Brian Martin is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He is the author of Scientific Knowledge in Controversy: The Social Dynamics of the Fluoridation Debate also published by SUNY Press, The Bias of Science; Uprooting War; Social Defence, Social Change; and coeditor of Intellectual Suppression: Australian Case Histories, Analysis and Responses.
"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist
"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal
"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported 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.
The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.
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.
Barry Barnes takes the classic writings in the sociology of knowledge – by Marx, Lukács, Weber, Mannheim, Goldmann, Habermas and others – and uses them as resources in coming to grips with what he regards as the currently most interesting and significant questions in this area. This approach reflects one of the principal themes of the book itself. Knowledge, it is argued, is best treated as a resource available to those possessing it. This is the best perspective from which to understand its relationship to action and its historical significance; it is a perspective which avoids the problems of holding that knowledge is derivative, as well as those generated by the view that knowledge is a strong determinant of consciousness. the result is an unusual textbook, particularly valuable when read in conjunction with the original works it discusses.