As I said, I have returned South. Vance’s about his story about his family’s move from Appalachian Kentucky to Ohio and his eventual graduation from Yale Law School is well written. Along with his personal tale of a family torn by poverty, drugs, violence, and abuse, he quotes studies about the economic and sociological/psychological factors involved. In his grandparent’s exodus from Appalachia and his escape from a life of drugs and social services to the Marines, I hear a familiar trajectory. He loses me when he speaks with academic authority and begins to prescribe for the health of the Appalachia he no longer embraces. He looks back from his position as an investor in a leading venture capital fund and, unfortunately, predicts and prescribes about the elements needed for upward mobility (or escape) in government policy and personal values. Along the way, he has pissed a lot of people off.
Check out the post in the Bitter Southerner, “A Letter to Our Young Folk”.