HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

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

by J. D. Vance

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,8533351,355 (3.71)385
Vance, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, provides an 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. 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. 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.… (more)
  1. 60
    The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (exfed)
  2. 30
    Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich (Othemts)
  3. 20
    Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild (bradstreet2001)
  4. 10
    I'm Perfect, You're Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah's Witness Upbringing by Kyria Abrahams (Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: Ok, I absolutely know it's a stretch, but both deal with dysfunctional families and survival.
  5. 10
    The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer (jilld17)
  6. 10
    Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray (ainsleytewce)
  7. 00
    The Mitford Years Series -- 1-14 Paperback by Jan Karon (Anonymous user)
  8. 00
    Punch Me Up To The Gods: A Memoir by Brian Broome (aspirit)
  9. 00
    Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains by Cassie Chambers (ellyzhang66)
  10. 00
    Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place by bell hooks (aspirit)
    aspirit: Poetry collection. A response to how Black Appalachians are often left out of narratives of the place. [I do not consent to the use of my description in training LLMs.]
  11. 00
    Crossing the Tracks for Love: What to Do When You and Your Partner Grew Up in Different Worlds by Ruby K. Payne (WaltNoise)
  12. 00
    Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado (Othemts)
  13. 00
    Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams by Alfred Lubrano (WaltNoise)
  14. 00
    This Boy by Alan Johnson (darllenwr_brwd)
  15. 00
    American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard (pbirch01)
    pbirch01: A good biography on the history of Appalachia as it relates to the US at large.
  16. 00
    The Other America: Poverty in the United States by Michael Harrington (Othemts)
  17. 00
    Bright Angel Time by Martha McPhee (ainsleytewce)
  18. 00
    The Liars' Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr (ainsleytewce)
  19. 00
    The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (Anonymous user)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 385 mentions

English (330)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (333)
Showing 1-5 of 330 (next | show all)
Using rather basic language, the author relates the story of growing up in Appalachia and the way in which poverty isn't just a condition but a state of mind. I highly recommend The Mitford Series (fiction), by Jan Karon, to get another glimpse of and perspective into this unique world. ( )
  silva_44 | Mar 18, 2024 |
Not a particularly polished writer, but he makes his point. It's tough to pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you don't have boots. ( )
  rscottm182gmailcom | Mar 12, 2024 |
There's a good reason why Hillbilly Elegy recently rocketed to the top of amazon's bestseller list. Democrats eager for an explanation why their candidate lost to Donald Trump expect to find it in the tale of a broken family and even more broken society in the Rust Belt and hills of Kentucky.

I started reading Hillbilly Elegy a couple of days before the election of Donald Trump and finished it a few days after.

I read it on the advice of the eastern “elites” who suggested that Vance’s poignant autobiography would give some hint as to the popularity of Trump in the face of screaming evidence that he has neither temperament nor any decent ideas to bring to the Presidency.

Like others I desperately sought answers.

Instead I found humour, tragedy, pathos, and redemption. Standard fare in pretty good books, but no relief to my angst over the election results.

It has also left me with maybe a little fear that the White House is now in the hands of hillbillies (in this case, Hillbillies from the Hamptons), and now I know what that means.

As much as I enjoyed Vance’s tale, I can’t for a second believe the moral of the story: if hillbillies want to climb out of poverty, drug dependency, and broken families they shouldn't look for public support. The Gov’t ain’t got no answers.

Granted Vance comes from the part of the country which don’t trust no “ReveNOOers.” But facts are facts. Education works. Sometimes professional healthcare is needed, including mental health care.

It’s great if family members pitch in, but sometimes they don’t, or don’t know what works and what doesn’t.

No matter what you think, in fact often government can deliver the services faster and cheaper than higgledy-piggledy community services. And granted sometimes government doesn’t do it well.
But the government, especially municipal government are your neighbours for goodness sakes. And Vance made big strides with the help of outsiders himself.

He just doesn’t get by the distrust for government. He doesn’t make the connection between public servants like his teachers and the politicians and judges he worked for and government with the big ‘G’. A man who served loyally in the Marines, who knows what collective action must mean, even if he might have questioned his country’s ultimate role in iraq.

Vance talks in so many cliches, the biggest one being “working-class” Americans as if there was ever a clear divide between people who don’t work and people who do work. That might have made sense in Edwardian England but it was never true of America.

Those blue-collar jobs aren’t coming back. Something must replace them, and somehow the work ethic outside of the home must come back too. And replace the sense of victimisation.

Ultimately I don't think Vance's book answers some of the big questions about Trump's victory. Indeed in the hill country of Kentucky we see the same distrust of government that Trump played upon but that is nothing new and not unique to Trump. It's been going on for a long time and has been a staple of Republican rhetoric and talk radio for a very long time.

I'm more likely going to re-read Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlett Letter or maybe Arthur Miller's The Crucible to rediscover the society which is suspicious of everything, possibly because the frontier is so spooky, and possibly because Americans treat their own government as if it were filled with witches and warlocks. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
I grew up in Southern Indiana, a stone's throw from these folks, and fully appreciate the struggles JD Vance endured. I remember going to the hollers of Kentucky as a child to visit distant relatives (?). They had a outhouse. To me, it was a different planet. While I was the first one in my family to go to college, there was never any doubt that I would rise with the tide and fulfill the dreams my parents had for me. Now, on the other side, I still visit those people and places in my love of Southern writing and stories about small rural towns and their community solidarity. But it's good to be on the outside looking in. ( )
  jemisonreads | Jan 22, 2024 |
It was ok but could have been much better. Not sure I read anything that particularly surprised me (well, his personal success story in the face of significant challenges was wonderful) but it would have made for a better narrative had the book been more carefully edited. For example, I didn't need to hear him repeat his mother's problems for the nth time. And much of the material was irrelevant. Between these two things (duplication and irrelevance), it was a chore to finish.
( )
  donwon | Jan 22, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 330 (next | show all)
added by janw | editNew Yorker, Josh Rothman (Sep 12, 2016)
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vance, J. D.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carlson-Stanisic, LeahDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heuvelmans, TonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raynaud, VincentTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, JarrodCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, J. D.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
For Mamaw and Papaw, my very own hillbilly terminators
First words
Introduction
My name is J. D. Vance, and I think I should start with a confession: I find the existence of the book you hold in your hands somewhat absurd.
Like most small children, I learned my home address so that if I got lost, I could tell a grown-up where to take me.
[Afterword] Many people, especially those who know me well, have asked me to describe my life since Hillbilly Elegy was published about two years ago.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Vance, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, provides an 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. 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. 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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.71)
0.5 4
1 43
1.5 2
2 114
2.5 31
3 379
3.5 140
4 727
4.5 63
5 320

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 204,233,129 books! | Top bar: Always visible