Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir

J.D. Vance. Harper, $27.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-230054-6
In this compelling hybrid of memoir and sociological analysis, Vance digs deep into his upbringing in the hills of Jackson, Ky., and the suburban enclave of Middletown, Ohio. He chronicles with affection—and raw candor—the foibles, shortcomings, and virtues of his family and their own attempts to live their lives as working-class people in a middle-class world. Readers get to know his tough-as-nails grandmother, Mawmaw, who almost killed a man when she was 12 in Jackson, but who has to live among the sewing circles of Middletown. Her love for children, and for her grandson in particular, fuels her dream to become a children's attorney. When Vance finishes high school, he's not ready to head off to Ohio State, so Vance joins the Marines, completes a tour of duty in Iraq, and returns home with a surer sense of what he wants out of life and how to get it. He eventually enrolls in Yale Law School and becomes a successful lawyer, doggedly reflecting on the keys to his own success—family and community—and the ways they might help him understand the issues at stake in social policies today. Vance observes that hillbillies like himself are helped not by government policy but by community that empowers them and extended family who encourages them to take control of their own destinies. Vance's dynamic memoir takes a serious look at class. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/18/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-247752-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-3433-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-5047-3434-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-3432-5
Hardcover - 978-1-4104-9666-9
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-230056-0
Paperback - 288 pages
Paperback - 978-1-4328-4000-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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