Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

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HarperCollins, Jun 28, 2016 - Social Science - 272 pages

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NAMED BY THE TIMES AS ONE OF "6 BOOKS TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRUMP'S WIN" AND SOON TO BE A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD

"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist

"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal

"Essential reading."—David Brooks,†New York Times

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful†account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader,†probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class

Hillbilly Elegy†is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.

But as the family saga of†Hillbilly Elegy†plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures,†Hillbilly Elegy†is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sandra.pinkerton83 - www.librarything.com

Having grown up in Appalachia, I understand this story on personal familiar. While I avoided many of the experiences personally, I do recall the attitude acutely. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sleahey - www.librarything.com

An inside look at the obstacles inherent in growing up poor and white in Appalachia. The descriptions of Vance's childhood and family dynamics are heartbreaking, not that he's looking for any pity ... Read full review

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About the author (2016)

J.D. Vance grew up in the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and served in Iraq. A graduate of the Ohio State University and Yale Law School, he has contributed to the National Review and the New York Times, and†works as an investor at a leading venture capital firm. Vance lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his family.

Author mail for J.D. Vance can be sent to the below:

P.O. Box 1040
West Chester, OH 45071

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