Just finished this book to try to understand the mentality that elected a Trump. It’s a great read. What I took away is that the white working class in the South and Rust Belt feels like their problems have been both ignored and unaddressed by the government for two generations. Where Vance surprised me more was that he does not think government can or should solve the problem of lack of jobs, single parent families, addiction, etc. He espouses an ethic of taking personal responsibility to lift oneself up, like his grandparents did when they left Kentucky to find a better life and job working for the steel company in Ohio. He also credits his grandparents for saving him and taking care of him since his biological dad left him and his mom was too messed up to care for him often. That care gave him the confidence to enlist in the Marines and then apply to college. To break the negative cycle you need love and support but also courage to take necessary chances.
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