Harper Academic

Hillbilly Elegy

A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

by J. D. Vance

On Sale: 05/01/2018

Price: $16.99

Hillbilly Elegy

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Hillbilly Elegy

A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

by J. D. Vance

On Sale: 05/01/2018

Format:

Price: $16.99

About the Book

Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is a fascinating consideration of class, culture, and the American dream.

Vance’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love.” They got married and moved north from Kentucky to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. Their grandchild (the author) graduated from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving upward mobility for their family. But Vance cautions that is only the short version. The slightly longer version is that his grandparents, aunt, uncle, and mother struggled to varying degrees with the demands of their new middle class life and they, and Vance himself, still carry around the demons of their chaotic family history.

Delving into his own personal story and drawing on a wide array of sociological studies, Vance takes us deep into working class life in the Appalachian region. This demographic of our country has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, and Vance provides a searching and clear-eyed attempt to understand when and how “hillbillies” lost faith in any hope of upward mobility, and in opportunities to come.

At times funny, disturbing, and deeply moving, this is a family history that is also a troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large portion of this country.

Freshman Common Read: University of Wisconsin, Middle Tennessee State University, Flager University, Miami University (Ohio), University of Denver, Augustana College

Critical Praise

“[A] compassionate, discerning sociological analysis…Combining thoughtful inquiry with firsthand experience, Mr. Vance has inadvertently provided a civilized reference guide for an uncivilized election, and he’s done so in a vocabulary intelligible to both Democrats and Republicans. Imagine that.” - Jennifer Senior, New York Times

“[Hillbilly Elegy] is a beautiful memoir but it is equally a work of cultural criticism about white working-class America….[Vance] offers a compelling explanation for why it’s so hard for someone who grew up the way he did to make it…a riveting book.” - Wall Street Journal

“[Vance’s] description of the culture he grew up in is essential reading for this moment in history.” - David Brooks, New York Times

“[Hillbilly Elegy] couldn’t have been better timed...a harrowing portrait of much that has gone wrong in America over the past two generations...an honest look at the dysfunction that afflicts too many working-class Americans.” - National Review

[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

“J.D. Vance’s memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy”, offers a starkly honest look at what that shattering of faith feels like for a family who lived through it. You will not read a more important book about America this year.” - The Economist

“[A] frank, unsentimental, harrowing memoir...a superb book...” - New York Post

“The troubles of the working poor are well known to policymakers, but Vance offers an insider’s view of the problem.” - Christianity Today

“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

“[An] understated, engaging debut...An unusually timely and deeply affecting view of a social class whose health and economic problems are making headlines in this election year.” - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“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 beautifully and powerfully written memoir about the author’s journey from a troubled, addiction-torn Appalachian family to Yale Law School, Hillbilly Elegy is shocking, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and hysterically funny. It’s also a profoundly important book, one that opens a window on a part of America usually hidden from view and offers genuine hope in the form of hard-hitting honesty. Hillbilly Elegy announces the arrival of a gifted and utterly original new writer and should be required reading for everyone who cares about what’s really happening in America.” - Amy Chua, New York Times bestselling author of The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

“Elites tend to see our social crisis in terms of ‘stagnation’ or ‘inequality.’ J. D. Vance writes powerfully about the real people who are kept out of sight by academic abstractions.” - Peter Thiel, entrepreneur, investor, and author of Zero to One

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062300553
  • ISBN 10: 0062300555
  • Imprint: Harper Paperbacks
  • On Sale: 05/01/2018
  • Trimsize: 5.313 in (w) x 8.000 in (h) x 0.720 in (d)
  • Pages: 288
  • List Price: $16.99
  • BISAC1: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Rural
  • BISAC2: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
  • BISAC3: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Poverty & Homelessness