"[Vance's] description of the culture he grew up in is essential reading for this moment in history."--David Brooks, New York Times
[A]n American classic, an extraordinary testimony to the brokenness of the white working class, but also its strengths. It's one of the best books I've ever read... [T]he most important book of 2016. You cannot understand what's happening now without first reading J.D. Vance.--Rod Dreher, The American Conservative
"[A] frank, unsentimental, harrowing memoir...a superb book..."--New York Post
"Vance movingly recounts the travails of his family."--Washington Post
"What explains the appeal of Donald Trump? Many pundits have tried to answer this question and fallen short. But J.D. Vance nails it...stunning...intimate..."--Globe and Mail (Toronto)
"[A] new memoir that should be read far and wide."--Institute of Family Studies
"Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, this memoir is akin to investigative journalism. ... A quick and engaging read, this book is well suited to anyone interested in a study of modern America, as Vance's assertions about Appalachia are far more reaching."--Library Journal
"Vance compellingly describes the terrible toll that alcoholism, drug abuse, and an unrelenting code of honor took on his family, neither excusing the behavior nor condemning it...The portrait that emerges is a complex one...Unerringly forthright, remarkably insightful, and refreshingly focused, Hillbilly Elegy is the cry of a community in crisis."--Booklist
To understand the rage and disaffection of America's working-class whites, look to Greater Appalachia. In HILLBILLY ELEGY, J.D. Vance confronts us with the economic and spiritual travails of this forgotten corner of our country. Here we find women and men who dearly love their country, yet who feel powerless as their way of life is devastated. Never before have I read a memoir so powerful, and so necessary.--Reihan Salam, executive editor, National Review
A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
Waterstones nonfiction Book of the Month (June)
A Time Magazine Top 10 Nonfiction Book of 2016
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
‘The political book of the year’ Sunday Times
‘You will not read a more important book about America this year’ Economist
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 post-war 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 humour and vividly colourful 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.