Hillbilly Elegy - J. D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy

By J. D. Vance

  • Release Date: 2016-06-28
  • Genre: Sociology
Score: 4.5
4.5
From 1,845 Ratings

Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"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.

Reviews

  • "What REALLY Happened"

    5
    By 475linebaugh
    This book is the story of a boy who grew up in a working-class white family in middle Appalachia and escaped multi-generational poverty. I found it be sad, funny, interesting, inspiring, and very well worth reading. I highly recommend it to anyone, particularly if you want to really know why Hillary lost the election. The author does not come off as political or even intending to answer this question. His book just happens to do so. This book will make you laugh, maybe cry, and definitely want to read it to the end. And if you have hillbilly roots like I do, you will very likely share a real connection with the author.
  • 50 years late.

    5
    By Ttelsyah
    I wish this hillbilly could have read this book then. It would have been a life changer.
  • Absolutely wonderful

    5
    By 8ball is the worst
    Thank you JDVance for sharing your journey. I'm still healing and trying to improve who I am after many childhood challenges and poor choices. Your book has helped me re evaluate who I am and how I can help others my children included to continue to heal and be better people and better examples to others. RH
  • Great book!

    5
    By Spotified1
    👍
  • Wow!

    5
    By Rfdlyons
    Opened my California eyes for sure. Well-written. Explains a lot about rationale for political POVs.
  • Great book!

    5
    By KathyJ.
    This was one of the bees books I have read in a long time! Very enlightening!
  • Hillbilly Elegy

    1
    By IO4IT
    Interested in why anyone would support candidate Donald Trump, I started to read this book just before he was elected. Once elected I completely lost interest in the motives of Trumpsters and only began to wish them the same pain and suffering they have brought upon our nation.
  • Hard decisions

    5
    By BADER4255
    When you read this book you feel it's talking about some kind of community that exist your own country. But you don't know about it or even worse you pretend that. I liked who he deal with his situation and who he take his own decisions to deal with this community. It's bad but it's real.
  • Raw

    5
    By Markmillx1
    Rarely is an author able to capture the raw events of life and turn them into critical insights that resonate. Why don't kids from working class Appalachia escape poverty and hopelessness? Well done.
  • Excellent story telling

    5
    By Jim Houston
    Had a hard time putting it down.