James David Vance will be discussing his latest, bestseller 2016 novel, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis on March 9 at 7 p.m. at Miami University Middletown in the Dave Winkelman Auditorium. This is a free event hosted by the Alex and Lena Casper Memorial.
Vance grew up in what he calls the “Rust Belt” of Middletown, OH after leaving the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. He describes Middletown as a town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class.
According to his website, Hillbilly Elegy is a “passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside.”
It’s been reported that Vance “tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.”
The Vance family story begins in postwar America. His grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. “They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild.”
The description of the book continues to note, “Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.”
After he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in Iraq. He later graduated from Ohio State University and Yale Law School.
Tickets are free but a ticket is required for the event. Contact Miami University Middletown for more information and how to obtain or sign up for tickets.
This event will conclude with a book signing. Vance’s book will be available for purchase at this time. It can also be purchased prior to the event on Amazon and other sites where bestsellers are sold.