I was biking to work at our 5th and K location one morning when I saw the telltale signs of an eviction right around the corner from the store: the pile of furniture and personal effects disgorged on a sidewalk less than a block away from the store, with armed, flak-jacketed US Marshals standing nearby. That morning, still shaken by the sight, I pulled a copy of Matthew Desmond’s newly arrived book off the shelf. Desmond transforms what could have been a thinly topical current affairs book into a masterwork of reportage with the depth of an anthropological study. As the book shifts between the narratives of the landlords and their tenants, Desmond maintains profound empathy for all the individuals he portrays; yet he also undergirds these narratives with a flinty contempt for the ways in which structural inequality keep so many in precarious housing situations.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City - Matthew Desmond
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Published: Crown - March 1st, 2016
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Published: Crown - February 28th, 2017