Nauru is a tiny island, population 12,000, a third of the size of Manhattan and far from anywhere: Yet at the center of several of the decade’s biggest global events. On the radio program ‘This American Life’, Jack Hitt tells the story of this dot in the middle of the Pacific and its involvement in the bankrupting of the Russian economy, global terrorism, North Korean defectors, the end of the world, and the late 1980s theatrical flop of a London musical based on the life of Leonardo da Vinci.

Stream the radio episode online (30 minutes)