The Queen

The Queen

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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. 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.


Bonus | 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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Bonus | How to Write This Book
Jun 10 • 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 Kidnapping of Baby Fronczak
Jun 5 • 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…
Bobbie and Diana
Jun 3 • 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…
Constance
May 27 • 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…
An Incredible Con
May 20 • 24 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.…
Coronation
May 13 • 24 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…
Introducing The Queen
May 6 • 2 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. Josh Levin reveals the…