Slow Burn

Slow Burn illuminates America’s most consequential moments, making sense of the past to better understand the present. Through archival tape and first-person interviews, the award-winning series uncovers the surprising events and little-known characters lurking within the biggest stories of our time.

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Season 8: Becoming Justice Thomas

Where Clarence Thomas came from, how he rose to power, and how he’s brought the rest of us along with him, whether we like it or not. Winner of the Podcast of the Year at the 2024 Ambies Awards.

Season 7: Roe v. Wade

The women who fought for legal abortion, the activists who pushed back, and the justices who thought they could solve the issue for good. Winner of Apple Podcasts Show of the Year in 2022.

Season 6: The L.A. Riots

How decades of police brutality, a broken justice system, and a video tape set off six days of unrest in Los Angeles.

Season 5: The Road to the Iraq War

Eighteen months after 9/11, the United States invaded a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. Who’s to blame? And was there any way to stop it?

Season 4: David Duke

America’s most famous white supremacist came within a runoff of controlling Louisiana. How did David Duke rise to power? And what did it take to stop him?

Season 3: Biggie and Tupac

How is it that two of the most famous performers in the world were murdered within a year of each other—and their killings were never solved?

Season 2: The Clinton Impeachment

A reexamination of the scandals that nearly destroyed the 42nd president and forever changed the life of a former White House intern.

Season 1: Watergate

What did it feel like to live through the scandal that brought down President Nixon?

Decoder Ring: Can the “Bookazine” Save Magazines?
Why is there a magazine all about Robert Redford in the CVS checkout lane?
33 min
Decoder Ring: Andrew Wyeth's Secret Nudes (Encore)
Why did America’s favorite artist hide 240 pieces of artwork from his wife?
50 min
Decoder Ring: Why Stylists Rule the Red Carpet
Avery Trufelman and Melissa Rivers on what the fashion police hath wrought.
38 min
Decoder Ring: The Gen X Soda That Was Just "OK"
Thirty years ago, OK Soda arrived in select stores and offered up a fizzy irony.
39 min
Announcing Slow Burn Season 9
Gays Against Briggs
1 min
Decoder Ring: Why Do So Many Coffee Shops Look ...
Algorithms are shaping our world, even down to latte art.
29 min
One Year: 1990 | 5. The Angry Death of Kimberly...
A young woman claimed she got HIV from her dentist. Was she right?
52 min
One Year: 1990 | 4. Art on Trial
Inside the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition that sparked a First Amendment showdown in Cincinnati.
54 min
One Year: 1990 | 3. Bush vs. Broccoli
When the president declared war on a vegetable, the country lost its mind.
36 min
One Year: 1990 | 2. Mandrake the Magician
How a single dad with a secret identity took on Big Tobacco.
46 min
One Year: 1990 | 1. Pizzastroika
As the Cold War reached its climax, Pizza Hut got tangled up in geopolitics—and made a lot of dough.
53 min
Decoder Ring: The Forgotten Video Game About Sl...
In 1992, the company behind The Oregon Trail tried to simulate Black history. It did not go well.
43 min
Decoder Ring: The Dating Manual Unlike Any Other
The Rules became a controversial bestseller and sparked instant debate. But was the advice any good?
33 min
Decoder Ring: Mailbag - The Recorder, Limos, an...
We answer your questions about the ubiquitous musical instrument, ‘80s automotive luxury, and more.
36 min
Decoder Ring: When Art Pranksters Invaded Melro...
In the mid-1990s, an artist collective smuggled its provocative work onto the set of the hit TV show.
37 min
Decoder Ring: The Fast Decline of the Slow Dance
The rise and fall of an awkward rite of passage.
41 min
One Year: 1955 | 6. The Hiroshima Maidens
A decade after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb, 25 Japanese women put their lives in the hands of American surgeons.
50 min
One Year: 1955 | 5. The Cutter Incident
In 1955, the polio vaccine was rightly heralded as a miracle. A medical mystery threatened to derail it.
32 min
One Year: 1955 | 4. Siberia, USA
The Communist-hunting housewives who spawned a far-right conspiracy theory about an American gulag.
51 min
One Year: 1955 | 3. The Weather Girls
In the 1950s, women weathercasters were idolized and lusted over. They were also seen as a major threat.
41 min
One Year: 1955 | 2. The Crockett Craze
How Walt Disney created the first baby-boom phenomenon totally by accident.
53 min
One Year: 1955 | 1. The Team Nobody Would Play
In 1955, a team of Black Little Leaguers battled the white establishment in the Deep South.
53 min
Decoder Ring: Think Catchphrases Are Dead? Eat ...
Bless up: It’s a whole episode about “Doh!”, “Dealbreaker!” and “Did I do that?”
36 min
Decoder Ring: The Quest for a Homemade Hovercraft
With his scouting days long over, a Slate producer enlists his dad for one last merit badge.
38 min
Decoder Ring: A Brief History of Making Out
Is deep kissing a universal human behavior?
32 min