The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth

Little, Brown. May 2019. 432p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780316513302. $29; ebk. ISBN 9780316513272. CRIME
The stereotype of the “welfare queen” came about in the 1970s in large part owing to one Linda Taylor, who caught the attention of the press when it was discovered that she had swindled thousands from public aid over the course of several years. Taylor lived under multiple aliases, had multiple addresses and cars, and was regularly seen wearing furs and expensive jewelry. Slate editor Levin pieces together the history of Taylor’s life, first focusing on her welfare fraud case. Taylor’s numerous lies and identities, combined with a corrupt, inept public aid system allowed her to go unnoticed for years. In the second half, Levin attempts to solve the question of Taylor’s true identity, tracking her across the country over the course of her life, through countless cons.
VERDICT While the stereotype of the welfare queen still remains, few know its origins. This is a highly recommended, fascinating examination of a prolific con artist, who by the end of her life may not have been able to distinguish between reality and her own lies.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing