IPT Book Reviews

Title: Of Sluts and Bastards: A Feminist Decodes the The Welfare Debate
Author: Louise Armstrong
Publisher: Common Courage Press 1995

Common Courage Press
P.O. Box 702
Monroe, ME 04951
(800) 243-0138
$29.95 (c) $18.95 (p)

This 344-page book describes the horrors of the child welfare system, particularly the foster home system. In 21 chapters, the author catalogs the child welfare system's defects and exposes its myths. But, although Armstrong has a good grasp of the problems in the system, her explanation of the causes is wrong and misleading. Throughout, she blames system defects on patriarchy and the dominance of white males. The book is filled with misunderstandings of child and adolescent development and women and mothers as abusers and Armstrong's strident and abrasive approach is likely to alienate many readers. The book is recommended for its compelling discussion of the problems in the system, but it falls far short of providing workable solutions.

Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Professor Emeritus of Social Work, West Virginia University.

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