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Matthew Desmond's account of the time he spent embedded among desperately poor people in Milwaukee is novelistic in its style and sweep and gut wrenching in its revelations about how it is becoming almost impossible for many, many Americans to find and keep a decent home.

— From Ezra

The Harvard sociologist embedded himself with white and black poverty-stricken families in Milwaukee and then wrote a masterpiece of narrative non-fiction depicting just how massively the deck is stacked against the American poor.

— From Holiday 2016- Nonfiction


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR NONFICTION - WINNER OF THE PEN/JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH AWARD FOR NONFICTION - WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION - FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by 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 - Bookpage - Kirkus Reviews - Amazon - Barnes and Noble Review - Apple - Library Journal - Chicago Public Library - Publishers Weekly - Booklist - Shelf Awareness
From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur -Genius- Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America

In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.
The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, -Love don't pay the bills.- She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America's vast inequality--and to people's determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.
Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

About the Author

Matthew Desmond is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and codirector of the Justice and Poverty Project. A former member of the Harvard Society of Fellows, he is the author of the award-winning book On the Fireline, coauthor of two books on race, and editor of a collection of studies on severe deprivation in America. His work has been supported by the Ford, Russell Sage, and National Science Foundations, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune. In 2015, Desmond was awarded a MacArthur "Genius" grant.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780553447439
ISBN-10: 0553447432
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY)
Publication Date: March 1st, 2016
Pages: 432
Language: English