Slate Presents: The Queen | The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth

Slate Presents: The Queen | The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth

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Linda Taylor was a con artist, a kidnapper, maybe even a murderer. She was also America’s original “welfare queen,” the villain Ronald Reagan needed to create a vision of a country being taken advantage of by its poorest citizens. In The Queen, Josh Levin reveals the never-before-told story of a woman whose singular life was forgotten in the rush to create a vicious American stereotype. Each season of Slate Presents brings you a new narrative mini-series.


Bonus | The Queen: An Audiobook Preview
Jun 17 • 23 min
Listen to the first chapter of the audiobook version of The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth. Narrated by January LaVoy.
Bonus | The Queen: How to Write This Book
Jun 11 • 20 min
In this excerpt from the second bonus episode of The Queen, Dan Kois talks to Josh Levin about the process of writing the reporting-intensive book the podcast series is based on. They’re joined by a panel of three distinguished authors, who share their…
Bonus | The Queen: The Kidnapping of Baby Fronczak
Jun 10 • 11 min
Is it possible that Linda Taylor perpetrated one of the most infamous child abductions in American history? In this excerpt from the first bonus episode of The Queen, Josh Levin talks to Paul Joseph Fronczak about how Taylor could be connected to the…
The Queen | Ep. 04: Bobbie and Diana
Jun 7 • 31 min
Linda Taylor had a tendency to emerge from out of nowhere, upend everything in her path, then vanish without leaving a forwarding address. The final episode of The Queen focuses on two different stories about the lives Taylor changed. In one case, she…
The Queen | Ep. 03: Constance
Jun 6 • 26 min
A decade before she became known as the “welfare queen,” Linda Taylor put herself at the center of a different Chicago scandal. Upon the death of gambling kingpin Lawrence Wakefield, Taylor posed as the heir to his sizable fortune. The ensuing court…
The Queen | Ep. 02: An Incredible Con
Jun 5 • 25 min
In the 1970s, a pair of very different men fought to define Linda Taylor’s image. For presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, Taylor epitomized the brokenness of the federal bureaucracy and the broader trend of poor people getting rich off the public dime.…
The Queen | Ep. 01: Coronation
Jun 4 • 23 min
Linda Taylor became the “welfare queen” in 1974 when the Chicago Tribune publicized her outrageous exploits. The reporter who introduced her to the world was a Pulitzer Prize winner named George Bliss. He stumbled into the Taylor story while investigating…
Season 3 Trailer | The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth
Jun 3 • 7 min
Linda Taylor was a con artist, a kidnapper, maybe even a murderer. She was also America’s original “welfare queen,” the villain Ronald Reagan needed to create a vision of a country being taken advantage of by its poorest citizens. In The Queen, Josh Levin…
Charged | Ep 6: The Other Side
May 22 • 30 min
We check in with Tarari and others as they complete their time in the diversion program and look toward their futures. We hear from the people inside the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office about their plans to reshape their slice of the criminal justice…
Charged | Ep 5: The Long Tail
May 15 • 42 min
A standalone episode about one of the voices featured in our series who is introduced to listeners as an expert but who goes through his own harrowing experience with the system when he’s sent to Rikers a few days shy of completing his parole. We document…
Charged | Ep 4: The Escape Hatch
May 8 • 32 min
Tarari enters a diversion program which saves him from jail but puts his life — and the lives of other defendants like him — on a knife’s edge. We hear from social workers who run the program about the many ethical quandaries of trying to help their…
Charged | Ep 3: The Ghost of Tyrone Howard
May 1 • 28 min
Tarari faces a very long prison sentence before he’s offered the chance at mercy — with many strings attached. An episode from Eric’s past comes back to haunt him as he campaigns for D.A. and thinks through the consequences of extending mercy to people…
Charged | Ep 2: Criminogenic
Apr 24 • 33 min
As his family and friends hustle to come up with his bail money, Tarari ends up at one of the most infamous jails in the country: Rikers Island. Eric runs for his own term as district attorney just as the demands to close Rikers heat up.
Charged 1+: The Making of Charged
Apr 20 • 24 min
This is a free preview of a Slate Plus bonus episode of Charged. Only Slate Plus members get an additional episode of Charged every week, diving deeper into the legal issues discussed on the show. To listen to the rest of the bonus episodes this season,…
Charged | Ep 1: Born In Brooklyn
Apr 17 • 31 min
The mayor of New York deals with a big political problem by creating a new court in Brooklyn. Two men, born 25 years and a few blocks apart in Brooklyn, take entirely different paths to meet at that court—one as a defendant and the other as the district…
Season 2 Trailer | Charged: A True Punishment Story
Mar 8 • 3 min
Season 1 of Slate Presents brought you the story of Ruby Ridge, and Season 2 brings you a fight to transform one big-city justice system.
Standoff | Ep. 4: Afterlife
Nov 28, 2018 • 34 min
In the final episode of Standoff, our narrative miniseries on the story of Ruby Ridge, host Ruth Graham recaps the prosecution of Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris, and explores how the story of the standoff became legendary among the modern far right.Slate…
Standoff | Ep. 3: The Wisdom of the Crowd
Nov 21, 2018 • 28 min
Host Ruth Graham describes what happens for the bulk of the 11-day siege on the Weaver family property. As the surviving Weavers stayed holed up inside their cabin, their story attracted droves of supporters and rabble-rousers to rural Idaho.Slate Plus…
Standoff | The Order and Women in White Power
Nov 14, 2018 • 27 min
Sociologist James Aho offers more on the The Order, a white supremacist group that went on a violent crime spree in the 1980s, and historian Kathleen Belew describes the role women played within white power movements.To join Slate Plus, sign up at…
Standoff | Ep. 2: Rules of Engagement
Nov 7, 2018 • 33 min
Ruth Graham breaks down what led to a shootout on the Weaver family property on Aug. 21, 1992, that left three people dead.
Standoff | Ep. 1: Two Shotguns
Oct 31, 2018 • 32 min
Randy and Vicki Weaver moved their family to a remote Idaho cabin. They feared their world would be destroyed in an apocalyptic confrontation with the federal government. They were right.In this first episode of our new narrative miniseries Standoff, host…
Season 1 Trailer | Standoff: What Happened at Ruby Ridge?
Oct 23, 2018 • 2 min
In 1992, hundreds of armed federal agents surrounded a family of white separatists in a ramshackle mountaintop cabin. Eleven days later, three people were dead—and the story of Ruby Ridge was just beginning. Journalist Ruth Graham explores a tragedy…