The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of Evicted reimagines the debate on poverty, making a new and bracing argument about why it persists in America: because the rest of us benefit from it.
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2023: The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Elle, Salon, Lit Hub, Kirkus Reviews
The United States, the richest country on earth, has more poverty than any other advanced democracy. Why? Why does this land of plenty allow one in every eight of its children to go without basic necessities, permit scores of its citizens to live and die on the streets, and authorize its corporations to pay poverty wages?
In this landmark book, acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. Elegantly written and fiercely argued, this compassionate book gives us new ways of thinking about a morally urgent problem. It also helps us imagine solutions. Desmond builds a startlingly original and ambitious case for ending poverty. He calls on us all to become poverty abolitionists, engaged in a politics of collective belonging to usher in a new age of shared prosperity and, at last, true freedom.
Watch Video with Matthew Desmond
Join Matthew Desmond on Tour for Poverty, by America
Monday, March 20 - Parnassus Books – Nashville, TN
Tuesday, March 21 - Fair Share Housing Center – Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, March 22 –Midtown Scholar – Harrisburg, PA
Thursday, March 23 – Labyrinth Books – Princeton, NJ
Wednesday, March 29 – The Booksmith – Berkeley, CA
Thursday, March 30 – Live Talks Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA
Monday, April 3 – Institute for Public Knowledge – New York, NY
Tuesday, April 4 – Free Library – Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, April 5 – The University of Minnesota School of Nursing – Minneapolis, MN
Wednesday, April 12 – Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, & Practice – Chicago, IL
Wednesday, April 12 – Evanston Township High School Auditorium – Evanston, IL
Saturday, April 15 – The San Antonio Book Festival – San Antonio, TX
Wednesday, April 19 – Gramercy Books – Bexley OH (Columbus)
Thursday, April 20 – Cuyahoga Library – Parma, OH
Monday, May 1 – The New York Public Library – New York, NY
Additional events to be announced.
Poverty, by America
“Urgent and accessible… It’s refreshing to read a work of social criticism that eschews the easy and often smug allure of abstraction, in favor of plainspoken practicality. Poverty, by America deserves to be one of those books you see people reading on the subway, or handing around at organizing meetings, or citing in congressional hearings. Its moral force is a gut punch.”
—The New Yorker
“‘Poverty, by America’ is a compact jeremiad on the persistence of extreme want in a nation of extraordinary wealth…His purpose here is to draw attention to what’s plain in front of us — damn the etiquette, and damn the grand abstractions."
—New York Times Book Review
“[Poverty, by America] shows how wealthy and middle class Americans knowingly and unknowingly perpetuate a broken system that keeps poor people poor. It’s not an easy problem to fix, but through in-depth research and original reporting, the acclaimed sociologist offers solutions that would help spread America’s wealth and make everyone more prosperous.”
“With Poverty, by America, [Desmond] blends history, research and firsthand reporting to show how the wealthy punish the poor and keep people living in poverty, both purposefully and without realizing. Passionate and empathetic.”
"Reading Poverty, by America, I felt like Matthew Desmond was sitting at my kitchen table, explaining the complexities of poverty in a way I could completely understand. This book is essential and instructive, hopeful and enraging. It is a road map for how we can be better people, working together to build a better country."
—Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth
“A powerful inquiry . . . Desmond enriches his detailed and trenchant analysis with poignant reflections on America’s ‘unblushing inequality’ and the ‘anomie of wealth.’ It’s a gut-wrenching call for change.”
“[A] brilliantly researched and artfully written study of how the U.S. has failed to effectively address the issue of poverty…. [Desmond] also uses his knowledge of the subject to explore what works and identify potential solutions that merit further consideration. This thoughtful investigation of a critically important subject, a piercing title by an astute writer who is both passionate and fearless, is valuable reading for all concerned with affecting positive change.”
Praise for Evicted
“This book gave me a better sense of what it is like to be very poor in this country than anything else I have read. . . . It is beautifully written, thought-provoking, and unforgettable.”
“Astonishing... Desmond has set a new standard for reporting on poverty."
—Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times Book Review
“Evicted stands among the very best of the social justice books.”
—Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth
“Gripping and moving—tragic, too.”
—Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones
“Evicted is that rare work that has something genuinely new to say about poverty.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
ABOUT MATTHEW DESMOND
Matthew Desmond is a professor of sociology at Princeton University. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he joined the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow. He is the author of four books, including Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016), which won the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, Carnegie Medal, and PEN / John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction. The principal investigator of The Eviction Lab, Desmond’s research focuses on poverty in America, city life, housing insecurity, public policy, racial inequality, and ethnography. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, and the William Julius Wilson Early Career Award. A contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, Desmond was listed in 2016 among the Politico 50, as one of “fifty people across the country who are most influencing the national political debate.”
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM MATTHEW DESMOND
•NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
• WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
• NAMED ONE OF TIME’S
TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS
OF THE DECADE
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