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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and…

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

by J. D. Vance (Author)

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3,9112362,059 (3.82)333
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)
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

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

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This gets one star because I did appreciate his story about his family. It only gets one star because his insistence on using his family as a template for all of Appalachia pandered to the stereotypes and paid zero homage to the strength and beauty of this culture. Mr Vance would do well to let his family's tale of dysfunction represent his family, instead of sullying a whole, cultute with his disinformation. ( )
  DebbieJane35 | Feb 13, 2020 |
This one cut both ways for me. The Kentucky stuff was good. The Ohio stuff…not so much. I just didn’t buy into the straight-line connection between being born a Hillbilly and growing up in a dysfunctional family with an emotionally unstable, drug addicted mother. It’s a tough life no matter where you trace your roots. Glad he made it out, but not sure about the whole “Culture in Crisis—that of white working-class Americans.” ( )
  mtbass | Jan 31, 2020 |
I’m often concerned that American culture is increasingly splitting into two groups that don’t interact much. Our politics and our regionalism tends to reinforce that. There are a few voices which seem to traverse the divide, and Vance’s is one of them.

Specifically, he traverses the Appalachia/Rust-Belt divide with Northeastern elites. As such, he can speak to both audiences at the same time while enlightening us all about his experiences.

Vance’s family life was incredibly chaotic. His biological father disowned him; his mother was an addict; he bounced around from home to home as a child. Were it not for his Mamaw, he probably would not have even gone to college, much less to law school. However, instead, he went into the Marines, fought in Iraq, and then voyaged onto his successful educational ventures.

I admire Vance’s strength and covet his wisdom. This book can be especially helpful for young adults just starting out in life. It is quite inspirational. I also recommend it for those who, like me, wish to encourage dialog of disparate cultures in our country. It reads quickly and easily but impacts profoundly. ( )
  scottjpearson | Jan 25, 2020 |
I heard about this book two years ago, just after Trump was elected. I was reeling and in shock, totally stunned that I had so badly misunderstood what my fellow Americans seemed to want. A friend recommended this to me as a potential way to see what would cause people to see Trump as an appealing candidate.

The book describes intergenerational trauma, abuse, and poverty through the lens of one family's experience. It is thoughtful, detailed, and unafraid of complexity. And yes, reading this I can certainly see why someone might vote for Trump. In one way, it's horribly depressing, but in another it's reassuring to feel like I understand (even a little). ( )
  being_b | Jan 8, 2020 |
J.D. Vance tells of overcoming his dysfunctional hillbilly family in a small Ohio city with the help of loving grandparents. He attempts to explain the phenomena caused by familial dysfunction, and lack of positive role models and prospects. ( )
  lilibrarian | Jan 3, 2020 |
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added by janw | editNew Yorker, Josh Rothman (Sep 12, 2016)

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vance, J. D.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carlson-Stanisic, LeahDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
HarperAudioPublishersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heuvelmans, TonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, JarrodCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, J. D.Narratorsecondary 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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