“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.”