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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American…
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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (edition 2017)

by Matthew Desmond (Author)

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1,2001259,638 (4.42)1 / 326
Member:TheCriticalTimes
Title:Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Authors:Matthew Desmond (Author)
Info:Broadway Books (2017), Edition: 1, 448 pages
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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

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English (125)  Piratical (1)  All languages (126)
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
When I first started reading Evicted I was a little concerned, thinking my background in real estate would impede my judgment, and I'd come out with an extremely biased review. The introduction gave me the impression that there would be a variety of stories contained in the book however, I did feel there was nothing unexpected. I struggle to admit I didn't have much empathy for most of the people, however, I abhor the condition of the homes they lived in.

This might not be the best book for me to review but I picked it up because I recently started working at a small company in real estate development which helps with low-income housing and I was looking to gain a better understanding of the reality but also because this was one of Goodreads 2016 Nonfiction nominees. While I do feel the stories in the book were what one would expect I also feel Matthew did a wonderful job of keeping me engaged enough to get through the book to bring me to the conclusion.

What I need to take into consideration is that in '09 Milwaukee had the 4th highest poverty rate in the US for major cities. The year prior they ranked at 11 which is still high on the list. I need to not look at this book in a way to nitpick the details but to take this in as a big picture economic and social issue. The reality is that the real estate aspect of these stories is just the result of a bigger issue in play.

The final part of the book, Matthew takes the time to not only ask questions but give at least partial solutions to the issues in play and how he thinks it will change things. He and I may have some conflicting thoughts, or perhaps I have questions not answered, I do agree changes need to be made and I am thankful he took the time to write this book and feel everyone should take the time to read this.



Note: I'd like to say more but I feel like it might ruin the experience of the book if you decide to pick it up. ...and I want to prevent myself from hopping up on a soapbox. If you do pick this up, please reach out! I'd love to have a conversation more in depth. ( )
  Kylana | Aug 13, 2018 |
I don't even know why I got this book....sure don't remember requesting it.....couldn't read it.
  DeanieG | Aug 4, 2018 |
I will not do a synopsis for this as it’s been widely publicized and the title sort of gives it away. What I will say is this is a book of two parts. The first is a highly personalized account of the lives of several people whom the author meets and lives with in the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee. The second is the set of notes at the back of the book containing research methodology, statistics, references, and all the other things one expects to find in notes. What makes this book so brilliant is that each supports the other so well. The very detailed research and stats reinforced and heighten the impact of the very individual stories in the text.

The other thing I really liked about this book, and that flipped a switch in my brain, was how present the author's voice was. So much of that has been edited out of nonfiction in the name of objectivity. It’s nice to see someone stop and say, no actually we shouldn’t be totally objective about this topic because it’s tragic and preventable. I’m seeing this more in public discourse and am glad that it seems activism is no longer a fringe movement.

Some lowlights:

African American women are disproportionately affected by eviction - 9% of Milwaukee’s population but 30% of it’s evictions.

Patrice, age 24, lived 4 miles from the shore of Lake Michigan (1 hour walking, 30 minutes by bus, 15 by car) and she had never been.

Housing voucher tenants are generally charged above market rate due to the maximums allowed by the program at approximately $3.6 million a year (or an additional 588 families that could be served by the program).

Jori, age 13, has decided he wants to be a carpenter when he grows up so he can build his mom a house.

Lots on the effects of poverty on mental health, the texture of scarcity, the transitory state between stability and instability - individual choices being made by “exhausted settlers” not rational actors.

A stat on children (which harkens back to my reading about Chicago’s public housing) - 1% increase in children in a neighborhood = 7% increase in evictions - high youth to adult ratios putting strain on community policing and support. ( )
  janemarieprice | May 27, 2018 |
This was an excellent book. I always enjoy literature written in a journalistic style. Coming from a place of privilege, it opened my eyes to the realities facing poor in inner cities, and to the barriers that keep them poor. I definitely recommend this to anyone seeking to better understand the social issues driving poverty.

I received this book from the publisher as part of a Goodreads giveaway. ( )
  Keith.Benjamin | May 10, 2018 |
Evicted. Poverty. Profit. Not exactly thrill-of-the-month club topics. Okay, maybe it will have a few interesting anecdotes to make a point or two stand out. Otherwise, we sense a narrative of endless gray coming on. But, then we start reading. Characters get introduced. For instance, "Petite with chestnut skin, Sherrena wore a lightweight red-and-blue jacket that matched her pants, which matched her off-kilter NBA cap. She liked to laugh, a full, open-mouthed hoot, sometimes catching your shoulder as if to keep from falling." Then you notice each and every character is very much an individual, very much nuanced, even in their own constant repetitions of life activities. And there's a full slate of people the author gives us to follow as they slide in and out of each others lives. Things go well, and things go very, very badly, and some things sneak up on folks. Admittedly, maybe small things in the scope of life, but they can be that surprisingly light weight straw that breaks the camels back, such as this passage on news of an adolescent getting news about his cat that he had to leave behind at one point: "When they arrived at the old address, the boys ran up to Trisha’s apartment to see Little. But Little was dead. A car had ground him into the pavement. When Trisha told Jori, he tried to keep himself from crying. He paced around Trisha’s apartment and sleeve-attacked the snot sliding from his nose." Wait a minute. This is a non-fiction social policy book? Unlike the usual diet of facts, figures, policies, and examples to back them up, this book -- reading very much like fictional drama -- let's the reader embody the lives of the full cast of characters, only briefly and succinctly dropping "data" along the way in the form of helping to explain the narrative. As I recall, it was roughly half way through the book before a full-throated paragraph of facts and policies sprang forth. Instead, the author waits for the epilogue to sum up what we had just encountered, and he is not in the least long-winded. Frankly, I was a bit reminded of those old The Twilight Zone TV episodes where Rod Serling would send us on our way with a few key thoughts to reflect on what we had just encountered. Not that the reader really needs it in this case. All the stories in this book speak very clearly all on their own. ( )
  larryerick | Apr 26, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Matthew Desmondprimary authorall editionscalculated
Graham, DionNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I wish the rent
was heaven sent.
 Langston Hughes,
 "Little Lyric (Of Great Importance)"
Dedication
For Michelle, who's been down the line
First words
Jori and his cousin were cutting up, tossing snowballs at passing cars.
Quotations
If incarceration had come to define the lives of men from impoverished black neighborhoods, eviction was shaping the lives of women. Poor black men were locked up.  Poor black women were locked out.
No one thought the poor more undeserving than the poor themselves.
A community that saw so clearly it's own pain had a difficult time also sensing its potential.
What the chief failed to realize, or failed to reveal, was that his department's own rules presented battered women with the devil's bargain: keep quiet and face abuse or call the police and face eviction.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553447432, Hardcover)

From Harvard sociologist 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 stick up after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.
 
The fate of these families is in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former school teacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs the worst trailer park in the fourth poorest city in the country. 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 over 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 17 Sep 2015 18:44:44 -0400)

"[The author] 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 dollars 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"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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