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

Front Cover
HarperCollins, May 1, 2018 - Social Science - 288 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

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than†forty years, has been reported 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 one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life,†never†fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his 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.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
77
4 stars
89
3 stars
44
2 stars
12
1 star
2

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

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DonnaEverhart - www.librarything.com

From Mamaw's foul mouth to J.D. Vance's easy going, chatty way of writing, this memoir was entertaining, eye-opening, and enlightening. I think one of the most important things I took away from this ... Read full review

Contents

Cover Title Page Dedication Introduction
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Conclusion
Afterword

Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Acknowledgments
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2018)

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

Bibliographic information