Customer Review

29 July 2017
The outcome of the election made me want to better understand how Donald Trump was able to appeal to middle America. After reading this book, I get it. This former marine and Yale Law School graduate provides 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. This is an especially fascinating book and a must read. It gives us a peek into the 21st century lives of some stubborn, fearless folks in Eastern Kentucky who do not assimilate well into the larger society. It really helped me after the election of Trump to better understand why so many workers no longer identified with the Democratic Party and how desperate they were to find an alternative political option. The author provides examples and quantifiable, sociological analysis on how extensive the gap between the wealthy and poor continues to grow in the US.

The fact is J.D. Vance has written a revealing book about his childhood life in the hillbilly subculture of impoverished Eastern Kentucky and parts of southern Ohio. One of his goals is to describe for the reader why the people of Eastern Kentucky have not been able to break out of poverty, why generation after generation of children in this subculture follow the behavioral patterns set by their parents and neighbours when these patterns of behaviour have not greatly improved the education of their people nor their economic condition in the larger society.

The moving memoir has its share of humour and introduces us to a number of vividly colourful figures. It is the story of how upward mobility really feels as well as being an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for an ever growing segment of the country.

It is very obvious after reading it why 'Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis' by J.D. Vance has been on the NY Times Best Seller List for over a year now. This touching, revealing, warm, sad, and inspiring memoir, opens many sores while explaining in the most human and personal terms possible the pain and misunderstanding that harms working class and poor white Americans in the heartlands.

Throughout, Vance painstaking honesty and courage are never in doubt. Ultimately, Vance fully understands the necessity for a compassionate government and individual acceptance of responsibility working together to make progress possible for all. I found it so fascinating I've bought the hardback when it was originally released and have now bought the kindle edition to store and reference back to. A must read.
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4.1 out of 5 stars
31
$14.99