- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 49 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HarperAudio
- Audible.com Release Date: June 28, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01EM4ZJBO
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
While ostensibly about the particular culture of the West Virginia Scots-Irish underclass, anyone that has seen white poverty in America's flyover states will recognize much of what is written about here. It is a life on the very edge of plausibility, without the sense of extra-family community that serves as a stabilizing agent in many first-generation immigrant communities or communities of color. Drugs, crime, jail time, abusive interactions without any knowledge of other forms of interaction, children growing up in a wild mix of stoned mother care, foster care, and care by temporary "boyfriends," and in general, an image of life on the edge of survival where even the heroes are distinctly flawed for lack of knowledge and experience of any other way of living.
This is a story that many of the "upwardly mobile middle class" in the coastal areas, often so quick to judge the lifestyles and politics of "those people" in middle America, has no clue about. I speak from experience as someone that grew up in the heartland but has spent years in often elite circles on either coast.
Two things struck me most about this book.
First, the unflinching yet not judgmental portrayal of the circumstances and of the people involved. It is difficult to write on this subject without either glossing over the ugliness and making warm and fuzzy appeals to idealism and human nature, Hollywood style, or without on the other hand descending into attempts at political persuasion and calls to activism. This book manages to paint the picture, in deeply moving ways, without committing either sin, to my eye.Read more ›
He writes very directly and honestly about the problems with white, working class America and why it is in decline. While part of the problem is societal, he believes there is an internal problem that government cannot do anything about. He suggests that tribalism, mistrust of outsiders and "elites," violence and irresponsibility among family members, parents without ethics and a sense of responsibility, terrible work ethics, and an us-against-them mentality is dooming the people who live that way to becoming poorer, more addicted, and more marginalized. Excellent book and very thought-provoking.
"People sometimes ask whether I think there’s anything we can do to “solve” the problems of my community. I know what they’re looking for: a magical public policy solution or an innovative government program. But these problems of family, faith, and culture aren’t like a Rubik’s Cube, and I don’t think that solutions (as most understand the term) really exist.....Public policy can help, but there is no government that can fix these problems for us....I don’t know what the answer is, precisely, but I know it starts when we stop blaming Obama or Bush or faceless companies and ask ourselves what we can do to make things better."
That about sums it up.
The book was spot on and I highly recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A heartbreaking story of a part of America that is either unknown or ignored by those of us on the East and West coasts. Read morePublished 13 minutes ago by Bert Carelli
In light of high expectations Mr Trump brings, understanding the challenge may be instructive to all Americans. Read morePublished 34 minutes ago by Elizabeth
This book would be good for people to read who do not understand the blue collar white group in America. But they won't.Published 1 hour ago by clark
Tough language and probably a general summary of many migrant people from the mountains of Appalachia but not a totally true story of the peoples of this area. Read morePublished 2 hours ago by Mary Kominowski
The book was very informative & insightful to some of the problems today. Found it a little tedious at the beginning but as the story progresses I realized the need for the... Read morePublished 2 hours ago by K. R. maffe
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