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‘Hillbilly Elegy’ explains poor, white politics

“Hillbilly Elegy” isn’t a political book per se. It is “a memoir of a family and a culture in crisis.” But the bestseller by J.D. Vance offers insights into political attitudes of white working-class Americans, and in particular, those of my tribe.

Vance, a former Marine and Yale Law graduate with Scots-Irish roots in Eastern Kentucky, recollects growing up poor in Middletown, Ohio, where his papaw and mamaw moved as teenagers from Jackson, Ky., because Armco Steel offered good jobs for mountain migrants.

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