#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“You will not read a more significant novel about America this year.”—The Economist
“A riveting novel.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Essential reading.”—David Brooks, New York Times
From Yale Law School graduate and a former marine, a powerful accounts of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class
Hillbilly Elegy is a personal and passionate investigation of a culture in catastrophe—that of white working class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that’s 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 societal, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
The Vance family narrative begins in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “soil 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 standard mark of their success in achieving generational up mobility.
But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is just the short, superficial variant. Vance shows himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.
A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly brilliant figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how up mobility actually feels.