On Slate’s history podcast One Year, host Josh Levin explores the people and struggles that changed America—one year at a time. Each episode explores a story you may have forgotten, or one you’ve never heard of before, and asks: What were the moments that transformed politics, culture, science, and religion? And how does the nation’s past shape our present?
The fourth season of One Year goes back 80 years to examine an inflection point in American history. In 1942, the bombing of Pearl Harbor had just drawn the U.S. into World War II, a global conflict that it seemed like the Allies could very well lose. On the homefront, the country faced unprecedented economic, cultural, and social upheaval.
The first episode, out today, feels particularly resonant in 2022. It’s about how runaway inflation threatened to sink America, and about the man whose job it was to make sure that didn’t happen. As the head of the Office of Price Administration, Leon Henderson controlled how much coffee ordinary people could drink and how much they paid for pretzels. Those strict rules made him a villain. But did they help save the country?
In six episodes, One Year will tell stories from the distant past that sound like they’ve been pulled from the present day. You’ll hear about how the country dealt with massive loads of disinformation, about a worker revolt that changed music forever, and about why 1942 had more weddings—1.8 million—than had ever been recorded in a single year in American history.