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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Cover: 'Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City'

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

★★★★★

This book is the result of an ethnographic study undertaken by Matthew Desmond, an associate professor of Sociology at Harvard (who earned his PhD at UW-Madison). Desmond researched the impact of eviction on distressed families in Milwaukee, WI. Over the course of 2008-2009, he lived in a substandard trailer park, whose tenants were largely white, and in an African-American inner city neighborhood on the north side and came to know tenants, their neighbors, and landlords. His research, which includes the perspectives of both tenants and landlords, presents a sobering picture of people consumed by their attempts to find, secure, and retain housing, and the far-reaching destabilization eviction creates. Desmond includes data and other research, including the results of a survey he created based on his fieldwork, that provides additional insight into the eviction phenomenon. Desmond argues that affordable housing is a critical element for struggling individuals and families to stabilize and rebuild their lives and proposes concrete measures to counter the eviction crisis. I appreciated the thoughtful care with which this topic and its subjects were explored and highly recommend this book. It may be scholarly be definition, but it is a compelling, accessible book. People interested in housing and social justice issues or who have experienced eviction directly or indirectly are likely to appreciate this book.

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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