Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy” as Want to Read:
Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy

by
3.86  ·  Rating details ·  78 ratings  ·  30 reviews
With hundreds of thousands of copies sold, a Ron Howard movie in the works, and the rise of its author as a media personality, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis has defined Appalachia for much of the nation. What about Hillbilly Elegy accounts for this explosion of interest during this period of political turmoil? Why have its ideas ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 13th 2019 by West Virginia University Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Appalachian Reckoning, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Appalachian Reckoning

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  78 ratings  ·  30 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Jeanette
I choose not to review this with a rating. I read some of it slowly but at least 1/2 I skim read and truly that skim reading was wasted time.

This just plain disappoints. The author's copy is professor talk and reflects pretentious (highest I've come across in years high) voice and a kind of coupled sanctimonious and at the same time a rather self-serving sense of definition and agenda placing.

And on top of all that it is just too high brow pompous and styled in artsy "depth". Which just isn't an
...more
Tonstant Weader
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Hillbilly Elegy came out, it landed like a thunderclap, perhaps because it was released during the 2016 election and was perceived as an explanation of the inexplicable popularity of Donald Trump. I put it on hold at the library, but before I read it, I listened to a few interviews with him on television and canceled my hold on the book. It was clear he was just one more advocate for abandoning the poor, only this pathologizing the white working class of Appalachia based solely on his own f ...more
Pam Cipkowski
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Written in direct response to Hillbilly Elegy, this collection’s strength lies in the diversity of its selections. If this had been merely a series of scholarly essays condemning J.D. Vance’s much-discussed memoir, it could’ve been seen by some as a tired, progressive rant. Instead, it is a varied collection of essays, photographs, poetry, and personal accounts by Appalachian scholars, writers, poets and others who represent a variety of experiences across the Appalachian region. Eye-opening and ...more
Monica
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I appreciate the diversity in this collection—not only of perspective but also form and genre. Ranging from traditional, scholarly articles to creative nonfiction and poetry, this is a good range of snapshots of contemporary Appalachia and the Appalachian diaspora.
Ethan
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thorough compilation of various reflections on life and the experience of Appalachia and responses to the portrayal of Appalachia and its culture in J.D. Vance's "Hillbilly Elegy."

The response to the book is generally critical: the contributors recognize the work as reflective of Vance's personal experience, but they (rightly) take him to task for reinforcing stereotypes in his work, reducing a group of people to a cultural caricature, completely neglecting the experiences of people of color a
...more
Lib
May 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfic
Aside from the personal narratives, I found this to be a pretentious, puffed-up attempt to attack JD Vance. Dude's entitled to his own story, his own personal narrative.
Deborah Payne
Apr 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, dnf
Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds To Hillbilly Elegy
Edited By: Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll
West Virginia University Press
NonFiction (Adult) Politics
Pub. Date 1 March 2019
Pages 432
#Appalachianreckoning#NetGalley
10 Book Reviews
Professional Reader

I am not sure how to go about reviewing this book. This is actually the first book I have ever DNFed.
I decided to do this at 40%. I had a hard time reading this book because all it did was bashed Vance about his Memoirs. I have read Hillbilly Elegy and I never thought of t
...more
Delway Burton
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
This a response to Hillbilly Elegy. It is uneven with considerable vitriol. Admittedly, Vance’s autobiograpphy, a rags to riches story, is one man’s perspective and should not be taken as the source of all knowledge on the deep, problematic region. However, there is a problem in how the media seized upon it and the breadth of Vance’s success. No matter, no source has come close to solving its problems.
Star Bookworm
An entire review can be found at In Pursuit of My Own Library.

Well, honestly, I got a little more than I bargained for in Appalachian Reckoning. The first half of the book is a collection of response essays of an academic nature. The second half is more personal responses in all kinds of literary formats.

The high brow academic section was exhaustive to read. Lots of citations and little heart. While it was more than I was looking to read at the time, it was exactly as to be expected with a colle
...more
Christine
I found it hard to rate this book. I'd give the first part, which seemed to critique JD Vance personally, a low rating but I loved the voices of Appalachian writers and poets in the second half.
Cat
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Point well taken. I read the Vance book and didn't give to much thought to the whole, if that makes any sense. I live in the Rust Belt, yet I wouldn't categorize the entire region as down and out, illiterate, etc... I, and many others, are educated and solidly middle class, though maybe not living in McMansions, or driving luxuary cars, etc... Appalachia isn't any different. And it's always been made of many different ethic groups. Over all, I did enjoy the book, and the backlash to it caught me ...more
Cynthia
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book refuting and responding to JD Vance's book, Hillbilly Elegy, is a much needed addition to the discussion of what Appalachian culture is and is not. I was delighted to see this book. There's a wide variety of writing in this collection. Readers may want to pick and choose what appeals to them. I found some of the essays a bit too academic for my tastes. Nonetheless, congrats to the editors and publisher for making this book happen.
Culatta
Sep 12, 2018 marked it as to-read
This looks so good!

https://wvupressonline.com/node/774#2

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Why This Book? | Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll

Part I. Considering Hillbilly Elegy

Interrogating

Hillbilly Elitism
T. R. C. Hutton

Social Capital
Jeff Mann

Once Upon a Time in “Trumpalachia”: Hillbilly Elegy, Personal Choice, and the Blame Game
Dwight B. Billings

Stereotypes on the Syllabus: Exploring Hillbilly Elegy’s Use as an Instructional Text at Colleges and Universities
Elizabeth Catte

Benham,
...more
Madam
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Appalachian Reckoning is a well-reasoned response to J.D. Vance’s bestselling Hillbilly Elegy, which many readers have assumed is the definitive commentary on the troubled region. While the editors, Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll, firmly establish that they’re not attacking Vance personally, they do take umbrage with his bootstrap story, which they note is “largely devoid of analyses of broader socioeconomic and historical dynamics.” Their interest in publishing this collection is to bri ...more
Toni (MissPrime)
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
As an Appalachian, it's always interesting to read responses to the outside view of this region vs. the insider view of the region.

