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Extended Audio Sample Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Audiobook, by Matthew Desmond Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matthew Desmond Narrator: Dion Graham Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2016 ISBN: 9780147526793
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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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Quotes & Awards

  • “This sensitive, achingly beautiful ethnography…[about] the simple challenge of keeping a roof over your head.”

    Robert D. Putnam, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Should be required reading in an election year, or any other.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Eviction has been neglected by urban sociologists, so his account fills a gap. His methodology is scrupulous.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Exhaustively researched, vividly realized…After Evicted, it will no longer be possible to have a serious discussion about poverty without having a serious discussion about housing.”

    New York Times

  • Evicted is that rare work that has something genuinely new to say about poverty. Desmond makes a convincing case that policymakers and academics have overlooked the role of the private rental market, and that eviction 'is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty'...Evictions have become routine. Desmond’s book should begin to change that.
    San Francisco Chronicle
  • "Evicted is a rich, empathetic feat of storytelling and fieldwork. Mother Jones
  • "Sociology’s next great hope… [Desmond] is positioned to intervene in the inequality debate in a big way.
    Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “A vivid, if sometimes grueling, read.”

    Independent (London)

  • “Tells a complex, achingly powerful story…Exquisitely crafted, meticulously researched.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Makes an undeniable case that we need to fix this all-American tragedy.”

    Huffington Post

  • “Gripping and important.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Gripping storytelling and meticulous research undergird this outstanding ethnographic study…Desmond identifies affordable housing as a leading social justice issue of our time and offers concrete solutions to the crisis.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “[Desmond] does a marvelous job telling these harrowing stories of people who find themselves in bad situations, shining a light on how eviction sets people up to fail…This is essential reading.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Narrator Dion Graham brings to life the struggles, frustration, and tragedies of the impoverished in an audiobook that explores life at the margins of shelter…Graham solemnly narrates Desmond’s prose and breathes life into the different people presented throughout the book. He never gives in to vocal caricature, though…Graham executes a balancing act of tone and emphasis that shifts among legalese, Desmond’s observations, eclectic speaking styles, and the oppressive nature of the topic itself.”


  • Evicted is that rare book that both enlightens and serves as an urgent call for action.”

    William Julius Wilson, author of When Work Disappears

  • A New York Times Book Review Book of the Year
  • A Washington Post Best Book of 2016
  • A Boston Globe Best Books of the Year Selection
  • Finalist for the 2016  New England Book Award
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2016 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick of Best Nonfiction of 2016
  • Winner of the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction
  • Finalist for the 2016 Kirkus Prize
  • A 2017 Selection for the ALA Listen List for Outstanding Audiobook Narration
  • Winner of the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
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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, he was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” grant.

About the Narrator

Dion Graham, from HBO’s The Wire, also narrates The First 48 on A&E. Winner of more than a dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award for best narration, he has performed on Broadway, off Broadway, internationally, in films, and in several hit television series. His performances have been praised as thoughtful and compelling, vivid and full of life.