J.D. Vance is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. His first-hand account of growing up in the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky, offers insights into challenges faced by many Americans today. Vance overcame a troubled past to serve in the Marine Corps in Iraq, graduate from Ohio State University, and earn a degree from Yale Law School.
As Mr. Vance explains in the introduction to Hillbilly Elegy:
“I grew up poor, in the Rust Belt, in an Ohio steel town that has been hemorrhaging jobs and hope for as long as I can remember. I have, to put it mildly, a complex relationship with my parents, one of whom has struggled with addiction for nearly my entire life. My grandparents, neither of whom graduated from high school, raised me, and few members of even my extended family attended college.”
“I want people to know what it feels like to nearly give up on yourself and why you might do it. I want people to understand what happens in the lives of the poor and the psychological impact that spiritual and material poverty has on their children. I want people to understand the American Dream as my family and I encountered it. I want people to understand how upward mobility really feels.”
Since publishing Hillbilly Elegy, Mr. Vance has contributed to the National Review and the New York Times, and has served as a commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, and CNBC. His TED talk has reached nearly one million views.
Vance recently returned to Ohio with his wife and two dogs, where he plans to start a nonprofit organization to focus on the opioid addiction crisis.
J.D. Vance will be speaking at:
Closing General Session and Luncheon
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