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Evicted : Poverty and Profit in the American City
by Matthew Desmond


Overview - WINNER OF THE 2017 PULITZER PRIZE FOR GENERAL NONFICTION

In Evicted , Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads.  Read more...


 
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More About Evicted by Matthew Desmond
 
 
 
Overview
WINNER OF THE 2017 PULITZER PRIZE FOR GENERAL NONFICTION

In Evicted, Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Hailed as "wrenching and revelatory" (The Nation), "vivid and unsettling" (New York Review of Books), Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America's most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR NONFICTION - WINNER OF THE PEN/JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH AWARD FOR NONFICTION - WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION - FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE - WINNER OF THE 2017 HILLMAN PRIZE FOR BOOK JOURNALISM - WINNER OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE HEARTLAND PRIZE

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by The New York Times Book Review - The Boston Globe - The Washington Post - NPR - Entertainment Weekly - The New Yorker - Bloomberg - Esquire - Buzzfeed - Fortune - San Francisco Chronicle - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Politico - The Week - Bookpage - Kirkus Reviews - Amazon - Barnes and Noble Review - Apple - Library Journal - Chicago Public Library - Publishers Weekly - Booklist - Shelf Awareness

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780553447439
  • ISBN-10: 0553447432
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY)
  • Publish Date: March 2016
  • Page Count: 432
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Social Science > Poverty
Books > Social Science > Sociology - Urban
Books > Social Science > Social Classes & Economic Disparity

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-01-04
  • Reviewer: Staff

Gripping storytelling and meticulous research undergird this outstanding ethnographic study, in which Desmond (On the Fireline), an associate professor of sociology at Harvard, explores the impact of eviction on poverty-stricken families in Milwaukee, Wis. Living first in a rundown trailer park with predominantly white tenants and then in an African-American inner-city neighborhood, Desmond conducted fieldwork by observing and asking questions of his neighbors; later, he collected extensive data about eviction specifically in the private rental market. The book reveals the concentrated suffering of people repeatedly faced with the loss of their homes. He shares the stories of Lamar, a double amputee raising adolescent boys; Scott, who tries to conquer his heroin addiction and return to his nursing career; single mom Arleen, her sons, and their cat, Little; and five other families. In one gut-wrenching scene, Desmond shadows a moving crew as they evict numerous households in one day, finding in one tenant’s face “the look of someone realizing that her family would be homeless in a matter of hours.” Desmond identifies affordable housing as a leading social justice issue of our time and offers concrete solutions to the crisis. Agent: Jill Kneerim, Kneerim and Williams. (Mar.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Inside the rental crisis

Read it and weep. You’ll find it hard not to. Written by a Harvard sociologist, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City has the character development and dramatic drive of a first-rate novel. The core of Desmond’s study was conducted in Milwaukee from 2008 to 2009 and focuses on the day-to-day agonies of specific people who were frequently evicted from their homes by private landlords. In most cases, rent took from 50 to 70 percent of the tenants’ monthly income, a situation that made late payment or non-payment inevitable—and always reason to evict.

What makes Matthew Desmond’s account so compelling is that he lived among the people whose travails he chronicles. Some of the victims—mostly black and often women with children—lived in the inner city; the others, overwhelmingly white, lived in a dilapidated trailer park on the edge of town. He also spent time with landlords to get their sides of the story.

Again and again we witness the tenants’ last-minute attempts to find rent money, negotiating with their landlords, sitting helplessly in court as judges rule against them, watching their possessions being tossed onto the sidewalk and explaining to their kids why they’re moving to yet another school. Desmond is clearly sympathetic, but he is no sentimentalist. He reveals all the blemishes of the dispossessed—their unwise ways with money, addiction to drugs and alcohol and casual attitudes toward birth control. Still, he knows that poverty seldom builds character.

Desmond argues that government-subsidized housing vouchers should be available to low-income families and that landlords should be required to accept them. “Decent, affordable housing should be a basic right for everybody in this country,” he concludes. “The reason is simple: without stable shelter, everything else falls apart.”

 

This article was originally published in the March 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews