J. D. Vance cover

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J. D. Vance

American author

1984   -  

country of citizenship: United States of America
language of expression: American English
educated at: Ohio State University, Yale Law School
occupation: writer, venture capitalist, pundit

James David Vance (born James Donald Bowman; August 2, 1984) is an American author and venture capitalist known for his memoir Hillbilly Elegy. The book is about the Appalachian values of his upbringing and their relation to the social problems of his hometown. The book was on The New York Times Best Seller list in 2016 and 2017. It was a finalist for the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize. It attracted significant attention during the 2016 election from national media as a window into the white working class. In addition to the popular attention and critical acclaim the book received, it also provoked criticism from Appalachians who argued that Vance was not an authentic hillbilly or representative of the white working class. These critics allege that in Vance's book the author misleadingly conflates the experience and identity of his hillbilly grandparents, with whom he spent some summers as a boy, with his own. Other critics supported Vance's claims to represent this culture.Politically, Vance identifies as a social conservative who is nevertheless critical of the contemporary Republican Party's policies, particularly on economic policy, where he argues the Republican platform favors the interests of the wealthy at the expense of the working class. In 2019, Vance converted to Catholicism in a Baptism ceremony attended by various conservative intellectuals, including Rod Dreher. In an interview with Dreher after the ceremony Vance said he converted because he "became persuaded over time that Catholicism was true," and described Catholic doctrine's influence on his political views.
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