Non-Fiction Books:

Myth of the Welfare Queen

A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist's Portrait of Women on the Line


Paperback / softback

Customer rating

Click to share your rating 0 ratings (0.0/5.0 average) Thanks for your vote!

Share this product

Myth of the Welfare Queen by David Zucchino
Sorry, this product is not currently available to order


In this extraordinary first book by a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, author David Zucchino sets out to sift through the stereotypes, politics, and pure misinformation about families on welfare. A reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Zucchino gives us an intimate look at Odessa Williams and Cheri Honkala, two "welfare mothers" from Philadelphia, a city with a disproportionately large number of welfare recipients. He spends the better part of a year with these women, watching as Odessa constructs livable surroundings for herself and her extended family by scavenging and trash picking. Though her character, spirit, and resolve are constantly tested by family crises, she remains the strong and inspiring center of her large - and largely dependent - family. Zucchino also grows to admire Cheri, a single mother of one son, and a tireless advocate for the rights of the homeless. He watches as she helps one family after another pick up and keep on going. With utter dedication and zeal, and with remarkably little concern for material gains of her own, Cheri battles an inflexible city bureaucracy that in her view makes the already difficult lives of the city's poor nearly impossible. In this groundbreaking and beautifully written book, Zucchino balances his reporter's objectivity with profound compassion. In seeking to answer the question "What do welfare mothers do all day?" he uncovers no easy answers but is able to say definitively: "If there were any Cadillac-driving, champagne-sipping, penthouse-living, welfare queens in Philadelphia, I didn't find them."
Release date NZ
February 1st, 1999
Country of Publication
United States
Product ID

Customer reviews

Nobody has reviewed this product yet. You could be the first!

Write a Review

Marketplace listings

There are no Marketplace listings available for this product currently.
Already own it? Create a free listing and pay just 9% commission when it sells!

Sell Yours Here

Help & options

  • If you think we've made a mistake or omitted details, please send us your feedback. Send Feedback
  • If you have a question or problem with this product, visit our Help section. Get Help
Filed under...