Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - by Vance, J D

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - by Vance, J D

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ISBN: 0062300555   

EAN: 9780062300553

Publisher: Harper Paperbacks

Binding: Paperback

Pub Date: May 01, 2018

 

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a probing look at the struggles of America's white working class through the author's own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town.

 

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis--that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In HillbillyElegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck.

 

The Vance family story began with hope 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.

  • Review Quotes

    "Elites tend to see our social crisis in terms of 'stagnation' or 'inequality.' J. D. Vance writes powerfully about the real people who are kept out of sight by academic abstractions."

    --Peter Thiel, entrepreneur, investor, and author of Zero to One

     

    "[A] compassionate, discerning sociological analysis...Combining thoughtful inquiry with firsthand experience, Mr. Vance has inadvertently provided a civilized reference guide for an uncivilized election, and he's done so in a vocabulary intelligible to both Democrats and Republicans. Imagine that."

    -- Jennifer Senior, New York Times

     

    "[Vance's] description of the culture he grew up in is essential reading for this moment in history."

    -- David Brooks, New York Times

     

    [A]n American classic, an extraordinary testimony to the brokenness of the white working class, but also its strengths. It's one of the best books I've ever read... [T]he most important book of 2016. You cannot understand what's happening now without first reading J.D. Vance.

    -- Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

     

    "J.D. Vance's memoir, "Hillbilly Elegy," offers a starkly honest look at what that shattering of faith feels like for a family who lived through it. You will not read a more important book about America this year."

    -- The Economist

     

    "Vance movingly recounts the travails of his family."

    -- Washington Post

     

    "[A] new memoir that should be read far and wide."

    -- Institute of Family Studies

     

    "[ Hillbilly Elegy] is a beautiful memoir but it is equally a work of cultural criticism about white working-class America....[Vance] offers a compelling explanation for why it's so hard for someone who grew up the way he did to make it...a riveting book."

    -- Wall Street Journal

     

    "Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, this memoir is akin to investigative journalism. ... A quick and engaging read, this book is well suited to anyone interested in a study of modern America, as Vance's assertions about Appalachia are far more reaching."

    -- Library Journal

     

    "Vance compellingly describes the terrible toll that alcoholism, drug abuse, and an unrelenting code of honor took on his family, neither excusing the behavior nor condemning it...The portrait that emerges is a complex one...Unerringly forthright, remarkably insightful, and refreshingly focused, Hillbilly Elegy is the cry of a community in crisis."

    -- Booklist

     

    To understand the rage and disaffection of America's working-class whites, look to Greater Appalachia. In HILLBILLY ELEGY, J.D. Vance confronts us with the economic and spiritual travails of this forgotten corner of our country. Here we find women and men who dearly love their country, yet who feel powerless as their way of life is devastated. Never before have I read a memoir so powerful, and so necessary.

    -- Reihan Salam, executive editor, National Review

     

    "[A] frank, unsentimental, harrowing memoir...a superb book..."

    -- New York Post

     

    "What explains the appeal of Donald Trump? Many pundits have tried to answer this question and fallen short. But J.D. Vance nails it...stunning...intimate..."

    -- Globe and Mail (Toronto)

     

    "The troubles of the working poor are well known to policymakers, but Vance offers an insider's view of the problem."

    -- Christianity Today

     

    "[An] understated, engaging debut...An unusually timely and deeply affecting view of a social class whose health and economic problems are making headlines in this election year."

    --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

     

    "[ Hillbilly Elegy] couldn't have been better timed...a harrowing portrait of much that has gone wrong in America over the past two generations...an honest look at the dysfunction that afflicts too many working-class Americans."

    -- National Review

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