What We Are Reading Today: The Winding Road to the Welfare State

Updated 03 January 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Winding Road to the Welfare State

Author: George R. Boyer

How did Britain transform itself from a nation of workhouses to one that became a model for the modern welfare state?
The Winding Road to the Welfare State investigates the evolution of living standards and welfare policies in Britain from the 1830s to 1950 and provides insights into how British working-class households coped with economic insecurity, according to a review on the Princeton University Press website.
George Boyer examines the retrenchment in Victorian poor relief, the Liberal Welfare Reforms, and the beginnings of the postwar welfare state, and he describes how workers altered spending and saving methods based on changing government policies.
From the cutting back of the Poor Law after 1834 to Parliament’s abrupt about-face in 1906 with the adoption of the Liberal Welfare Reforms, Boyer offers new explanations for oscillations in Britain’s social policies and how these shaped worker well-being.


What We Are Reading Today: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Updated 11 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist.

It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother— his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life, according to review published on goodreads.com.

The 18 personal essays collected in this book are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Noah illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty.

His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time.