Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy

A Memoir of A Family and Culture in Crisis

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
119
5
4
 …

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NAMED BY THE TIMES AS ONE OF "6 BOOKS TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRUMP'S WIN" AND SOON TO BE A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD

"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.

Publisher: New York, New York :, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, 2016, ©2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062300546
Branch Call Number: 305. 56208909092 VAN V
Characteristics: 264 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment
m
mhplgillian
May 17, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found Chapter 11 to be particularly useful in understanding the motivations of voters in the Rust Belt: “His wife (Obama) tells us that we shouldn’t be feeding our children certain foods, and we hate her for it - not because we think she’s wrong but because we know she’s right.”

e
EljayJohnson
May 06, 2020

A readable, interesting memoir told within a very particular sociological construct, with a very particular political agenda. More of a 2.0 rating for me, with rounding up because of the author's writing skills. But boy, some of his conclusions were maddening....

ArapahoeErika Apr 07, 2020

While this book is controversial especially from others who live in the Appalachian region I feel the main take away's are of a deeply personal nature and can transcend the sweeping commentary of the region.

J.D. Vance does a great job of showcasing how "escaping" the town and way you were brought up does not free you from the emotional scares that are left behind. We all must come to a point of growing and moving on from emotional trauma or fall victim to perpetuating those same crimes. The key is to never lose the idea/hope/belief that hard work and care will help see you through to a better future.

JCLBreAnnaB Mar 20, 2020

Fascinating look in to the Appalachian culture with its values, positives and negatives. It is a powerful blend of stories from his life and compelling thoughts on society. With knowledge of the foster care system, I appreciated his view of what helps kids in crisis ultimately succeed.

b
blue_tiger_4425
Mar 19, 2020

This book was very eye opening since it revealed the life style of families in Appalachian America. It describes the struggles that J.D. Vance had to go through to become a successful adult. The book also expands on how growing up in a broken household is like, it shows the effects of drug abuse in families and how much they negatively impact the children of the family. I think the most important idea that Hillbilly Elegy has is that no matter where you come from or how poor you are, you can work hard and achieve your goals.

cmlibrary_sally Feb 13, 2020

Interesting read. I learned a lot about this part of the population and hardships that are removed from where we live. It is not representative of everyone in that area, but it is an idea of what some people face day to day. Just the discussion about why paycheck cashing services are necessary made me open my eyes.

s
sunnyblonde
Jan 12, 2020

Interesting book which shed some light on a demographic not often positively portrayed in literature.

a
aprilm336
Dec 28, 2019

June

k
Kimberley1445
Nov 05, 2019

I enjoyed this book. It described the family life in Appallacia America. It gave history about the migration of people from Kentucky.

b
bell5133
Oct 03, 2019

An entertaining and thought provoking memoir of J.D.’s life from childhood growing up (mostly in Middletown, Ohio) through his adulthood as a Marine and a law student at Yale. I learned about hillbilly culture; that the bullying problem can be solved with violence; the benefits of payday loans; how the Marines is effective at teaching respect, discipline, responsibility, and maturity; that to be successful in college and careers, the most important thing is connections; and that even if you come from a poor family with violence and drug addiction, you can be successful in life if you believe you can do it, work hard, and have a relatively good role model. I like that statistical facts were put in the book so that it wasn’t all just opinions without any backing.

Favorite quote: “No person’s childhood gives him or her a perpetual moral get-out-of-jail-free card.” (334)

View All Comments

Notices

Add Notices
l
LThomas_Library
May 07, 2018

Other: Topics: Inequality, Race, Religion, Education, Mental Health (Substance Abuse)

l
LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Frightening and intense scenes.

l
LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Sexual Content: Strong sexual content.

l
LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Violence: Strong violence.

l
LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Coarse Language: Strong language.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
b
bell5133
Jan 16, 2020

bell5133 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

b
bell5133
Oct 03, 2019

bell5133 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

l
LThomas_Library
May 04, 2018

LThomas_Library thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

r
runningbeat
Mar 17, 2017

runningbeat thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Summary

Add a Summary
d
dzacher
Jun 28, 2017

In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck. 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.

Quotes

Add a Quote
b
bell5133
Jan 16, 2020

“No person’s childhood gives him or her a perpetual moral get-out-of-jail-free card.” (334)

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at CPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top