Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working classHillbilly 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 ...

Details Hillbilly Elegy

TitleHillbilly Elegy
Release DateJun 28th, 2016
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, Audiobook

Reviews Hillbilly Elegy

  • Jessica Jeffers
    I read this book as an advance galley, long before it became a Thing and I did not read this book because I wanted Vance to explain Trump, though he's somehow been chosen by liberal media as the person to do just that (though the handful of interviews I saw seemed more like Chris Matthews wanted to pat himself on the back for having a guest with hillbilly cred than actually listening to what Vance had to say). I didn't think this book would have ...
  • Lauren Cecile
    Very candid account of growing up disadvantaged and white. The parallels between his demographic and a historically, systematically marginalized Black America are evident. Both populations deserve understanding and empathy, but I tend to think the author thinks his people are somehow more noble. I would have like to seen an acknowledgment that the two groups should not be antagonistic but work together to achieve mutually beneficial economic goal...
  • Jon
    2016 is the year of Donald Trump, and J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy should be at the top of every politico and thought leader's reading list living in the Acela corridor. Vance is both an excellent writer and a thoughtful person—and when combined with a compelling story, he's able to shed some light on the lives of those living on the other side of the Appalachian Mountains.Let's start with what this book isn't. It's not an explanation of why Do...
  • Bill Kerwin
    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 explai...
  • Miranda Reads
    This books had so much more depth than I expected and honestly, I am more than a little overwhelmed. 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, ...
  • Laurie Anderson
    I grew up in a similar community.... wanted to like this book, but I lost all respect for it because the author didn't discuss the enormous issue of racism in the context of rural white poverty. A cowardly omission.
  • Rebecca Robinson
    I'll be honest I didn't totally finish the book before giving up. I hear Vance on NPR and the story caught my attention. Yet, what I thought would be a better analysis of American economics and poverty proved to be very different. 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...
  • Christy
    Hell hath no fury like a strong Protestant Work Ethic without work. 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...
  • Elizabeth
    ...People talk about hard work all the time in places like Middletown. You can walk through a town where 30 percent of the young men work fewer than twenty hours a week and find not a single person aware of his own laziness.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 so...
  • Matthew
    This is an incredibly fascinating and well done book. I think that the thoughts and opinions of the author might be controversial, but he lived through it and saw the good and the bad so I will give him the benefit of the doubt on how he sees things after the way he grew up!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 bein...
  • Jessaka
    HILLBILLY ELEGIST: YOUR BOOK SMELLS BAD ENOUGH TO KNOCKA BUZZARD OFF A SHIT WAGONMa lives in the hollerway back yander thar.she plays the fiddle and singsjust like Emmy Lou.Mamaw chews tobaccoand spits the wad right in her old Styrofoam cup.even in front of company.my pa was a coal minerand beats us younguns cus he meaner than a polecatand a little touchedwhen he is drunker than Cootey Brown.We refuse HILLBILLY ELEGIST: YOUR BOOK SMELLS BAD ENO...
  • Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
    AudiobookMy 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...
  • Diane S ☔
    Possibly the most timely read of the year, here in the United States. Not just a sociological view of this group of people I had heard nor read little about, but the experiences of a young man raised in this environment and pulled himself out, though he does acknowledge to receiving much help along the way. This book enlightens the reader about the huge disparity in thinking between those making the leas and those receiving the benefits of these ...
  • Justin
    I set dozens of reading goals for 2017, but I won't bore you with all of them. However, this book helped me accomplish two reading goals this year: 1. Read better books2. 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 re...
  • Delee
    Three month non-ranty political review time is ovvvvvvvvvvvvvvver. Woo Hoo!!! Loooooook out Beeoooootcheeees!“I know you real Americans hate being called stupid, but you gotta meet me half way and stop being stupid.”Bill MaherMy 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 peop...
  • Lyn
    A well written, thoughtful statement about our culture; where we are now, how we got here and where we could be going.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 ...
  • Candace
