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David Zucchino Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Myth of the Welfare Queen (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Thunder Run (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wilmington's Lie (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

David Zuchinno
David Zucchino is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and author. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1996. In addition to his work with The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was on staff from 1980 until 2001, he has been a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, United Press International, and Knight-Ridder newspapers.

He has written several books, including Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad; On American Soil: How Justice Became a Casualty of World War II; and Myth of the Welfare Queen. He lives in Los Angeles.

Myth Of Welfare Queen
Zucchino narrated the lives of two mothers, Odessa Williams and Cheri Honkala, to closely examine their daily life. Each chapter tells the story of a day in the life of Odessa and Cheri. The author goes on to highlight their welfare interactions, how they budget, what expenditures come first.
In a housing project, Odessa lives with her three children, ages 17, 8, and 4. Cheri lives with her three children, ages 4 months to 11 years old, in a donated car. Upon reading, the reader is left with sympathy for these women in America who are forced to live in poverty.
Zucchino’s story of these two families was both inspiring albeit disturbing at times. He describes Cheri’s life as a mother who is involved in every aspect of her children’s lives despite living in a car. The author also explains how Cheri is very effective as a community leader and activist who has won numerous awards for her work.

Odessa receives welfare benefits but at times struggles with the rules about how much income she can receive per month before losing those benefits. Both women deal with their hardships by living each day to its fullest and doing what needs to be done for their families. They refuse to live in poverty and provide the best they can for their children.

The story allows the reader to realize that there is more than one side of these women who receive benefits from society: the side that people often see and judge as leeches living off the system and the side shown in this book.

The story of these women is so memorable because of how they are fighting hard to better their situations for their children. It was refreshing to see a different perspective on welfare recipients after hearing so many people criticize our social support system.

This book is perfect for anyone who is interested in learning more about the lives of people living in poverty. The story features an inspiring view of two women struggling daily with the odds against them. This book presented a different side of welfare recipients than what so often gets reported on in the news.
Wilmington’s Lie

In Wilmington’s lie, Zucchino counts the racial violence that broke out in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898. In the 1890s, Wilmington was the largest city in North Carolina and an excellent example of a mixed-race community. It was a busy city with a flourishing middle class and a coalition government of Populists and Republicans, including magistrates, black older men, and police officers.

There were significant and successful black-owned businesses and an African American newspaper, The Record. However, the white supremacist Democrats worked to reverse advances made by earlier slaves and their families across the state and the South.

In response to a speech calling for white men to defend southern womanhood against the alleged threat of a black predator, Alexander Manly, the newspaper editor, said that some relationships between white and black men were consensual.

These ignited outrages in the South with calls execute Manly. However, the white supremacist Democrats had another idea. Since they were planning to take control of the legislature by any means, even if it meant to shed blood, they wanted to use Manly’s editorial to spark a race riot to overthrow Wilmington’s multi-race government.

White supremacists were led by prominent citizens to orchestrate campaigns that included harsh rallies, sensational fabricated news, and race-baiting editorials. The democrats suppressed the black vote and filled ballot boxes with violence to win control of the legislature.

Two days later, over two thousand fully armed people came to Wilmington, burning the record office while torturing women and children while shooting black men in the streets. The city officials were threatened to resign and were replaced by mob leaders.

The ambush led to the death of two police officers and three white men. The whites retaliated by lynching at least six black residents (others estimate this number is closer to twenty-seven), with no intervention from federal troops. A lot of traumatized black families take refuge in the nearby forests and swamps.
Before the conflict ended, more than two thousand people had been left homeless, dozens were dead or dying, and many businesses–including Wilmington’s newspaper, black churches, and schools–had been destroyed.

Even though the election-day rioting was not featured in the national press, the author highlights the fighting together with sporadic disturbances throughout the South during this period. Demonstrated the deep anger African Americans felt at continued white violence against them.

In this book, Zucchino argues that white southerners were able to keep black citizens disenfranchised by manipulating the memory of the 1898 riots, downplaying their violent nature, and suppressing any evidence of resistance from blacks. He also suggests that local whites may have been responsible for a 1921 attack on a black neighborhood, which had been blamed on the Ku Klux Klan.

The author, David Zucchino, provides a vivid research and numerous first-hand accounts to support the book’s argument that white southerners used “inventing racism” as a way to maintain social control. The riot is a rare occasion of a violent overthrow of the government in the United States.

It highlights the good things done by blacks and the restoration of racism as a government policy for another century. In Wilmington’s Lie, the author creates a compelling story to weave together stories of fear, hate, and brutality.

Book Series In Order » Authors » David Zucchino

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