Review – Hillbilly Elegy

It has been a while since I finished reading Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance but I needed time to reflect on it before I commented on it.  Surprising to me, much in it was familiar.  I too spent some of my life growing up between Dayton and Cincinnati and had neighbors (very nice people) who migrated from Eastern Kentucky.  I did not follow Mr. Vance’s path into the Marines and Yale law school, but have done OK myself.

He both praises his family and friends for their dedication to family and faith and condemns them for their inability to pull themselves out of poverty and dependance as he managed to.  His book is often referenced by others as a way to understand and explain the Trump phenomenon being supported by people who are resentful of the coastal elite despite voting for people against their own interests.

It is a slim volume because while he recounts his rise and escape he does not fully explore the psychology of those he escapes from.  He sees them too simplistically and discounts their need for help by the very government they have been trained to dislike since the days of Reagan.  It reflects the propaganda that has been used to keep these people down and as loyal supporters of a group that will never truly help them.  While an interesting read I disagree with many of his premises.

Hillbilly Elegy

As always you can find more at and on Twitter @walterthinnes

TOMORROW: Me Incorporated

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