Original Proposal – “Poverty, by America” by Prof. Matthew Desmond – Sep 20

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johnkarls
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Original Proposal – “Poverty, by America” by Prof. Matthew Desmond – Sep 20

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Originally Posted by johnkarls » Wed Jul 26, 2023 2:19 pm – 367 views in Sec. 3 (Possible Topics for Future Meetings) before being transplanted here.


I propose that we read “Poverty, by America” by Prof. Matthew Desmond (Crown Publishing 3/21/2023 – 189 pages sans notes & index – Hardcover $17.63 (Paperback $19.85) + shipping or $13.99 Kindle from Amazon.com).

BTW, Prof Desmond’s “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” was the focus book for our 5/18/2016 meeting.


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Book Description per Amazon.com

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted reimagines the debate on poverty, making a “provocative and compelling” (NPR) argument about why it persists in America: because the rest of us benefit from it.

“Urgent and accessible . . . Its moral force is a gut punch.”—The New Yorker

ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2023: The Washington Post, Time, Esquire, 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. Those of us who are financially secure exploit the poor, driving down their wages while forcing them to overpay for housing and access to cash and credit. We prioritize the subsidization of our wealth over the alleviation of poverty, designing a welfare state that gives the most to those who need the least. And we stockpile opportunity in exclusive communities, creating zones of concentrated riches alongside those of concentrated despair. Some lives are made small so that others may grow.

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.


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Author Bio per Amazon.com

Matthew Desmond is social scientist and urban ethnographer. He is the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. He is also a Contributing Writer for The New York Times Magazine.

Desmond is the author of over fifty academic studies and several books, including "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City," which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, National Book Critics Circle Award, Carnegie Medal, and PEN / John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction.

"Evicted" was listed as one of the Best Books of 2016 by The New York Times, New Yorker, Washington Post, National Public Radio, and several other outlets. It has been named one of the Best 50 Nonfiction Books of the Last 100 Years and was included in the 100 Best Social Policy Books of All Time.

Desmond's research and reporting focuses on American poverty and public policy. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, and is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society. He has been listed among the Politico 50, as one of “fifty people across the country who are most influencing the national political debate.”


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Editorial Reviews

An Amazon Best Book of March 2023: Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, published in 2017, won the Pulitzer and, perhaps more surprising, was a best-seller. Evicted followed eight families in Milwaukee as they fought to keep roofs over their heads—as readers, we were drawn into their stories and their struggles under a housing system that seemed designed against them. Desmond’s new book, Poverty, by America, does not take such an intimate approach but may be an even more vital work. In Poverty, he draws back the lens to illustrate how poverty injures the impoverished—physically, financially, and spiritually—and how the wealthiest country in the world has developed a bifurcated system that favors those who are better off (in the form of tax breaks, hoarded benefits, and walled-off communities). With so many resources available, Desmond argues that poverty could be abolished fairly easily in the U.S. There’s just one hitch: those whom the system favors must be willing to give up some of their advantages. This is a book that is bound to start a lot of conversations, and it will ask difficult questions of readers of all political stripes. They are questions well worth asking, and answering.
—Chris Schluep, Amazon Editor

“Desmond’s new book is short, smart, and thrilling. The thrill comes from the sheer boldness of Desmond’s argument and his carefully modulated but very real tone of outrage that underlies his words.”
—Rolling Stone

“[Desmond’s] arguments have the potential to push debate about wealth in America to a new level. . . . The brilliance of Poverty, By America lies in Desmond’s account of how government and social policy act in ways commensurate with his class-war thesis. Its texture is provided by effective storytelling, which illustrates that poverty has become a way of life.”
—The Guardian

“Poverty, by America is a searing moral indictment of how and why the United States tolerates such high levels of poverty and of inequality . . . [and] a hands-on call to action.”
—The Nation

“A fierce polemic on an enduring problem . . . [Desmond] writes movingly about the psychological scars of poverty . . . and his prose can be crisp, elegant, and elegiac.”
—The Economist

“Provocative and compelling . . . [Desmond] packs in a sweeping array of examples and numbers to support his thesis and . . . the accumulation has the effect of shifting one’s brain ever so slightly to change the entire frame of reference.”
—NPR

“A data-driven manifesto that turns a critical eye on those who inflict and perpetuate unlivable conditions on others.”
—The Boston Globe

“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. Its moral force is a gut punch.”
—The New Yorker

“A compact jeremiad on the persistence of extreme want in a nation of extraordinary wealth . . . [Desmond’s] purpose here is to draw attention to what’s plain in front of us—damn the etiquette, and damn the grand abstractions.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“[T]hrough in-depth research and original reporting, the acclaimed sociologist offers solutions that would help spread America’s wealth and make everyone more prosperous.”
—Time

“A lucid and scathing explanation for one of our nation’s abiding injustices . . . impeccably researched . . . Desmond’s book makes an urgent and unignorable appeal to our national conscience, one that has been quietly eroded over decades of increasing personal consumption and untiring corporate greed.”
—Claire Messud, Harper’s Magazine

“[Poverty, by America]wake[s] the world’s most powerful country up to its most important problem. Desmond’s electrifying pen cuts through the usual evasions and exposes the ‘selfish,’ ‘dishonest’ and ‘sinful’ pretence that poverty is a problem that America cannot afford to fix, rather than one it chooses not to.”
—Prospect

“A powerful polemic, one that has expanded and deepened my understanding of American poverty. Desmond approaches the subject with a refreshing candidness and directs his ire toward all the right places.”
—Roxane Gay

“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.”
—Salon

“This book is essential and instructive, hopeful and enraging.”
—Ann Patchett

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