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Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates
Crippled America,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
Fire and Fury,
by Michael Wolff (2018)
Trump Revealed,
by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher (2016)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2016)
Promise Me, Dad ,
by Joe Biden (2017)
The Book of Joe ,
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
The Truths We Hold,
by Kamala Harris (2019)
Smart on Crime,
by Kamala Harris (2010)
Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
Where We Go From Here,
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
Our Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
This Fight Is Our Fight,
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
by Cory Booker (2016)
Conscience of a Conservative,
by Jeff Flake (2017)
Two Paths,
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
Every Other Monday,
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
Courage is Contagious,
by John Kasich (1998)
Shortest Way Home,
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Higher Loyalty,
by James Comey (2018)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Higher Loyalty ,
by James Comey (2018)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

Hillbilly Elegy
A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

by J. D. Vance

(Click for Amazon book review)

OR click on an issue category below for a subset.

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

Author J. D. Vance hesitates to call his Hillbilly Elegy a "memoir" although it's billed as "a memoir of a family and culture in crisis." Published at the age of 31, his major accomplishments in life up until that point were surviving his "hillbilly" family, four years in the Marines, and three years at Yale Law School. Yet that's the point of the book: he did survive, not only despite his circumstances but because of them.

At the time of its initial publication in 2016 it was taken by many as a way to understand the election of Donald Trump--whom Vance did not vote for--because in telling the story of his family he also tells of how changing economic circumstances led to working class disillusionment. The lost of good-paying manufacturing jobs pulled the rug out from many, who were then open to a populist message about how out of touch the "elites" who were running everything were from the rest of the country.

In a telling example he discusses how housing policies to encourage homeownership--promoted under both Democratic and Republican administrations--had unintended consequences. When the factories closed or moved away homes supported by that industry decreased in value making it difficult if not impossible to sell. [p. 52] While recognizing the importance of the social safety net, he warns that it also supports those content to life on the dole, increasing the cynicism of the taxpaying workers who are footing the bill. [p.139-140] The book has taken on new interest not only because of a 2020 Netflix film adaptation from director Ron Howard, but because in 2021 Vance has thrown his hat in the ring for the open U.S. Senate seat in Ohio. Vance now says he voted for Trump in 2020 and has walked back earlier criticism of him (not in the book).

Hillbilly Elegy is more autobiography than policy prescription, although both supporters and opponents reading it will glean some of his mostly conservative views along the way.

-- Daniel M. Kimmel, OnTheIssues editor, July 6, 2021

[This review is based on the 2018 trade paperback edition.]
 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)

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The above quotations are from Hillbilly Elegy
A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

by J. D. Vance
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