One Read Program

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

by J. D Vance


In the practice of law it is important for attorneys to be exposed to and aware of aspects of the world beyond their own daily experiences. To facilitate this understanding, and also to strengthen our community at Hulston Hall, Mizzou Law started a One Read program four years ago. Law students, staff, and faculty are invited to read a particular book that relates to law, the legal profession, or legal education, and touches on important issues of the moment. We believe that a One Read program strengthens our community within Hulston Hall by providing a focus for conversations and events within the law school. Over the past several years, our attention has been drawn to events around the U.S. to issues of race and the experience of “otherness.”  These issues reflect the challenges of seeing the world from another’s perspective – an imperative skill in the practice of law. Over the past few years, our One Read books have included Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II by Richard Reeves, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

The title for the 2019-20 academic year will be Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance, a graduate of Yale Law School. This book is about Vance’s tumultuous childhood in Appalachia, “surviving his mother’s drug addiction and a long series of hapless stepfathers” in a family where poverty “is the … tradition.” According to a New York Times book review, Vance offers “a compassionate, discerning sociological analysis of the white underclass that has helped drive the politics of rebellion.” The book also is controversial and provocative, assigning significant responsibility to his ‘hillbilly kin’ and their culture for their misfortunes.

Read More!

Mizzou Law faculty, staff, and students nominated many wonderful books for the One Read program. If you want to read more on this topic, don’t look any further for some excellent titles. You’ll find the finalists the committee considered on the top tab and the entire list of nominated titles on the second tab.

Access the Book

There are several ways you can access the book:

  • You can find a used copy here; links to buy a new copy can be found here.
  • Borrow it from our Law Library: The Law Library has acquired multiple copies of Hillbilly Elegy. Incoming 1L students may not yet be entered as borrowers in the library’s system, but will be issued a courtesy borrowing card if necessary in order to check out this book. Please contact Tamara Guilford-Davis guilforddavist@missouri.edu for assistance.
  • Find it at a library near you: You can find local public and academic libraries that have the title.