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

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

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported 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 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.

Title:Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780062300546
Format Type:

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

  • Jessica Jeffers

    I read this book as an advance galley, long before it became a Thing and I did not read this book because I wanted Vance to explain Trump, though he's somehow been chosen by liberal media as the perso...

  • Lauren Cecile

    Very candid account of growing up disadvantaged and white. The parallels between his demographic and a historically, systematically marginalized Black America are evident. Both populations deserve und...

  • Jon

    2016 is the year of Donald Trump, and J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy should be at the top of every politico and thought leader's reading list living in the Acela corridor. Vance is both an excellent wri...

  • Laurie Anderson

    I grew up in a similar community.... wanted to like this book, but I lost all respect for it because the author didn't discuss the enormous issue of racism in the context of rural white poverty. A cow...

  • Rebecca Robinson

    I'll be honest I didn't totally finish the book before giving up. I hear Vance on NPR and the story caught my attention. Yet, what I thought would be a better analysis of American economics and povert...

  • Bill Kerwin

    Have you ever wondered what became of the Scotch-Irish, who dug America’s coal, forged America’s steel and built America’s automobiles, who worked for the American Dream Monday through Friday. p...

  • Jessaka

    HILLBILLY ELEGIST: YOUR BOOK SMELLS BAD ENOUGH TO KNOCKA BUZZARD OFF A SHIT WAGONMa lives in the hollerway back yander thar.she plays the fiddle and singsjust like Emmy Lou.Mamaw chews tobaccoand spit...

  • Miranda Reads

    This books had so much more depth than I expected and honestly, I am more than a little overwhelmed. What separates the successful from the unsuccessful are the expectations that they had for their ...

  • reading is my hustle

    ...People talk about hard work all the time in places like Middletown. You can walk through a town where 30 percent of the young men work fewer than twenty hours a week and find not a single person aw...

  • Christy

    Hell hath no fury like a strong Protestant Work Ethic without work. Okay – that was my original, but it should have been Vance’s! Instead, he mostly blamed the poor for being poor, lazy, and gener...