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Rutgers Reads 2019

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

by Matthew Desmond

Rutgers Reads provides incoming first-year students with a shared, intellectually engaging experience and serves as an introduction to academic life at Rutgers University–Camden. Each year, a small committee convenes to discuss and decide on a selection, which is then incorporated into the English and writing curriculum for all first-year undergraduate students. The Office of New Student Programs provides these incoming students with a copy of the Rutgers Reads book before they begin their first semester at Rutgers University–Camden.


Additional Rutgers Reads Events

Delve into the issues related to housing insecurity with this yearlong series of Rutgers-Camden events.

View the schedule of activities.


In 2017, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race was the Rutgers Reads selection.  Author Margot Lee Shetterly visited Rutgers University–Camden to meet with students and to deliver a public lecture to a packed theater on Sept. 27, 2017.  View photos from the event.

In 2018, The Underground Railroad was the Rutgers Reads selection.  Author Colson Whitehead visited Rutgers University–Camden to meet with students and to deliver a public lecture on Sept. 26, 2018.  View photos from the event.

The 2019 selection for Rutgers Reads is Evicted by Matthew Desmond. A New York Times bestseller, Evicted won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award. In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

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