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Publisher Description

New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice 
Runner-Up General Nonfiction: San Francisco Book Festival

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.

February 18
Penguin Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

Ufdyjde ,


Superior reporting and stunning writing that carried me through complex issues, and challenged my assumptions and prior conclusions. I read a lot of books. This is the best read in several years, and the most complete discussion of this extremely complicated subject that I’ve found.

William Jerome ,

Awesome stories that paint a really insightful overall picture

This book weaves together different personal stories and wonky history to give a great idea of how California’s housing crisis got to where it is today. It puts a very human face on the battles across town hall meetings and activism on the streets to show the different ways policy and social norms can impact housing affordability. Highly recommended.