Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance details the author’s stormy journey up the “hillbilly highway” from the Kentucky’s coal-country to the declining Rust Belt to the Ivy League. Born into a poor Scots-Irish family—with a pill-addicted mother and “revolving door of father figures”—Vance was raised in Ohio by his beloved and newly middle-class grandparents. The story does more than celebrate his breakout. Vance tries to make sense of how a culture fell into ruin. In so doing, he covers ground previously explored by Joe Bageant’s Deer Hunting with Jesus (also at the Nichols Library).
Quotable"No place is as totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest." - Lady Bird Johnson