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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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