We review 'Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,' the new book from MacArthur Genius Grant winner Matthew Desmond that portrays eight real Milwaukee families.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown) reads like a novel, but in fact portrays eight real Milwaukee families who move in and out of bottom-of-the-barrel rentals from 2008 to 2009.

Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond, the author and a 2015 MacArthur Genius Grant winner, grew up in similar poverty in Arizona before earning a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He moved into a trailer park and later a North Side boarding house to research the book, and in doing so became an ally and an advocate for the renters he profiles.

Although it serves as a plea for a universal housing voucher program, Evicted also introduces us to Sherrena, a pseudonymous landlord who snaps up North Side properties with her handyman husband. In Sherrena’s mind, she’s carving out a life and giving back to Milwaukee’s poorest pockets, but it’s clear the other families in the book remain unconvinced.

‘Down and Out’ appears in the March 2016 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the March issue on newsstands beginning Feb. 29.

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