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


Overview -

#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.  Read more...


 
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More About Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance
 
 
 
Overview

#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

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.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062300553
  • ISBN-10: 0062300555
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
  • Publish Date: May 2018
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.6 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Social Science > Sociology - Rural
Books > Social Science > Poverty & Homelessness
Books > Social Science > Ethnic Studies - General

 
BookPage Reviews

Book clubs: New in paperback

J.D. Vance’s bestselling Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis is a timely consideration of life in working-class America. The son of a drug-addict mother and an absent father, Vance was brought up in Ohio by his native Kentuckian grandparents, who were steeped in the ways of Appalachia. A quarrelsome pair with a colorful past, they managed to give Vance the support he needed to move forward in life. Over the years, Vance—a Marine who served in Iraq and a Yale graduate—conquered the challenges of his upbringing and came into his own. Now a thriving lawyer, he chronicles his path to achievement in a compelling narrative that delivers an unflinching look at the difficulties of succeeding in contemporary America. Mixing social science, history and personal recollection, Vance writes with sensitivity about the barriers that often prevent working-class people from prospering, including the temptation of drugs. This is an earnest and important book that’s sure to resonate with readers.

GRACE BE WITH YOU
A smart, funny and affectionately rendered family portrait, Patricia Lockwood’s unforgettable memoir, Priestdaddy, was named one of the best books of 2017 by BookPage, The New Yorker, the Washington Post and many other publications. At the center of the narrative is Lockwood’s father, a Catholic priest who doesn’t quite fit the mold of a holy man. He plays guitar, appreciates fast cars, enjoys action movies and likes guns. After an emergency forces Lockwood and her husband to stay with her parents in the Kansas City rectory where she grew up, the young couple find they have some adjusting to do. Lockwood’s husband is puzzled by Catholicism, and Lockwood—no longer a churchgoer—struggles to come to terms with the beliefs that served as her family’s foundation. Lockwood writes vividly about her youth, recalling difficult incidents from her past, including her attempt at suicide. An accomplished poet, she beautifully reflects on the intricate ties of kinship and the complexities of organized religion. Book clubs will find much to savor and discuss in this incisive narrative.

TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
In her latest literary accomplishment, the National Book Award-winning novel Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward tells the story of a broken family in Mississippi. Thirteen-year-old Jojo—the son of Michael, a white man, and Leonie, a black woman—struggles to find his way in the world. A drug user haunted by her brother’s death, Leonie doesn’t provide much in the way of home life for Jojo and his little sister, Kayla, who find stability in their grandparents. When Michael is released from jail, Leonie travels north to meet him, taking Jojo and Kayla with her. During the trip, Jojo discovers that he can talk to the ghost of a boy named Richie, who died years ago in a prison camp. The novel is narrated in turn by Jojo, Leonie and the ghost. A virtuoso storyteller, Ward shifts points of view effortlessly to create a richly atmospheric portrait of the South.

 

This article was originally published in the May 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews