MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — A new book is offering some deeply personal insights into the struggling white working class in the Appalachian region and Rust Belt mill towns.
Author J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” provides a vivid tour of the stark world he grew up in, set mainly in the Ohio city of Middletown that was hit hard by its dominant steelmaking company’s decline, but also in his family’s home eastern Kentucky hills region.
Vance says wealthy New York businessman Donald Trump appeals to these communities with his unscripted style and emotionally connects to their feeling that America’s best days are behind.
Vance is drawing national attention to the need for new policy approaches in such communities. He credits positive reaction to an honest, sometimes painful, but passionate, look at his family and neighbors.