Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond

Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond

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320 pages | Crown | 3.26.24

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.

Why does the United States, the richest country on earth, have more poverty than any other advanced democracy? This is the question that acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond answers in his “fleet, fierce manifesto” (New York Times Book Review). Drawing on history, research, and original reporting, he shows how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. Those of us who are financially secure exploit the poor, prioritize the subsidization of our wealth over the alleviation of poverty, and stockpile opportunity in exclusive communities. 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—to usher in a new age of shared prosperity and, at last, true freedom.

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