The Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series featuring bestselling author J.D. Vance discussing his memoir Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Aspen Institute Executive Vice President Elliot Gerson serves as moderator.
Watch the Discussion Live:
J.D. Vance is an investor, commentator, and author. Raised by his working class grandparents in Middletown, Ohio, J.D. graduated from Middletown High School in 2003 and then immediately enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. During his time in the Marines, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After graduating from college, he studied at Yale Law School and earned his law degree in 2013. After a stint at a large corporate law firm, J.D. moved to San Francisco to work in the technology industry. He serves as a principal at the leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Mithril Capital, cofounded by Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan. As an investor, J.D. has taken a special interest in the biotechnology industry and other transformative sectors of the economy. Recently, he joined Revolution LLC as an investment partner, where he will work on a national effort to raise awareness and attract venture capital to undeserved regions of the country.
J.D. continues to lecture and write on topics of public interest. In early 2017, he returned home to Ohio to found “Our Ohio Renewal,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the state’s opioid crisis and bringing high-quality employment and educational opportunities to Ohioans.
He regularly discusses politics and public policy on national networks, and has appeared on ABC, CBS, and Fox News. He currently serves as a contributor on CNN. J.D. lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, newborn son, and two dogs, where he works on his nonprofit and investment activities.
About Hillbilly Elegy:
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.