Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
© J.D. Vance

By Ron Shoop

Whether or not you made it to today’s IEB workshop How to Talk to Trump Supporters, if you have little contact with people outside our Bay Area progressive bubble, you’ll want to read J.D. Vance’s book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.

Vance’s firsthand descriptions of chronic poverty, rampant substance abuse, domestic violence, and a pervasive hybrid of personal grievance and internalized disentitlement, are analytical masterpieces. While the book does not discuss politics, it fleshes out a picture of many of the real people who delivered several states to Trump.

Elegy serves as a powerful eye-opener for 2018 and beyond, including explaining why so many head to the polls to vote against their self-interest. And Vance’s deeply compassionate tone also serves to bridge polarizing Us vs. Them rhetoric.

Looking for other books or articles? Check out the Resistance Manual’s essential reading list. Want to tell fellow IEB’ers about a great book? Please leave a comment.

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