HILLBILLY ELEGY – A memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance

December 10th, Saturday 2016

“If you believe that hard work pays off, then you work hard; if you think it’s hard to get ahead even when you try, then why try at all? Similarly, when people do fail, this mind-set allows them to look outward. I once ran into an old acquaintance at a Middletown bar who told me that he had recently quit his job because he was sick of waking up early. I later saw him complaining on Facebook about the “Obama economy” and how it had affected his life. I don’t doubt that the Obama economy has affected many, but this man is assuredly not among them. His status in life is directly attributable to the choices he’s made, and his life will improve only through better decisions. But for him to make better choices, he needs to live in an environment that forces him to ask tough questions about himself. There is a cultural movement in the white working class to blame problems on society or the government, and that movement gains adherents by the day.”
J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

“What separates the successful from the unsuccessful are the expectations that they had for their own lives. Yet the message of the right is increasingly: It’s not your fault that you’re a loser; it’s the government’s fault.”

J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

“There is no group of Americans more pessimistic than working-class whites. Well over half of blacks, Latinos, and college-educated whites expect that their children will fare better economically than they have. Among working-class whites, only 44 percent share that expectation.”
J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

“Barack Obama strikes at the heart of our deepest insecurities. He is a good father while many of us aren’t. He wears suits to his job while we wear overalls, if we’re lucky enough to have a job at all. His wife tells us that we shouldn’t be feeding our children certain foods, and we hate her for it—not because we think she’s wrong but because we know she’s right.”

J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Excellent book – Vance writes about the problems of the white lower economic class of America. He comes off very direct and honest in telling his tale of growing up in Kentucky and Ohio. I think it is one thing to research an area or class in the United States but quite another to actually have lived it as a kid. The book helped me to get a better understanding of the problems facing lower social economic status whites. Joblessness, divorce, substance abuse, poverty, etc.… these issues are a fact of everyday life for the characters in the book. Working where I do I have some understanding of these issues but at the same time I did not appreciate some of the finer details. And how these issues change people’s beliefs and attitudes. This book is a must read for those who want to better understand the issues that surround this group in America. It is available at Amazon for about 12.25 in paperback.


The picture below is from skiing at A-Basin last Monday 12/5 – the snow is finally starting to fall!!

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