In Search of Monsters: The Rise and Fall of American Empire

Series produced by Open Source

Series image

Inspired by John Quincy Adams’s admonition that America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” this limited-series collaboration with the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft explores America’s role in the world across history in order to see a better way forward.

Looking back on decades of war and facing a daunting future, Americans in 2022 might ask themselves: how did we get here? Open Source is looking for answers in this new limited series of twenty episodes—offered FREE to stations weekly. Teaming up with the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, "In Search of Monsters" explores America’s role in the world across history in order to see a better way forward.

The series launches the week of February 21, 2022, with a first episode marking the fiftieth anniversary of Richard Nixon’s breakthrough visit to China. Episodes will include an interview with the translator who accompanied Nixon on that visit; a reflection on George Kennan, America’s advocate for containment of the USSR; conversations on war in pop culture; exploration of nuclear negotiations with Iran; and an inquiry into the history and future of NATO—all relevant for this particular moment of the Biden presidency. It’s a series for anyone interested in history, contemporary politics, American culture, high-stakes strategy, lively stories, and crucial debates.

This series runs for twenty episodes, made available for free to stations every week; it makes a good offering for weekend afternoons. WBUR in Boston airs Open Source on Sundays at 2 pm. Each show works as a stand-alone special hour, but the series can also be aired in full as a strip for all 20 weeks—or pick and choose episodes for a shorter miniseries run: whatever works best for your station and your listeners. Shows will be available weekly on PRX on Thursday evenings, along with individual promos for each show starting the week of February 21st.

Open Source is a production of Open Source Media, the production company of veteran public radio innovators Christopher Lydon and Mary McGrath. They created “The Connection” on WBUR in Boston in the 90’s and many other programs. Open Source is a weekly program on WBUR and several other stations; it’s also the very first and still longest running podcast.

Formed in 2019, The Quincy Institute develops and promotes ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace.

Tune in for a New American Story.
Hide full description

Looking back on decades of war and facing a daunting future, Americans in 2022 might ask themselves: how did we get here? Open Source is looking for answers in this new limited series of twenty episodes—offered FREE to stations weekly. Teaming up with the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, "In Search of Monsters" explores America’s role in the world across history in order to see a better way forward.The series launches the week of February 21, 2022, with a first episode marking the fiftieth anniversary of Richard Nixon’s breakthrough visit to China. Episodes will include an interview with the translator who accompanied Nixon on that visit; a reflection on George Kennan, America’s advocate for containment of the USSR; conversations on war in pop culture; exploration of nuclear... Show full description


22 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Piece image
A conversation with economist Mark Blyth and economic historian Brendan Greeley about a troubled global system.

Bought by WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass.


  • Added: Jun 30, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
Conversations with Jeffrey Sachs, Nina Khruscheva, Anatol Lieven, and Andrew Bacevich on possibilities for peace with Russia.

  • Added: Jun 23, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
Piece image
A conversation with Kaiser Kuo and Jing Tsu about the cultural dynamics of US-China tensions.

  • Added: Jun 16, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
Piece image
Conversations about US-China relations with Kevin Rudd, David Kang, and Paul Heer.

  • Added: Jun 09, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
Piece image
A conversation with Cornel West and David Bromwich in search of wisdom in dark times.

Bought by WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass.


  • Added: Jun 02, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
Conversations with dissenting military veterans about America's post-9/11 wars.

  • Added: May 26, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
Piece image
A conversation with Caroline Elkins about the British Empire.

Bought by KMXT


  • Added: May 19, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
A conversation with Daniel Immerwahr, Nina Tannenwald, and Alex Wellerstein about forgotten nuclear threats.

Bought by WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass.


  • Added: May 12, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
A conversation with Trita Parsi, Hussein Banai, and John Ghazvinian about the Iran nuclear deal.

  • Added: May 05, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
Piece image
A conversation with Scott Reynolds Nelson about Russian empire and Ukrainian grain.

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 28, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
Conversations with Marc Weitzmann, María José Urzúa Valverde, Pico Iyer, and Tariq Ali about global reactions to the war in Ukraine.

  • Added: Apr 21, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
Piece image
A conversation with international relations scholar Stephen Walt about the war in Ukraine.

Bought by KUNM and WHCP-LP Cambridge


  • Added: Apr 14, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
Conversations with Shireen Al-Adiemi and Annelle Sheline about the war in Yemen.

Bought by KMXT


  • Added: Apr 08, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
A conversation with Brandon Terry and Andrew Bacevich about Martin Luther King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech.

Bought by WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass. and WYAP


  • Added: Mar 31, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
A conversation with Bill McKibben about fossil fuels, the war in Ukraine, and possibilities for clean energy.

Bought by Spokane Public Radio and WYAP


  • Added: Mar 24, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
A conversation with international relations experts David Kang, Stephen Wertheim, and Emma Ashford about lessons learned from the war in Ukraine.

Bought by KJZZ


  • Added: Mar 17, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
Conversations with Joseph Cirincione, Elaine Scarry, and Serhii Plokhii about nuclear weapons and the war in Ukraine.

  • Added: Mar 11, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
Piece image
A conversation with historian Adam Tooze about the war in Ukraine.

Bought by KMXT


  • Added: Mar 03, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
Conversations with Masha Gessen, John Lewis Gaddis, Monica Toft, and George Beebe.

Bought by WYAP and KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Feb 24, 2022
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
A conversation with Andrew Bacevich about the sorrows of American empire.

  • Added: Feb 17, 2022
  • Length: 58:30