Book Recommendation Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
This book at the very least reminds us that the pathologies some attribute to inner-city black folks are just as prevalent in the white underclass as well. Dr. Thomas Sowell, in his great essay, “Black Rednecks and White liberals” says that the inner-city culture of violence, sensitivity about honor, lack of a work ethic, non-marital births and drug/alcohol addiction is not a black culture, but one freed slaves picked up from the poor southern whites they associated with about ablution. The culture Vance comes with has all of these. This book should especially be read by policy makers, social workers and other mental health professionals. Vance’s mother was a drug addict and since I have a stepdaughter, 43, who has been on and off heroin and hasn’t had a full-time job in 20 years, I understand the situation more than most. Vance was lucky in that he was very bright, which gave him a path out. But he made the decision, when he decided he wasn’t ready for college, to join the Marine Corps, and there received the priceless gifts of self-discipline and self confidence. As a fellow graduate of the Parris Island Finishing School, I have had a long, happy and successful life, because I received the same gifts. Vance went on to get a degree from Ohio State and a law degree from Yale. He details how his background help him back, and how he overcame it with the help of the woman, a fellow student, who became his wife. He doesn’t think the situation can ever be eliminated, but has sensible policy suggestions for mitigating it. This book is highly readable and well worth your time. Semper Fidelis, Brother. Congratulations on your accomplishments.