Memoirs of a Welfare Warrior: Book Review

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Book review of:
Work over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law, by Ron Haskins. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 2006, 450 pp., $32.95 hardcover.


August 22, 2006, marked the tenth anniversary of President Clinton’s signing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, called, as Washington insists, PRWORA. PRWORA famously replaced welfare as we knew it, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Welfare policy history is told in many books; Work over Welfare is surely one of the best and most likely to become part of the enduring record of what many consider a watershed event in American social policy. Students of the policy-making process, the Congress, welfare programs, and welfare policy analysis should read it. This review tells why, and counsels caution—not about buying the book, but about buying the story.

Suggested citation:
Wiseman, Michael. “Memoirs of a Welfare Warrior” (review of Work over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law by Ron Haskins). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 26(4), Autumn 2007, 969-974.