The complexities of societal issues like poverty, homelessness, and racism can’t be reduced to headlines or statistics because social inequality, at its core, is about people. In order to capture the harsh reality of social inequality in the United States, we need to hear the personal stories of people who experience injustice. The nonfiction books below take you inside the lives of people across the country whose worlds are shaped in dramatic ways by their social class, age, or race. If you’re looking for a challenging and compelling read this fall, these books will give you the deep dive you’re looking for.

Book cover for Broke by Jodie Adams Kirshner

BrokeJodie Adams Kirshner

The city of Detroit has been struggling for years, particularly with the city’s declaration of bankruptcy in 2013 — the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States. In BrokeJodie Adams Kirshner seeks to uncover the personal impact of a city in financial crisis. An instructor in bankruptcy law at Columbia Law School, Kirshner examines the consequences of systemic poverty …Show More ›View Price…Save to List

Book cover for Those Who Wander by Vivian Ho

Those Who WanderVivian Ho

Former San Francisco Chronicle reporter Vivian Ho spotlights the growing number of homeless young people in the US. Two San Francisco Bay Area murders in 2015 pointed to suspects who were among many young homeless people in the city. Ho introduces us to youth who came to live in the streets as they experienced mental health conditions or addiction — or abuse. Those Who Wander shares the raw and …Show More ›View Price…Save to List

Book cover for Evicted by Matthew Desmond

EvictedMatthew Desmond

In this Pulitzer Prize–winning book, Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond paints a heartbreaking portrait of poverty by showing us the drastic measures eight Milwaukee families take to survive. From single mother Arleen and her two sons, who are evicted right before Christmas, to Lamar, a disabled man determined to pay off his debt. Desmond centers on the theme of home — its importance to these …Show More ›View Price…Save to List

Book cover for Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and MeTa-Nehisi CoatesIn a book that Toni Morrison called “required reading,” Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a stunning portrait of the black experience in America in the form of a letter written to his son. Drawing on a series of personal stories from around the world, Coates reckons with the history of slavery and segregation while chronicling his own coming-of-age, from learning to code-switch as a child in Baltimore to …Show More ›