The Queen is the bizarre, true tale of a psychopath who changed American history, an in-depth account of how one beguilingly complex woman, raised in the Jim Crow South and molded by gangland Chicago, transformed the way we think about race and poverty to this day.
Linda Taylor was one of the most gifted and most deranged criminals of modern times: a con artist, a thief, a kidnapper, and possibly a murderer. She was also the original “welfare queen.” Thanks to Ronald Reagan, who continuously cited Taylor’s larcenous behavior during his 1976 presidential campaign, she became the template for an insidious stereotype: the lazy, conniving, Cadillac-driving black woman who gets rich by grabbing public aid checks with both fists. The truth was worse, and more shocking.
A rich and inventively reported work of true crime, The Queen takes readers back to a place and time when a criminal like Linda Taylor could bafflingly remain free.