Two social-issues reporters discover that Daniel Moynihan was not the father of ""welfare reform"" but its front man, that the plan which in essence died in Congress in October 1972 had been hatched seven years earlier in Sargent Shriver's OEO office. The Burkes show how, once it finally reached the public arena, the issue split traditional political blocs. The book assembles a lifelike procession of actors, roles, places and forces, with a fine feel for presidential politics. Though strong FAP advocates, the authors do not hide the income loss the plan would bring to many Northern welfare families, but they insist that the principle is more important than the payment. They do fail to say where jobs will be found for the poor; they also neglect to locate FAP in the array of 1960's manpower legislation which includes the Work Incentive Plan; and they occasionally indulge in the yellow journalism sport of decrying ""overpayments"" to those receiving benefits. At a time of welfare slashes and exacerbated economic uncertainty, to measure the efficacy of the guaranteed income principle in combating poverty might be far harder than the authors allow. But as a political process analysis, the book is especially acute, and this merit outweighs the difficulties with its arguments for FAP. Vincent Burke, now deceased, was a Washington correspondent and expert on welfare; Vee Burke is on the staff of the Joint Economic Subcommittee of Congress.