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

Hardcover | June 28, 2016

byJ. D. Vance

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist

"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal

"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times

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.

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From the Publisher

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist "A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York TimesFrom a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, prob...

From the Jacket

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...

J.D. Vance grew up in Middletown, Ohio, and Jackson, Kentucky. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and served for four years in Iraq. He is a graduate of the Ohio State University (2007-2009) Political Science and Philosophy, Summa Cum Laude and Yale Law School, Doctor of Law (J.D.) (2010-2013). He has contributed to the ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.93 inPublished:June 28, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062300547

ISBN - 13:9780062300546

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

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Great novel very relating for the average working man
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Like it Great book
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not what was promised I was expecting a bit more from this book. Most of the content is typical of the misery memoir/survivor story genre, which is fine, but I was looking for more of a well-researched sociological examination of the culture of the Appalachian region. He does throw in some statistics and occasionally talks about the "hillbilly" mentality (his findings based primarily on anecdotal evidence) but I found the "culture in crisis" aspect that is promised in the title to be underrepresented.
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful Amazing! I could not put it down, and it gives you perspective on a class that I never pai much attention to. Love love love!
Date published: 2016-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Voice of the Working Class Painfully accurate portrayal of hillbilly culture. Mr. Vance did a great job giving voice to the white working class. (Which I wholeheartedly appreciate !)
Date published: 2016-08-04

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Editorial Reviews

“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.”