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

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


"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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Good story

User Review  - dogtender - Overstock.com

The story is biographical and something a lot of us can relate to even if we didnt come from Kentucky. The writing is pretty pedestrian. The insights into disfunction and addiction in poor families is helpful. Read full review

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

User Review  - Miranda - Goodreads

Mildly interesting book with a misleading title from a well-meaning author who doesn't really know what he's talking about. Not worthy of all the media attention received and not really worth talking about either. Read full review


Dedication Introduction
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15

Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
About the Author Credits Copyright About the Publisher

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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 is a principal at a leading Silicon Valley investment firm. Vance lives in San Francisco with his wife and two dogs.

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

P.O. Box 1040
West Chester, OH 45071

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