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American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation's Drive to End Welfare Paperback – August 30, 2005
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The three compelling women at the heart of DeParle's narrative are vastly different temperamentally, yet they share the abstract qualities of strength and endurance, as well as extended family ties. DeParle paints their portraits with respect and sensitivity, and he provides a marvelous family history that reveals how "the story of welfare" is painfully "tangled in the story of race." Our glimpse at these difficult lives and the forces that profoundly shape them inspire an equal measure of hope and disappointment, and a large measure of outrage. As these remarkably resilient women struggle to raise their families, corruption is exposed in the very offices charged with implementing the newly adopted reforms. DeParle accepts that removing nine million women and children from the welfare rolls represents enormous progress. However, he simultaneously recognizes that we are dismally failing to confront a consequence of welfare reform: a new class of working poor. --Silvana Tropea --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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American Drean is at turns inspiring, frustrating, and unsatisfying. The hard work and occasional successes of Deparle's subjects cannot fail to remind the reader of the amazing ability of humans to overcome obstacles placed in their path. The dismal job done by welfare, whether pre- or post-reform to actually help people will infuriate the reader, as even people who believe that government has no business trying to support the poor would like to see such programs that exist do well, and to see the poor given every opportunity to improve their lot. Ultimately, American Dream cannot help but be unsatisfying to the reader, because Deparle offers no false ending to his story: these women continue to struggle even today (George Will recently mentioned one of them in an op-ed piece), and their struggle will undoubtedly be with them to the end of their lives.
Deparle deserves credit for neither sugarcoating the problem nor penning a jeremiad. His story simply presents a collection of successes and failures, painted against the backdrop of welfare and welfare reform. American Dream notes the massive obstacles the poor face in attempting to break out of poverty, obstacles those of us in the middle class often have no familiarity with.Read more ›
Trying to assess if we have, in fact, "ended welfare as we know it," DeParle boldly challenges the nation to push beyond its stereotypic one-dimensional view of welfare moms as largely African American, lazy, angry, single mothers eager to manipulate and get over on the system. Instead, DeParle does something really astounding...he tells us the truth-no filters, no screens, no smoke and mirrors, just the truth-a real picture of real women who are strong, and determined, and yes, angry, and also creative and frightened and proud and resilient. Women working really hard at trying to make sense of their own personal truth, their life experiences on welfare, and figuring out how to survive it. It's not necessarily a pretty picture, but it's a real picture, and it's an honest picture. And, for those who grew up in poverty and on welfare, it provides an opportunity to redeem their past with a sense of dignity and integrity. This is a must read for anyone interested in government, politics, welfare policy and the truth about life in the subculture of poverty in America.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Describes the complexities and challenges facing poverty in America from the perspective of three women and politics.Published 4 months ago by Kathryn Hernandez
This was one of the most fascinating books I read all year. It is about social justice, welfare reform, and generational poverty. Read morePublished 10 months ago by alexa hackett
Magnificent book that describes welfare without one stone unturned. Every hypothesis or statement made about welfare is described in detail in this book with very poignant and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Alex Herrera
It was an eye opener for me regarding the homeless, welfare and how it was managed/mismanage. So sorry for those poor people.Published 13 months ago by carol skilling
Love the book, very insightful with a mix of personal story and policy. Great conditionPublished 14 months ago by burnettm
Not what I though !! It has more politics in it then personal story. Not a good read it was just okPublished 20 months ago by Lola