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


From a former Marine and Yale Law School Graduate, a poignant account of growing up in a poor Appalachian town, that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is a fascinating consideration of class, culture, and the American dream.

Vance’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love.” They got married and moved north from Kentucky to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. Their grandchild (the author) graduated from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving upward mobility for their family. But Vance cautions that is only the short version. The slightly longer version is that his grandparents, aunt, uncle, and mother struggled to varying degrees with the demands of their new middle class life and they, and Vance himself, still carry around the demons of their chaotic family history.

Delving into his own personal story and drawing on a wide array of sociological studies, Vance takes us deep into working class life in the Appalachian region. This demographic of our country has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, and Vance provides a searching and clear-eyed attempt to understand when and how “hillbillies” lost faith in any hope of upward mobility, and in opportunities to come.

At times funny, disturbing, and deeply moving, this is a family history that is also a troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large portion of this country.

Title:Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:272 pages

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

  • Jessica
    Jan 22, 2016

    I read this book as an advance galley, long before it became a Thing and I did not read this book because I wanted Vance to explain Trump, though he's somehow been chosen by liberal media as the perso...

  • Julie
    Oct 22, 2016

    Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance is a 2016 Harper publication. When I first noticed this book popping up on Goodreads, I admit the title really threw me. I hate that word ‘hillbilly’ because it sound...

  • Jon
    Jun 29, 2016

    2016 is the year of Donald Trump, and J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy should be at the top of every politico and thought leader's reading list living in the Acela corridor. Vance is both an excellent wri...

  • Lauren Cecile
    Jan 13, 2017

    Very candid account of growing up disadvantaged and white. The parallels between his demographic and a historically, systematically marginalized Black America are evident. Both populations deserve und...

  • puppy
    Jul 29, 2016

    My experience of this book was marred by misplaced expectations. It's described as "part memoir, part historical and social analysis", however the analytical parts are few, far between, and not especi...

  • Bill  Kerwin
    Oct 05, 2016

    Have you ever wondered what became of the Scotch-Irish, who dug America’s coal, forged America’s steel and built America’s automobiles, who worked for the American Dream Monday through Friday. p...

  • Diane S ?
    Jun 03, 2016

    Possibly the most timely read of the year, here in the United States. Not just a sociological view of this group of people I had heard nor read little about, but the experiences of a young man raised ...

  • Christy
    Dec 10, 2016

    Hell hath no fury like a strong Protestant Work Ethic without work. Okay – that was my original, but it should have been Vance’s! Instead, he mostly blamed the poor for being poor, lazy, and gener...

  • Elyse
    Nov 05, 2016

    AudiobookMy local book club will be discussing this book this month. I'll be attending- I almost took a 'pass'. I'm really glad I didn't. THE CONTROVERSY and DISCUSSIONS from reviews on Goodreads is a...

  • Elizabeth
    Oct 03, 2016

    ...People talk about hard work all the time in places like Middletown. You can walk through a town where 30 percent of the young men work fewer than twenty hours a week and find not a single person aw...