Synopses & Reviews
A stunning, deeply reported investigation into the housing crisis
Spacious and affordable homes used to be the hallmark of American prosperity. Today, however, punishing rents and the increasingly prohibitive cost of ownership have turned housing into the foremost symbol of inequality and an economy gone wrong. Nowhere is this more visible than in the San Francisco Bay Area, where fleets of private buses ferry software engineers past the tarp-and-plywood shanties where the homeless make their homes. The adage that California is a glimpse of the nation's future has become a cautionary tale.
With propulsive storytelling and ground-level reporting, New York Times journalist Conor Dougherty chronicles America's housing crisis from its West Coast epicenter, peeling back the decades of history and economic forces that brought us here and taking readers inside the activist uprisings that have risen in tandem with housing costs.
To tell this new story of housing, Dougherty follows a struggling math teacher who builds a political movement dedicated to ending single-family-house neighborhoods. A teenaged girl who leads her apartment complex against their rent-raising landlord. A nun who tries to outmaneuver private equity investors by amassing a multimillion-dollar portfolio of affordable homes. A suburban bureaucrat who roguishly embraces density in response to the threat of climate change. A developer who manufactures homeless housing on an assembly line.
Sweeping in scope and intimate in detail, Golden Gates captures a vast political realignment during a moment of rapid technological and social change.
"Compelling reporting...Dougherty was the right reporter in the right place to capture the human stories at the heart of this dreadful irony." Bookforum
"The cost of buying a single-family home or even renting a small apartment in a convenient, desirable location is one of the most pervasive conundrums facing Americans today. Perhaps no other phenomenon drives income inequality as starkly as housing.... poignant and thought-provoking . . . A readable, eye-opening exploration." Kirkus
"Golden Gates is a terrific work of explanatory journalism. If you want to understand the colliding forces that have turned the San Francisco Bay Area into a housing powder keg and threaten to engulf many more cities across the country, you need to read this book." John Carreyrou, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Blood
"How do we solve a problem like California, with its three-hour commutes and sky-high rents? Deeply-reported and fast-paced...[i]n following the clashes between political leaders, tenant activists, developers, and working families, Dougherty brings a novel perspective to one of the nation's most urgent problems." Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
About the Author
Conor Dougherty is an economics reporter at The New York Times. He previously spent a decade in New York covering housing and the economy for The Wall Street Journal. He grew up in the Bay Area and lives with his family in Oakland.