Welcome to JasonDeParle.com

American Dream by Jason DeParle

Bill Clinton vowed to "end welfare as we know it" in 1992. Four years later, Congress translated a catchy slogan into a law that sent nine million women and children streaming from the rolls. Did it work? In his definitive book on this unprecedented upheaval in social policy, New York Times reporter and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Jason DeParle follows three women in one extended family to a set of surprising answers.

Cutting between the corridors of Washington and the meanest streets of Milwaukee, DeParle tracks the story from the White House to the local crack house. After twelve years on welfare, Angie, a truculent mother of three, finds a job and a 401 (k)--and a boyfriend who tries to shoot her. Her cousin Jewell, glamorous even in sweatpants, adores the children she struggles to support. Opal combines an antic wit with an appetite for cocaine while the welfare agency that is supposed to help her squanders its millions.

Drawing on more than a decade of reporting, DeParle traces their story back six generations to a common ancestor--a Mississippi slave--and adds politicians, case workers, reformers, and rogues to an epic exploration of America's struggle with poverty and dependency.

Book Reviews

"Courageous and deeply disturbing...transcend[s] journalism...DeParle challenges the nation."
New York Times - September 26, 2004
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"A powerful, bracing antidote...masterful detail."
Los Angeles Times - September 17, 2004
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"DeParle brilliantly captures this gritty reality....It might even become an instant classic along the lines of Anthony Lukas' 'Common Ground'.''
New Orleans Times Picayune - September 26, 2004
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"Exhaustively researched and eloquently reported....clear-headed, deeply sensitive, and richly informative.''
San Jose Mercury News - September 19, 2004
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"DeParle relates with authority and grace the compelling stories of Angela Jobe, Jewell Reed and Opal Caples, common descendants of a Mississippi slave, who bring their families to Milwaukee, a place DeParle calls "the epicenter of the anti-welfare crusade."
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - September 11, 2004
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"In its melding of storytelling, reporting, and history, it’s reminiscent of J. Anthony Lukas’s Common Ground, about busing in Boston."
The Washingtonian - September 23, 2004
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"nuanced and compelling....as complex as the subject warrants...the women's journey has an achetypal character."
The New York Times - November 3, 2004

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"richly researched, beautifully written."
Mother Jones - September-October 2004
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"reads like an epic novel."
The New York Post - October 10, 2004
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"beautifully written....important....the narrative really crackles.''
The New Republic - October 7, 2004
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"a panoramic view...starkly honest....a humorous, emotional story that is exhaustive in detail and scope.''
The Boston Globe - October 13, 2004
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"a superb piece of reporting and narrative...his stories simmer on the page....DeParle offers a highly complex response to the welfare debate that....reveal[s] a great deal about the economic landscape.''
Dissent - Summer 2004
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"a dramatic and moving journey...told through three amazing women.''
Townhall.com - Week of October 24-31, 2004
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"DeParle connects the personal and political ... with a keen eye and an even more remarkable pen.....I would like to hear DeParle tell the whole story all over again.''
The American Prospect - November 2004
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"Jason DeParle is a brave man and a great talent...[T]errific fun to read. Yes, a book about welfare reform that is fun to read.''
Detroit Free Press - November 14, 2004
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"
Jason DeParle brings together two groups of people who rarely seem to meet: welfare policy-makers and welfare recipients..''
The Nation - December 20, 2004
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Historically, lawmakers and social activists have focused on the plight of poor single women, most often the only caregivers to the children in their lives.''
Times-Picayune - February 18, 2005
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Book excerpts

Raising Kevion
New York Times Magazine - August 22, 2004
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The most inspired employee in America's most lauded welfare agency can barely do his job.
Washington Monthly - September 2004
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Reform's realities - One mom's struggle during welfare transition show pitfals on road to american dream
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - September 5, 2004

Welfare reform brings work but not orderly family life mother craves
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - September 6, 2004

Q&A with Jason DeParle
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - September 4, 2004
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A Welfare Mom's Moral Dilemma
www.Beliefenet.com - September 23, 2004-         ________________________________________________________________

Preview the first chapter of American Dream at the Center for American Progress - First Chapters Library:
American Dream - Chapter one

On the air

Audio/Video: A report by Paul Solman of WGBH-Boston about families, especially single mothers, trying to get off welfare and into the work force in part one of a two-part series.
PBS, NewsHour - February 14, 2005
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Audio:
Jason DeParle with NPR's Scott Simon.
Weekend Edition - 12/04/2004
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Audio: Jason DeParle on NPR's “Fresh Air”.
Fresh Air - 09/20/2004
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Audio: NPR Boston - Inside Welfare Reform
On Point - 09/22/2004
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Audio: introduction, presentation, first panel and Q&A
www.brook.edu - September 22, 2004
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Video: Interview with Jason DeParle 9/14/2004
Kaiser Family Foundation Broadcast Studio, Washington, D.C.
Video  |   View Transcrpt (pdf)
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Audio: The Diane Rehm Show
WAMU, Washington, D.C. Public Radio - October 27, 2004
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Audio: Forum with Michael Krasny
KQED, San Francisco Public Radio - October 18, 2004
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Audio: Eight Forty Eight with Steve Edwards
WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio - October 1, 2004
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Audio: Ben Merens
Wisconsin Public Radio - October 20, 2004
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Audio: Up to Date with Steve Kraske
KCUR, Kansas City Public Radio - November 8, 2004

Commentaries on American Dream

Jonah Edelman, Mickey Kaus, and Ron Haskins debate the implications of American Dream in Slate magazine
The Slate magazine - November 15, 2004
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Doug Moe: W-2 gets the big book treatment
The Capital Times - Wisconsin - September 21, 2004
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Bringing Up Fathers
The Boston Globe editorial - August 25, 2004
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Writer gives W-2 the big treatment
The Capital Times - Wisconsin - August 25, 2004
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Lost Sheep and the Welfare Wilderness (pdf)
Homiletics book review - November/December 2004
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Boalt's Edley, NYT's DeParle lead discussion of next steps for welfare reform
UCBerkeley News - October 19, 2004

 

 
 
  
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