From The New Yorker on J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy:
"It’s true that, by criticizing 'hillbilly culture,' 'Hillbilly Elegy' reverses the racial polarity in our debate about poverty; it’s also true that, by arguing that the problems of the white working class are partly 'cultural,' the book strikes a blow against Trumpism. And yet it would be wrong to see Vance’s book as yet another entry in our endless argument about whether this or that group’s poverty is caused by 'economic' or 'cultural' factors. 'Hillbilly Elegy' sees the 'economics vs. culture' divide as a dead metaphor—a form of manipulation rather than explanation more likely to conceal the truth than to reveal it. The book is an understated howl of protest against the racialized blame game that has, for decades, powered American politics and confounded our attempts to talk about poverty."
I'm not sure I understand why so many think this book is so significant (e.g. "You will not read a more important book about America this year." --Economist; "Never before have I read a memoir so powerful, and so necessary." --Reihan Salam), nor, on the other hand, do I understand the fierce criticism it has received. Thoughts? A review may be forthcoming.