J.D. Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, has an interesting story. He grew up poor, in a Rust Belt town in the Midwest, joined the Marines, and later graduated from Yale Law School.
Slater felt compelled to reach out when he noticed that Vance, like his own Tennessee-born wife, refers to his grandmother as 'Mamaw.' Vance's Mamaw played a big role in shaping Vance's views as he grew up.
Mamaw pointed out something important about identity, particularly her eastern Kentucky "hillbilly" identity, and that moment was the beginning of a on-going, life-long reflection on what exactly that hillbilly identity meant to him.
So why 'elegy,' as opposed to 'eulogy,' in reference to the book title? How did fellow Yale students react to Vance's past as Marine? And what does the "elite class" not understand about middle-class folks?
Slater and Vance cover these questions and more, listen below!