Through a practical introduction to the policies of the American welfare state—a wide-ranging subject much discussed but seldom described—this concise volume details the four main areas of social welfare policy: housing assistance, nutrition assistance, income assistance, and medical assistance. In plain, approachable language, author Brian Glenn explains, for example, how Section 8 housing vouchers function, what WIC is, the Medicare program, and what Temporary Aid to Needy Families does. It is written in a manner that allows a complete novice to understand these programs in a brisk and comprehensive fashion that is both short enough to assign over a couple of nights in a course and yet detailed enough for the programs to be understood at a quite nuanced level. Due to federalism, many of these programs differ, sometimes dramatically, from locality to locality, and thus in order to understand how these policies function, Glenn looks at the support a poor household would receive in five cities: Boston, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. This covers not only a geographic spread, but also the range of programs from those on the higher end of the spectrum to those at the lowest levels of support, giving the reader a feel for the range of funding levels and also the variety of different ways programs can be implemented. In short, this book is meant to be a handy little teaching and research tool that a professor can assign over a night or two to fill a huge gap in the literature on a subject that many want to teach but lack the knowledge and resources to do.