For me? Vance's book is a memoir. His experience was different than mine in many ways, but also akin to mine in many others.

Overwhelmingly, my thought is that Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis has sparked conversations about my region all over the nation and beyond. It isn't more than what it is. It's a book, about an experience. It isn't a
...more
Bookworm
May 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like many other people I had read 'Hillbilly Elegy' and like others I wasn't really impressed with the books. Indeed, I thought the response that came out not long after the book's release was interesting and was more curious to read more on the responses to the book. I had already read one (Elizabeth Catte's What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia--Catte also appears here) but I didn't find it particularly informative since it was really more about responding to Vance than actually explaini ...more
Kitty Galore
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a response to Hillbilly Elegy (HE), a book written by J.D. Vance in 2016, Anthony Harkins has amassed various essays to sometimes support, often refute, some of the statements and thinking that were presented in the Vance book. At the time of the Vance publication, the left in American politics was stymied at how someone like Trump could became president. This book proposed to answer that question AR is more the answer than Vance's book, but I believe the contributors to AR did themselves a d ...more
Sue
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of essays, poems and short stories relating too and written by natives of Appalachia. The book was written as a rebuttal to Hillbilly Elegy to let the world know that not all Appalachians are as portrayed by JD Vance.
As someone who has spent 67 years in Appalachia I can relate to the people portrayed in this book much easier than I can those Vance wrote about.
At times this book reads like a textbook. I found it difficult to focus on the first few chapters... then I g
...more
Zuska
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Americans
Have you read Hillbilly Elegy? Then you need to read this comprehensive and critical response.
Have you not read Hillbilly Elegy? Then do yourself a favor, skip it and read this excellent collection of diverse voices from Appalachia instead. Poetry, photographs, reflective essays, and academic articles interrogate, respond to, and go beyond J D Vance's Hillbilly Elegy in this much-needed volume.

Think you don't need to bother? Take heed from Dale Marie Prenatt's "Canary Dirge":

"American Elegy is
...more
Tinab
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm 2/3 done and I feel like I'm getting to the best part. This book is a compilation of responses to JD Vance's Hillbilly Reckoning. As such, if you get bogged down by one author, you can move on to another. The essays and stories range from lambasting JD Vance as oversimplifying the plight of Appalachia and telling us "they" just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, to being very supportive of him for reaching through his vulnerabilities to tell his truth. Racial issues are discusse ...more
Nan Williams
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was advertised as being a response to “Hillbilly Elegy” which has received such acclaim. I guess it was, but it was really much more than that and gave more scholarly research and information. The author compares and contrasts the information in Hillbilly Elegy with other works written about the same area in Kentucky (or similar areas in W. Virginia), notably the Pulitzer Prize winning journalistic series by Eric Eyre and “Methland” by Nick Reding. It’s an interesting and scholarly tre ...more
Gina
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC ecopy for my Kindle.
This book is a response to “Hillbilly Elegy” by J. D. Vance.
Being born, raised. and currently living in Appalachia (southwestern WV and eastern KY), I was glad to see a more scholarly researched book. I did try to read "Hillbilly Elegy" but only skimmed chapters and pages because of such negativity written about the people of Appalachia.
Realizing that everyone has their own opinions, but until you truly "walk the walk" then only can you "talk
...more
J.D. DeHart
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoughtful and well-arranged. I am a rural educator and appreciated this reply to a less than pleasing vision of Appalachia. This is a book I enjoyed, was able to navigate with ease because of the organization, and will use in my own work about this region.

Highly recommended for readers who are interested in a vision of rural life that is balanced, erudite, and well-rounded. This book is scholarly and accessible.
Nicole
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I didn't read this book cover to cover, but I did read the entire first part. I plan to return to it at some point, but just needed a break. Until then, I will say this: if you read JD Vance's Hillbilly Elegy and think you now know all there is to know about Appalachia, please read this.
Angela
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Maybe someday our complex stories will overpower the simpler, false narratives about our place." Ivy Brashear, "Keep Your 'Elegy'"
(I actually only got to read about half this book, up to pg 199, and have to return to library, will try to get again and finish later)
Dianne
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Refreshing and spunky as a host of Appalachian writers contradict the old stereotypes that were unfortunately reinforced for so many in 'Hillbilly Elegy'.
Christopher  Wireman
Great reaction to Vance's simplistic, right wing tale of Appalachia.
Edi McNinch
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
See Amazon Review
Elisabeth
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Required reading for those who absorbed Hillbilly Elegy as more than just one guy's personal experience .. Heavily footnoted articles giving a much broader, serious look at Appalachian Americans ..
Wisconsin Alumni
Anthony Harkins MA’92, PhD’99
Coeditor

From the coeditor:
With hundreds of thousands of copies sold, a Ron Howard movie in the works, and the rise of its author as a media personality, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis has defined Appalachia for much of the nation. What about Hillbilly Elegy accounts for this explosion of interest during this period of political turmoil? Why have its ideas raised so much controversy? And how can debates about the book catalyz
...more
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »