Poverty and Profit in the American City

Book - 2016
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE * NAMED ONE OF TIME 'S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE * One of the most acclaimed books of our time, this modern classic "has set a new standard for reporting on poverty" (Barbara Ehrenreich, The New York Times Book Review ).

In Evicted , Princeton sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they each 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 twenty-first-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.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY President Barack Obama * 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 * Chicago Public Library * BookPage * Kirkus Reviews * Library Journal * Publishers Weekly * Booklist * Shelf Awareness

WINNER OF: The National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction * The PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction * The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction * The Hillman Prize for Book Journalism * The PEN/New England Award * The Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize


" Evicted stands among the very best of the social justice books." --Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth

"Gripping and moving--tragic, too." --Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones

" Evicted is that rare work that has something genuinely new to say about poverty." --San Francisco Chronicle
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2016]
Edition: First Edition.
ISBN: 9780553447439
Characteristics: x, 418 pages ; 25 cm


From the critics

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May 01, 2021

What an amazing book. Well rounded ethnography into the lifecycle of poverty. Enjoyed this way more than I thought I would - a personalized account for the many ways poverty effects every aspect of American life, and the dependency between the impoverished and the profiteers

Jan 23, 2021

Eye opening account of renting while poor. It has been awhile since I have lived in a rental, I have never tried to do it on welfare, with kids, having been evicted because husband didn't pay rent before beating me up and damaging property and taking off- and with no family to help me out. This book not only shows white privilege but middle class privilege, highly recommend.

ArapahoeJennieB Jan 16, 2021

A devastating but necessary exploration and examination of housing and the cycle of poverty that keeps our poorest citizens continually poor and oftentimes unhoused. It also examines the intersections of poverty, eviction and race. A very necessary and increasingly relevant read.

Nov 09, 2020

Extremely eye opening. Devastating read. It is a testament to the ravages of untethered capitalism. I also recommend "Incarceration Nation". Another eye opener.

Oct 28, 2020

As compelling and haunting as it is heartbreaking, this one will stick with you for a little while

Oct 24, 2019

Great book. Sad subject matter that is excellently researched and written about. A must read on a problem that is only growing in America.

Aug 13, 2019

Matthew Desmond's "Evicted" is, honest to God, probably my new favorite book. It somehow manages to be emotionally gripping (definitely cried a few times), unflinchingly factual, and cautiously hopeful all at the same time. It's so, so worth the read, and sparks a really needed conversation about housing as a human right in the United States.


I was surprised when I read Matthew Desmond’s nonfiction novel, Evicted. Desmond, a sociologist, followed eight families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as they struggled with poverty and eviction. I really enjoyed the way in which Desmond discussed the cycle of eviction. He explored all sides, working hard not to paint a particular party as the culprits of poverty. It was hard to read about the lifestyle that real people suffer through. I think it was really eye-opening to the ways in which poverty can occur. It is not necessarily self-inflicted and is a problem that is nearly inescapable. I think Desmond did a great job at explaining how multi-faceted eviction is. For anyone that wants to better understand a very different culture that exists in the lower class, Evicted is the right book to read. Emily, grade 12, of the Yorba Linda Teen Book Bloggers

Hillsboro_ElizabethH Jun 03, 2019

I read this book on the recommendation from the Library Director, and it is wonderful! It really sheds light on the housing crisis in America (who can afford rent these days, anyway?), and gives a voice to those who cannot afford it.

Since housing is a basic human right, how can we do this to those who need it the most, and how can they live in the deplorable situations they're forced to live in?

Apr 21, 2019

🏘️📚🌧 Housing is a basic human need. It irrevocably shapes our lives and our destinies. It also can be a lucrative and, at times, cruel and devastating business. This landmark nonfiction work tells eight stories of families who were swept up in the process of eviction. Along the way, the book sheds new light on the myriad social currents, large and small, that have brought American society to the brink of an alarming housing crisis. The people whose stories are told within— tenants and landlords alike— are expertly brought to life though the author’s masterfully descriptive and empathetic writing. I was completely engrossed in this astonishing book. The stories it tells seem so familiar yet they reveal something new about who we are as a society; about power, privilege, and the meaning of home. 📖

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Aug 05, 2019

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Apr 20, 2017

If incarceration had come to define the lives of men from impoverished black neighborhoods, eviction was shaping the lives of women. Poor black men were locked up. Poor black women were locked out.

Apr 20, 2017

There are two freedoms at odds with each other: the freedom to profit from rents and the freedom to live in a safe and affordable home.


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Apr 20, 2017

Between 2007 and 2009, the American housing market was shaken by the subprime mortgage crisis, in which banks foreclosed on millions of homeowners who could not keep up with their rapidly inflating mortgage payments. But another group of people is deeply affected by the trauma of displacement on a more regular basis: the renting poor. Many of these families are spending between fifty and seventy percent of their monthly income on housing, and even a small crisis can easily cause them to fall behind on the rent, making them subject to eviction. Sociologist Matthew Desmond takes the reader into two of Milwaukee’s poorest neighbourhoods, one predominantly white, the other mostly black, and spends eighteen months examining what happens when landlords evict those who have fallen behind on the rent.


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