|Image taken from the teaser for the book.|
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (2016)
The most poignant aspect of Desmond’s writing is how he understands the conjoined relations between experience and data. The first 292 pages of Evicted focus primarily on the lives of tenants in Milwaukee’s urban neighborhoods. These tenants are mostly single mothers and the children for which they struggle to provide. These stories immerse the reader in the everyday lives of the urban poor, and their battles become more real and less imagined through Desmond’s prose. In these sections, he sprinkles statistics amidst the testimony, but the people are not lost in the numbers. And yet his epilogue “Home and Hope” is twenty or so pages of data-driven argumentation. The shift is beautiful and exactly as it should be. Moreover, Desmond does not hesitate to propose solutions to a crisis he has both recreated through story and sketched with numbers, and the result is the whole elephant in the room, not just a trunk, not just a tusk, but the entire, unavoidable beast.