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Analysis: Hillbilly Elegy: By J.D. Vance. a Yale Law School Graduate Looks at the Struggles of the White Working Class Through the Story of His Own Childhood. PDF, ePub eBook

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Analysis: Hillbilly Elegy: By J.D. Vance. a Yale Law School Graduate Looks at the Struggles of the White Working Class Through the Story of His Own Childhood.

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Analysis: Hillbilly Elegy: By J.D. Vance. a Yale Law School Graduate Looks at the Struggles of the White Working Class Through the Story of His Own Childhood. PDF, ePub eBook Hillbilly Elegy Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is a memoir by J. D. Vance about the Appalachian values of his upbringing and their relation to the social problems of his hometown. Summary Vance describes his upbringing and family background. He writes about a family history of poverty and low-paying, physical jobs that have since disappeared or Hillbilly Elegy Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is a memoir by J. D. Vance about the Appalachian values of his upbringing and their relation to the social problems of his hometown. Summary Vance describes his upbringing and family background. He writes about a family history of poverty and low-paying, physical jobs that have since disappeared or worsened in their guarantees, and compares this life with his perspective after leaving that area and life. Vance was raised in Middletown, Ohio, though his ancestors were from Breathitt County, Kentucky. Their Appalachian values include traits like loyalty, love of country, and tendency towards violence and verbal abuse. He recounts his grandparents' alcoholism and abuse, and his unstable mother's history of drug addictions and failed relationships. Vance's grandparents eventually reconcile and become his de facto guardians, particularly spurred by his tough but loving grandmother, such that Vance was able to leave his town and ascend social ladders to attend Ohio State University and Yale Law School. Alongside his personal history, Vance raises questions such as the responsibility of his family and people for their own misfortune. Vance blames hillbilly culture and its encouragement of social rot. Comparatively, he feels that economic insecurity plays a much lesser role. While there is danger in blaming a people for their misfortunes, Vance has greater credence as an insider to the culture. As a grocery store cashier working checkout, he watched people on welfare talk on cell phones while Vance himself could not afford one. This resentment towards those who profited from misdeeds while he struggled, especially combined with his values of personal responsibility and tough love, is a microcosm of Appalachia's overall political swing from strong Democratic Party to strong Republican affiliations. Likewise, he recounts stories about lack of work ethic. For example, someone who did not like his job's hours and quit only to post on social media about the "Obama economy," and a co-worker who would skip work even though his girlfriend was pregnant. Publication The book was popularized by an interview with the author published by The American Conservative in late July 2016. The volume of requests briefly disabled the website. Halfway through the next month, The New York Times wrote that the title had remained in the top ten Amazon bestsellers since the interview's publication. Vance credits his Yale contract law professor Amy Chua as the "authorial grandmother" of the book. Reception The book reached the top of The New York Times Best Seller list in August 2016 and January 2017. Journalists wrote that the book was of specific importance during the 2016 United States presidential elections, as Vance compassionately describes the white underclass that fueled the campaign of Donald Trump and a resurgence of outsider politics. Conservatives expressed admiration for Hillbilly Elegy, particularly The American Conservative contributor and blogger Rod Dreher, who said that Vance "draws conclusions...that may be hard for some people to take. But Vance has earned the right to make those judgments. This was his life. He speaks with authority that has been extremely hard won." However, the following month, Dreher posted about why liberals loved the book. New York Post columnist and editor of Commentary John Podhoretz described the book as among the year's most provocative. The book was also positively received by conservatives such as New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat, National Review columnist Mona Charen and National Review editor and Slate columnist Reihan Salam. By contrast, some liberal commentators condemned the book and Vance personally. Jared Yates Sexton of Salon criticized Vance for his "damaging rhetoric" and endorsing policies used to "gut the poor." He concludes by accusing Vance of racism and white privilege.

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