Book Rating (29)
Narrator Rating (9)

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Unabridged Audio Book

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Scott Aiello

11 Hours 4 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

March 2016

Audio Book Summary

One of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of the Year
Finalist for the 2016 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction

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.

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  • Shay F

    This was a very interesting book, however, I think it's probably a better book to read and not listen to. WIth that said, I loved the narrator, he was fantastic. I felt that the story dragged on a bit and I was ready to move onto the next book when it was over.

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  • Sherry E

    I minored in Sociology and I find this book fascinating from a cultural perspective. I really felt present in the stories. It's an emotional rollercoater of sorts. I felt anxiety, shedded some tears and laughed a little, too. I am thankful that Matthew took on this field study and did such a wonderful job doing so. The narration was superb also.

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  • richard s

    A truly eye opening book and a must read for anyone in the United States trying to understand the housing situation and poverty. The narration was superb! Let me give you a warning, this book will definitely make you understand what it is like living paycheck to paycheck except this is SSI or Welfare. I learned a lot of the hardship and potential solutions from this book. My hats off the the writer who did a fabulous job! A must read.

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  • Mimi H

    Such a thoughtful and patient exploration of a pre-homeless community in Milwaukee. I will never complain about anything in my life ever again. Narration was perfect. The bool--amazing. Sonetimed difficult to listen to because of the unending and maddening levels of hardship many of the people face.

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  • Jacob Pischer

    Really engaging and the narrator really brings you into the book with his own way

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