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Evicted by Matthew Desmond
Social sciences

Evicted

by Matthew Desmond

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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

    Sad

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Acclaim

    Critically acclaimed

Synopsis

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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Why I love it

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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Member ratings (1,201)

  • Sarah L.

    Richardson, 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.

  • Victoria L.

    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.

  • 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.

  • Mariaisabel M.

    Hillsboro, OR

    A heartbreaking account of the extreme poverty some American’s face on a daily basis. My heart aches for the children raised under these circumstances and for the mothers and fathers who try so hard.

  • Cody E.

    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.

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