History

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Hysteria. Panic.

Those were words reporters were using on this day 30 years ago to describe the stock market crash, now remembered as Black Monday.

Oct. 19, 1987, brought the single biggest one-day percentage drop in history — and yes, that includes the 1929 crash that presaged the coming of the Great Depression.

On that frightening Monday three decades ago, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 508 points — more than 22 percent — to just over 1,700.

In 1620, the Rev. George Thorpe sent a letter from a plantation near Jamestown, Va., to England describing a "good drinke of Indian corne" that he and his fellow colonists had made. Historians have speculated that Thorpe was talking about unaged corn whiskey, and that his distillation efforts on the banks of Virginia's James River might have produced America's first whiskey.

By the end of November 1965, U.S. officials were well aware that mass murders were underway. At this point, roughly two months into an Indonesian military campaign that would ultimately kill at least half a million people, U.S. Embassy staff privately expressed no shock in reporting that thousands had already been summarily executed.

They did comment on the resourcefulness of the killers, though.

Where Do We Come From?

Oct 18, 2017

If you want to answer the most existential of existential questions, don’t look at the historical record, look in a microscope.

The study of DNA has become so advanced in recent years “that it was transformed into a historical source,” writes geneticist Adam Rutherford. This has upended our understanding of human history and evolution.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Today, I’m recommending Born to Run, legendary rock star Bruce Springsteen’s long-awaited memoir. Inspired by his remarkable 2009 Super Bowl halftime show performance with the E Street Band, Springsteen has spent the last several years devoting himself to writing down the story of his life. Born to Run is the extraordinary result.

In 1940, on the eve of the United States' entrance into World War II, then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Immigration and Naturalization Service wanted to promote tolerance toward immigrants.

At that time, radio was the most important medium in the U.S. More than 80 percent of American households had a radio, and people listened for three or four hours every day. So, to reach the American people, the agency made a radio show.

Since the beginning of time, humans have been searching for ways to make ourselves feel better fast. Unfortunately, history has shown that many of those ways — cannibalism, cocaine tooth drops, ingesting heavy metals — left us sick, broke, or both. Yet we keep looking for that fast cure.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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