Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
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 that has been slowly occurring now...more
Let's start with what this book isn't. It's not an explanation of why Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, or at least ...more
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. prayed to The Good Lord on Sunday, and revered F.D.R. and J.F.K. every day of the week? The last thing I heard, they elected Donald Trump. And I am still looking for explanations.
If you want somebody who knows Appalachian culture from inside to explain it all to you, I highly recommend Hillbilly Elegy by ...more
What separates the successful from the unsuccessful are the expectations that they had for their own lives.J.D. Vance, an ex-marine, a Yale law school graduate and self-proclaimed hillbilly, provides an absolutely unique, heart-wrenching and poignant analysis of his culture - the poor white working class.
If you believe that hard work pays off, then you work hard; if you think it’s hard to get...more
It's one of those conservative love stories of " I got my shit together so everyone can". While I respect the struggle Vance had, I also believe it's a very naive picture of what is going on. It explains why people FEEL a way. It does not explain the systemic issues ...more
Okay – that was my original, but it should have been Vance’s! Instead, he mostly blamed the poor for being poor, lazy, and generally culpable for all (and few) choices. No wonder anger and angst filled their days and nights, and they needed drugs, alcohol, and violence to trigger some brief if dysfunctional relief. Vance was born right after the decades of American prosperity post WWII when if you wanted a job you simply got ...more
When I saw the name, I figured this would be reading about a real life Deliverance-esque town. However, this is more about how a boy develops into a man when dealing with being raised by a family with a “Hillbilly” ...more
Why is this guy the darling of the talk show circuit right now? He thinks his fellow hillbillies just need to work harder. Problem solved! He thinks because he made it everyone else should be able to do the same. He asserts social programs won't help his lazy people but then ...more
Ma lives in the holler
way back yander thar.
she plays the fiddle and sings
just like Emmy Lou.
Mamaw chews tobacco
and spits the wad right
in her old Styrofoam cup.
even in front of company.
my pa was a coal miner
and beats us younguns
cus he meaner than a polecat
and a little touched
when he is drunker
than Cootey Brown.
We refused welfare
don't believe in eating
high on the hog,
so I picked my poor self up
and so can y'all.
My local book club will be discussing this book this month. I'll be attending- I almost took a 'pass'. I'm really glad I didn't.
THE CONTROVERSY and DISCUSSIONS from reviews on Goodreads is already ENGAGING!!!! Seriously, I spent more time reading through every review - and all the comments on THIS BOOK - more than any book in all my years on Goodreads.
My interest elevated - and my emotions were entangled. The passion of expression from people about this book - positive and negative - ...more
1. Read better books
2. Read more nonfiction
This book, while difficult to read at times, is an important book, and I can't recommend it enough. It hit me pretty hard at times. I mean, I wouldn't consider myself a hillbilly, but i did grow up in the suburbs of Nashville, and I'm honestly not too far removed from some of the family members depicted in ...more
“I know you real Americans hate being called stupid, but you gotta meet me half way and stop being stupid.”
My empathy level for stupid Americans has diminished this last year. I have un-friended a few people I once thought to be good, intelligent, and sane. This year has opened my eyes to an ugliness and a selfishness in people that I never imagined existed in so many. And that ...more
I identify closely with the author: both of us were born poor and from divorced parents, both benefited from military service and both found a way to get through law school (coincidentally even though I am fifteen years Vance’s senior and am closer in age to his mother, he and I were in Iraq at the same time and both worked for military pubic affairs and both took part in civil ...more
I picked up 'Hillbilly Elegy' because the blurb sounded interesting enough and I really don't know much about the ...more
― J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
(my dad's father [center on the stairs], uncle, and other workers during harvest)
The writing and conclusions of this book are probably a 3-star, but emotionally this is a 4-star book for me (thus my vacillating between 3&4-stars). J.D. ...more
Poverty is in the eye of the beholder. My father grew up in the hollers of West Virginia in a small town that hasn’t changed very much (if at all) since he lived there. Oh, wait. They changed the name of the street he grew up on from Pennsylvania Avenue to something sounding less presidential. Other than that, I’d be surprised if anything had changed. His grandfather built the house he grew up in when my grandfather was a little boy in short britches. It was a big jump up from living on the ...more
This book is not any kind of treatise. It is a brave, funny, unsentimental growing-up story, introducing us to a cussin’ gun-brandishing grandmaw who knew ...more
I'm not sure where the idea that this book explains Donald Trump's rise came from, but ...more
In his own words: "Whatever talents I ...more
A good friend of mine told me I had to read this if I wanted to understand how Donald Trump won the election. But that's not to say this is a political book. Part memoir and part social treatise, the book attempts to explain the mindset of the poor whites of the Appalachian/Midwest geographic area. Mostly Scotch-Irish, they are a proud people with a split mindset when it comes to beliefs vs. actions, especially concerning work ethic, religion and the value of education.
J.D. Vance basically goes ...more
The term Hillbilly is one that has never meant much to me. Living in the UK when I had heard it mentioned it was only through TV and film. I pictured trailer parks, alcoholic fathers and screaming mothers. So to read a memoir from someone of the Hillbilly background sounded interesting . I clicked want to read, then promptly forgot all about it! So when I came across it in my local charity ...more