1

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Witnesses to Terror

During an 18-month investigation, the 9/11 Commission heard extraordinary testimony about the terrorist attacks on America. Witnesses told stories of lucky breaks and deadly errors. The commission pieced together new evidence and new details to tell the most complete story to date of the al Qaeda plot.


13 Sep 2004

Rank #2

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The Few Who Stayed

In April 1994, the central African nation of Rwanda exploded into 100 days of violence, killing 800,000 people. Most turned their backs to the bloodshed. Here is the story of those who stayed.


13 Apr 2004

Rank #3

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State of Siege: Mississippi Whites and the Civil Rights Movement

Mississippi led the South in an extraordinary battle to maintain racial segregation. Whites set up powerful citizens groups and state agencies to fight the civil rights movement. Their tactics were fierce and, for a time, very effective.


8 Jan 2011

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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Hard to Read: How American schools fail kids with dyslexia

Public schools are denying children with dyslexia proper treatment and often failing to identify them in the first place.


11 Sep 2017

Rank #5

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At a Loss for Words: What's wrong with how schools teach reading

For decades, schools have taught children the strategies of struggling readers, using a theory about reading that cognitive scientists have repeatedly debunked. And many teachers and parents don't know there's anything wrong with it.


22 Aug 2019

Rank #6

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Hard Words: Why Aren't Our Kids Being Taught to Read?

Scientific research has shown how children learn to read and how they should be taught. But many educators don't know the science and, in some cases, actively resist it. As a result, millions of kids are being set up to fail.


10 Sep 2018

Rank #7

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Bridge to Somewhere

President Barack Obama wants to create jobs by building infrastructure. So did another president. Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to put people to work by building roads, bridges, dams, sewers, schools, hospitals and even ski jumps. The structures that New Deal agencies built transformed America.


12 May 2009

Rank #8

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The Science of Smart

Researchers have long been searching for better ways to learn. In recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better.


21 Aug 2014

Rank #9

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The Hospice Experiment

The '60s were a time of social movements and big changes, but a quieter revolution was underway too -- one led by a few middle-aged women who wanted to change our way of death. They were the founders of the hospice movement.


13 Jun 2004

Rank #10

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Bought and Sold: The New Fight Against Teen Sex Trafficking

Advocates for kids are pushing for a new approach to combating underage prostitution: treating young people caught up in sex trafficking as victims, not delinquents.


12 May 2016

Rank #11

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The Sonic Memorial Project

Peabody-award winning documentary that chronicles the sounds and voices of the World Trade Center and its surrounding neighborhood.


12 Sep 2006

Rank #12

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Make Change, Not Money

Nonprofits are being asked to step in to address some of America's most pressing social ills as government steps back.


13 Sep 1998

Rank #13

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The Great Textbook War

What should children learn in school? It's a question that's stirred debate for decades, and in 1974 it led to violent protests in West Virginia. Schools were hit by dynamite, buses were riddled with bullets, and coal mines were shut down. The fight was over a new set of textbooks.


1 Jun 2010

Rank #14

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Fading Minds: Why There's Still No Cure for Alzheimer's

In the 1970s, the founder of the National Institute on Aging convinced a nation that senility was really Alzheimer's and could be cured. Research money flowed to one theory, leaving alternatives unexamined — today it's come up short.


15 Oct 2019

Rank #15

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Who Needs an English Major?

The most popular college major in America these days is business. Some students think it doesn't pay to study philosophy or history. But advocates of liberal arts programs say their graduates are still among the most likely to become leaders, and that a healthy democracy depends on citizens with a broad and deep education.


1 Sep 2011

Rank #16

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Spare the Rod: Reforming School Discipline

A get-tough attitude prevailed among educators in the 1980s and 1990s, but research shows that zero-tolerance policies don't make schools safer and lead to disproportionate discipline for students of color.


25 Aug 2016

Rank #17

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Uprooted: The 1950s plan to erase Indian Country

In the 1950s, the United States came up with a plan to solve what it called the "Indian Problem." It would assimilate Native Americans by moving them to cities and eliminating reservations. The 20-year campaign failed to erase Native Americans, but its effects on Indian Country are still felt today.


1 Nov 2019

Rank #18

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What It Takes: Chasing Graduation at High-Poverty High Schools

The nation's high school graduation rate is at an all-time high, but high-poverty schools face a stubborn challenge. Schools in Miami and Pasadena are trying to do things differently.


1 Sep 2016

Rank #19

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Japan's Pop Power

To many people, global youth culture means rock and roll and other Western fashions. But for more and more young people across to world, the capital of pop culture is Tokyo. Over the past decade, Japanese video games, animation and comic books have caught fire in much of the world, including the United States.


12 Oct 2006

Rank #20