    First and foremost, let me say that I am not a big non-fiction reader. Every once in a while, I need a change of pace or something catches my eye that isn't my typical smutty romance. Sometimes it works out for me and I learn something new. Other times, the "enlightening" read is about as entertaining as having a lobotomy. Sadly, this book fell into the latter category for me.I picked up 'Hillbilly Elegy' because the blurb sounded interesting eno...
  • Darwin8u
    “One way our upper class can promote upward mobility, then, is not only by pushing wise public policies but by opening their hearts and minds to the newcomers who don’t quite belong.” ― 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 f...
  • J.L. Sutton
    I didn't really want to read J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, but it sort of felt like a car crash you know is right in front of you. It's tough to keep your eyes closed and not peek. Even before I opened the book, I reflected that the 'hillbilly' culture Vance describes as in crises is the same culture that was in crisis 100 years ago. I wondered whether there was something about these people (my people as it turns out) who just need to act out eve...
  • Cheri
    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 ...
  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    J.D Vance's grandparents set the basis for this life story. They move from the hills of Kentucky to Ohio chasing a better life. J.D.'s life is in both places. He does live a life that is very familiar here in the southeast. His real dad gives him up, he is told by his mom and Mamaw that his dad doesn't want him anymore. He is adopted by one of his mother's many men. Who also ends up leaving. J.D.'s mom is a revolving door of different men. (I'm n...
  • MomToKippy
    I am really not impressed by the author's hillbilly credentials. He writes a "memoir" at 31 for starters. If you have not read this you may be disappointed as I was because he did NOT grow up in the hills and hollers of Kentucky. His grandmother's family did and she left there for small town Ohio at the ripe old age of 13. He even changed his name to Vance - which is one of his ancient ancestors who was part of the Hatfield and McCoy clan. So muc...
  • Pouting Always
    When I bought this book I didn't really read the title closely so I really just assumed it said Hillbilly Energy and so I like assumed it was going to be something about solar energy on farms, I don't know I have a presumption problem clearly, so I was kind of confused when I started to read the book. I really did enjoy the book though and I felt Vance was insightful. The only thing is he seems to start to lose steam by the end of the book but en...
  • Trish
    A twitter storm this summer brought this book to my attention. I read several articles and interviews with Vance before managing to get my hands on a copy. That circuitous introduction led me to expect some kind of treatise on working class attitudes, so at first I experienced the work through the distorting lens of others’ interpretations. This book is not any kind of treatise. It is a brave, funny, unsentimental growing-up story, introducing ...
  • Jennifer
    "This was my world: a world of truly irrational behavior. We spend our way into the poorhouse. We buy giant TVs and iPads...Thrift is inimical to our being...Our homes are a chaotic mess. We scream and yell at each other like we're spectators at a football game. At least one member of the family uses drugs...At especially stressful times, we'll hit and punch each other, all in front of the rest of the family, including young children...We don't s...
  • Esil
    I listened to the audio of Hillbilly Elegies. J.D. Vance reads it himself. I found it moving and captivating, but I'm not quite sure what my take away is -- and I've decided that that doesn't really matter because Vance is an interesting guy with a really interesting story to tell. He was born in Ohio, but his grandparents were originally from the hills of Kentucky. He refers to them as "hillbillies", painting a complex demographic picture of his...
  • Heidi The Reader
    Intense memoir of J.D. Vance's childhood and eventual rise. It reminded me of Angela's Ashes except that instead of Ireland, it took place in Kentucky/Ohio and the drug of choice was prescription pills rather than alcohol. I was astonished that J.D. not only survived, but thrived. He credits his grandparents with saving his life, but a lot of different factors came together at the right time to propel him out of his dead end hometown. This is tha...
  • Liz
    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...
  • Diane Barnes
    I am not quite as enamored of this book as a lot of people. It tells this young man's story of his journey out of poverty and violence into the world of an elite pursuer of the American Dream. He had luck, intelligence, and a Mamaw and Papaw who cared enough to help him along. The Marine Corp was another catalyst into the good life. He was smart enough to use all these things as a way out of a downward spiral.I'm not sure where the idea that this...
  • Charlotte May
    “Americans call them hillbillies, red necks or white trash. I call them neighbours, friends and family.” 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 abo...