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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and…
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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (edition 2018)

by J. D. Vance (Author)

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3,0641892,675 (3.83)282
Member:dcoward
Title:Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
Authors:J. D. Vance (Author)
Info:Harper Paperbacks (2018), Edition: Reprint, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:NF, Adult, Memoir

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

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Showing 1-5 of 184 (next | show all)
Got through this whole thing in the car today. The kids and I listened together and all enjoyed it as a memoir. I think some people may try to make this more than it is because he does take the opportunity to give some opinions about the culture. Taking those as just opinions, though, this is a good memoir of how he overcame some childhood challenges to achieve success. 3.5⭐️ ( )
  redwritinghood38 | Nov 6, 2018 |
Summary: Vance reminisces about his Appalachian childhood in a struggling Ohio town. He describes why he (and people with the same poor white-kid background as he) switched from Democrat to Republican over the past decade. Despite this being touted as a book that helps you understand why Trump was elected, it was mostly a memoir and not a political book.

My Thoughts: This was an enlightening book, as it did a good job of showing how the attempts of the Democrats to help poorer people backfired on the poor white Appalachian folks, and why they would want a major change. Vance described how people flocked from deep in Appalachia to steel-working towns in Ohio before and during the Cold War. But when steel became a lagging industry after the Cold War, many people lost their jobs and struggled to find any job to support themselves. The welfare system (according to Vance) only made things worse, because it encouraged people not to find jobs.

I found Vance’s life story quite compelling, and his description of why his family switched from Democrat to Republican when they did was mostly reasonable. However, I wasn’t completely convinced by his argument that it isn’t racism that turned people like himself against Obama. Vance claimed it was because they couldn’t relate to Obama because he was Ivy-league educated, from a big city, and wore a suit everywhere. That’s a load of bull. If THAT were their reason for not liking Obama, then they wouldn’t like Trump either. Unfortunately, that few paragraphs of the book colored my view of the rest of his argument.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy and it made a lot of good points. And, importantly, the narrative was interesting and always brought me back for more. And I would have been perfectly willing to listen to a valid argument about why their issue with Obama had nothing to do with race (I’m sure they have other reasons), but he gave a very poor excuse, which made me think it was simply that – an excuse. Vance literally couldn’t come up with a valid reason to say why they related to Trump better than Obama (other than race). This book would normally have gotten four stars, but I’m going to dock it .5 because of that big problem. ( )
  The_Hibernator | Oct 10, 2018 |
J.D. Vance describes his life growing up in the rust belt and explains the hillbilly lifestyle and their values. I have heard it called racist and supports the alt-right and I have heard people say its a political guide that provides insight into the rust belt. It is insightful to his life and gives a little bit background information about the region, but nowhere is it a complete look. This book has been made out to be more than it is imo, and I also think it tried to fill this image to an extent and fails because this is not a scholarly study into the region, it is one man's experience, is it a common experience yes, but it lacks scientific data to back it up, some stats were provided here and there, but a lot of it is Vance's observations, which are interesting, but it needs to be more. It is definitely not racist, he doesn't put his people's struggles above others and of course he's not going to go into great detail about black issues because he does not know them, he does mention similarities and questions why these two groups aren't on the same side more often. As a memoir it was interesting, as a political explanation to that regions voting habits, it does not exist. This book would of been better if it didn't try to be about this regions politics. ( )
  wellreadcatlady | Oct 4, 2018 |
I am not a big fan of memoirs or biographies, but Hillbilly Elegy by J D Vance brought a little enjoyment. JD Vance outlines his story of living in Kentucky and Ohio, and his escape to Yale University to study law. What a fabulous ending to a story crammed full of bad experiences from a life a strife and dread, but a story of redemption in the form of a powerful grandmother that pushed him to succeed. J D Vance struggled with his drug dependent mother and the various men in the mother’s life. A gentle push after high school steered J D to the Marine, and the rest of the story rests in that shove. I listened to the book on audio, and J D Vance does a great job in reading his book. ( )
  delphimo | Sep 27, 2018 |
The deck of life was stacked against JD Vance, but he defied all the odds and escape a life of poverty and despair. As you read his story you can see his escape was a mix of luck, second chances, and above all else persistent hard work. ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Sep 26, 2018 |
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added by janw | editNew Yorker, Josh Rothman (Sep 12, 2016)
 

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J. D. Vanceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carlson-Stanisic, LeahDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, JarrodCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Mamaw and Papaw, my very own hillbilly terminators
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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.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062300547, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 03 Jul 2016 02:21:10 -0400)

Shares the story of the author's family and upbringing, describing how they moved from poverty to an upwardly mobile clan that included the author, a Yale Law School graduate, while navigating the demands of middle class life and the collective demons of the past.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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