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Evicted by Matthew Desmond
Social sciences


by Matthew Desmond

Quick take

This book shines a spotlight on America's homelessness problem. It’s painful, profound, and 100% necessary.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SocialIssues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad


  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Serious


Why I love it

Marissa Herrera-Vining

Having worked as a Fair Housing Investigator for a few years, I'm pretty familiar with the economics of the housing market, the heartbreaking stories of ordinary families trying to evade homelessness, and the quicksand-like conditions that predatory loan practices create for them. I read Evicted when it was first published in 2016, and find myself thinking of it often. After recently reading it again, I’m sad to report that the realities depicted in this book are still heartbreakingly accurate today.

In this nonfiction account of the pitfalls of the housing market, Matthew Desmond provides a holistic view of the many factors that keep families trapped below the poverty line. With impeccable research and journalistic flair, Desmond describes these struggles through the eyes of eight families in Milwaukee. The more I read of their misfortunes, the more I cheered for and admired them. I felt like I was a part of their community.

Today’s world can feel like an echo chamber of the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality, but Desmond shows that, for many, poverty occurs regardless of how hard you tug on those bootstraps. Evicted is a fact-based story that is both an informative and highly relevant read. I believe it will have an everlasting impact.

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

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Member thoughts

All (648)
All (648)
Love (404)
Like (220)
Dislike (24)
679 ratings
  • 59% Love
  • 32% Like
  • 4% Dislike
  • Dallas, TX

    Stories cause people to move, to act, outside of rhetoric/buzz words. This piece put real stories of humanity’s struggle within the American housing system. I reflect back on the characters often.

  • Brick , NJ

    As a social worker, I loved this book for the mix of gently inserted facts as well as the personified and heartfelt picture of eviction. It reminded me of “Myth of the Welfare Queen” in its themes.

  • Ballwin, MO

    Not a very catching book but so informational. I educated myself on things I had no idea I didn’t know. So glad I read this. Long book but I can go forward with a new take on poverty and how to help.

  • Layton, UT

    No wonder it won the Pulitzer; paints such a powerful picture of the tug of war between poverty and profit in America, from the perspectives of tenants and landlords. All I can say is, it’s sickening.

  • Farmington Hills, MI

    WOW. The author definitely experienced a lot first hand while writing this book. He truly went into poverty and witnessed many evictions. This is such a profound issue in our country and many suffer.

  • San Antonio, TX

    So much information in a single book. I could not help but stop during reading to process the realities of what the book was laying out. It brought me closer to understanding what poverty truly means

  • Seattle, WA

    If you can only read one book in 2020, read this one. An honest and deeply human look at the impact evictions have on American people—the stories captured are as timely as they are heartbreaking.

  • Sterling, VA

    This was eye-opening and explores the harsh reality of living in poverty in America. We don't often take a deeper look into the dire situation in America, and this one does a remarkable job of it.

  • Houston, TX

    A must read. We need to make a difference to unfairness, inequality, & contrast of what our fathers meant in the Constitution. America is the “land of freedom,” let’s make that real for all!

  • Norfolk, VA

    This should be required reading. I appreciated Desmond’s inside look into his methodology at the end, and his offering of a potential solution. This book is heartbreaking and so important.

  • Gloucester, MA

    A book for anyone interested in the housing market (housing crisis) we have in this county. Working hard to get ahead verses just working hard. A textbook read with real, relatable stories.

  • Sioux Falls , SD

    I don’t know if Love is the correct term. It was enlightening and feel everyone needs to read this to understand this rotten system. Felt exhaustion and empathy for these characters.

  • Falls Church, VA

    An incredible inside look to the housing crisis in America. A crisis that spans across age and race and affects millions of Americans daily. A poignant look into many American lives.

  • Oklahoma City , OK

    Did not expect to love this as much as I did. Who would have thought that the story is from a study. Author did a great job telling the stories as he gathered the information.

  • Rangeley, ME

    A thought provoking look at poverty from both the tenants side and the landlords. A lot of research has gone into this book. It has received the Nobel Prize as well!

  • Kenosha, WI

    Eye-opening and heartbreaking. The system is so flawed. If you are born into poverty, it can be extremely challenging to turn it around. Count your blessings!!

  • Fargo, ND

    This book is exceptionally well researched and does an incredible job of imparting the impact of rental housing and evictions on the experience of poverty.

  • Kankakee , IL

    As someone who works in a housing program this was a really great read. It definitely gave me another perspective to the industry I’m in.

  • Queen Creek, AZ

    A compelling summary of renter lives and those that control them. This was a really informative, eye-opening read. Very well done!

  • Chicago, IL

    Incredibly thorough and heartbreaking. Well-written stories bring the alarming data on the real housing crisis in America to life.

Social sciences
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