Books of 2021: Hillbilly Elegy

JD Vance’s book about his broken Appalachian family may be remembered as the last good and honest thing Vance ever did for his country. It is difficult today to separate the author of this book from the politician, but separate it we must.

Without claiming for the memoir any academic merit, nor confirming Vance’s implication that his family’s story was exemplary of white poverty, his book helped me see and understand the dire cycle into which poverty pulls its victims. I suspect I am not alone, and for that, the book deserves to be recognized and a renewed effort to address poverty in America at its uncomfortable roots begun.

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