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University of Wisconsin–Madison

About the Book

Photo of Hillbilly Elegy book cover

2017-2018 GO BIG READ
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
By J. D. Vance

A personal reflection on upward mobility in America seen through the lens of a white, working-class family in the Midwest. The common-reading program aims to engage students, faculty, staff and the entire community around issues that matter from a range of perspectives.

About the author

J.D. Vance grew up in the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and served in Iraq. A graduate of the Ohio State University and Yale Law School, he has contributed to the National Review and The New York Times and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC.

Access to Copies of the Book

There are many ways to access a copy of this academic year’s book, Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance.

Library Copies:

Student Copies:

  • First-Year Students who wish to participate will get free copies. Copies will be available following the Chancellor’s Convocation at the Kohl Center. Any First-Year Student not attending Convocation can pick up a copy at the Center for the First Year Experience Office.
  • Students enrolled in courses that are using the book will get free copies.

University Community Copies:

  • Campus and community bookstores offer the title for purchase (many at a discounted rate).

Alternative Format Books:


For those participating in Go Big Read programming who have a documented print-related disability, if you would like an accessible PDF version, please contact the Go Big Read Program.