American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation’s Drive to end Welfare

American Dream by Jason DeParle

From the book jacket: Bill Clinton’s “drive to end welfare” sent 9 million women and children streaming from the rolls. In this masterful work, New York Times reporter and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Jason DeParle cuts between the mean streets of Milwaukee and the corridors of Washington to produce the definitive account. As improbable as fiction, and equally face-paced, this classic of literary journalism has captured the acclaim of the Left and the Right.

At the heart of the story are three cousins, inseparable at the start but launched on differing arcs. Leaving welfare, Angie puts her heart into her work. Jewell bets on an imprisoned man. Opal guards a tragic secret that her kids and her life. DeParle traces back their family history six generations to slavery, and weaves poor people, politicians, reformers, and rogues into a spellbinding epic.

At times, the very idea of America seemed on trial: we live in a country, where anyone can make it, yet generation after generation some families don’t. To read American Dream is to understand why.

View the library’s holdings information on this book here.

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