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J.D. Vance Books In Order

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Publication Order of Memoirs

Hillbilly Elegy (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

J.D. Vance
James David Vance was born (as James Donald Bowman) August 2, 1984 in Middletown, Ohio and is the son of Bev Vance and Donald Bowman. Vance is of Scots-Irish descent, his parents divorced when Vance was just a toddler. Shortly afterward, he was adopted by his mom’s third husband.

Both he and his sister were raised primarily by Bonnie and James Vance, his grandparents, whom they called “Mamaw and Papaw”. He later went by the name of James Hamel, his stepdad’s surname, until he adopted the surname of Vance in honor of his grandparents.

Vance was educated at Middletown High School. After he graduated, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps and served in the Iraq War as a combat correspondent with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, in support of Iraqi Freedom.

He studied philosophy and political science at Ohio State University, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. While he was at Ohio State, he worked for Bob Schuler, a Republican Ohio State Senator.

Then he earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School. During his first year at Yale, Amy Chua, his professor and author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, persuaded him to write his memoir. He credits Amy as the “authorial godmother” of his book.

Vance, after working for a corporate law firm, moved to San Francisco to work in the tech industry. He served as a principal at Mithrill Capital, Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm.

Vance returned to Ohio in order to found “Our Ohio Renewal”, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to addressing the opioid crisis in the state.

In 2017 he joined Revolution LLC, an investment firm founded by Steve Case (AOL co-founder) as an investment partner. Where he was tasked with expanding the Rise of the Rest initiative, which focuses on growing investments in under-served regions outside of the New York City and Silicon Valley tech bubbles.

Then in 2019, he co-founded Narya Capital in Cincinnati, with financial backing from Marc Andreesen, Thiel, and Eric Schmidt. He raised $93 million for the firm in 2020. Along with Thiel and ex-Trump adviser Darren Blanton, Vance has invested in Rumble, the Canadian online video platform and a right-wing alternative YouTube.

Since 2014, Vance has been married to Usha Chilukuri Vance. They have three children together. For much of his professional career, he and his family have lived in San Francisco, where they were active in community gardening.

He grew up in an evangelical, conservative branch of Protestantism, however by September of 2016, he was considering very seriously about converting to Catholicism however wasn’t an active participant in any religious denomination. And then in August of 2019, he was baptized and confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church in a ceremony at St. Gertrude Priory in Cincinnati, Ohio. Vance selected Augustine of Hippo for his confirmation name. He converted because he became persuaded over time that Catholicism was true, and described Roman Catholic theology’s influence on his political views.

“Hillbilly Elegy” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2016. This is a personal and passionate analysis of a culture in crisis: that of white working class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process which has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing alarm and frequency, however it has never been written about as searingly from the inside before. Vance tells the true story of what a regional, social, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck.

The Vance family story starts hopefully in postwar America. Vance’s grandparents were in love and dirt poor, and they moved from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping from the dreadful poverty all around them. They raised a middle class family, and eventually one of their grandkids graduated from Yale Law School, a conventional success marker in achieving generational upward mobility.

However while the family saga of the book plays out, we learn that Vance’s aunt, uncle, grandparents, sister, and, most of all, his mom struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle class life. Because they are never able to fully escape from the legacy of alcoholism, abuse, trauma, and poverty that is characteristic of their part of America. Vance, with piercing honesty, shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and its vividly colorful figures, this is the story about how upward mobility truly feels. And it’s an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a huge segment of this country.

Readers found this to be a very important, eye opening, and emotional book to read, and it gave them a new point of view to help people relate to others with similar stories. The book is a well written, thoughtful statement about our culture, where we’re presently at, how we got here, and where it is we could be going. It succeeds due to Vance’s own unique perspective, having seen the depths of family dysfunction and the heights of financial and professional attainment.

Fans of the book enjoyed its emotional and raw portrait of growing up and eventually out of a poor rural community that is riddled by instability and drug addiction.

“Hillbilly Elegy” was on the New York Times Best Seller list in 2016 and 2017. It won the 2017 Audie Award for Nonfiction and was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2017.

It was popularized due to an interview the author gave with the author that was published by The American Conservative in July of 2016. The volume of requests disabled the website briefly. Halfway through the next month, The New York Times wrote that the title had stayed in Amazon’s top 10 bestseller list since the interview’s publications.

Part of its widespread popularity following its 2016 publication was it purporting to explain why white working class voters became so attracted to Donald Trump as a political leader.

The book was adapted into a film that was directed by Ron Howard and starred Amy Adams and Glenn Close in 2020.

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One Response to “J.D. Vance”

  1. Jim Campbell: 1 week ago

    Great Book and a outstanding American

    Reply

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