J. D. Vance

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J. D. Vance
Vance in 2017
Born James Donald Bowman
(1984-08-02) August 2, 1984 (age 33)
Middletown, Ohio
Citizenship American
Education Middletown High School, Ohio
Alma mater
Occupation Venture Capitalist, Author, Commentator
Employer Mithril Capital Management LLC
Known for Commentary on Rural sociology, poverty, Hillbilly culture
Notable work Hillbilly Elegy
Political party Republican[1]
Spouse(s) Usha Vance
Website www.jdvance.com

James David "J. D." Vance[2][3] (born James Donald Bowman;[4] 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,[5] it attracted significant attention during the 2016 election from national media[6][7] as a window into the white working class. Vance attracted criticism from some Eastern Kentuckians who said he was "not a hillbilly",[8] while others supported him.[9]

Early life[edit]

James David Vance was born in August 1984 in Middletown, Ohio, as James Donald Bowman,[4] the son of Donald Bowman and Bev Vance. His sister, Lindsay, was born when his mother was nineteen years old, his father left his mother, a nurse, and started a new family.[4] Vance's mother struggled with a heroin and opioid addiction throughout his childhood, he was raised primarily by his grandparents. [10] [11] [12]


Vance was educated at Middletown High School,[13] a public high school in his home town, after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps[14] and served in Iraq.[15] Vance later graduated from Ohio State University, a public university in Columbus, Ohio.[16] While he was at Ohio State, he worked for Republican state senator Bob Schuler.[17]

After Ohio State, Vance attended Yale Law School, during his first year at Yale, his mentor and professor, Amy Chua convinced him to write his memoir. [18]

Life and career[edit]

After law school, Vance worked as the principal in a venture capital firm owned by Peter Thiel,[1] known as Mithril Capital Management LLC.[19] In December 2016, Vance indicated that he plans to move to Ohio to start a nonprofit and potentially run for office[20] and work on drug addiction,[3] the non-profit is called Our Ohio Renewal.[21]

In January 2017, Vance became a CNN Contributor;[22] in April 2017, Ron Howard signed on to direct a movie based on Hillbilly Elegy.[23]

After considering a bid for U.S. Senate as a Republican, Vance decided in September 2017 not to run.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Vance is married to one of his former law school classmates, Usha, an Indian-American woman who is a law clerk to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, the couple has one son, Ewan, born on 4 June, 2017. [25]


JD Vance (June 2016). Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Harper Press. ISBN 9780062300546. 


  1. ^ a b Heller, Karen. "'Hillbilly Elegy' made J.D. Vance the voice of the Rust Belt, but does he want that job?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  2. ^ "Summary - Hillbilly Elegy: By James David Vance - A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis". GoodReads.com. Retrieved May 10, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Heller, Karen. "'Hillbilly Elegy' made J.D. Vance the voice of the Rust Belt, but does he want that job?". The Washington Post. 
  4. ^ a b c "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis". Enotes.com. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  5. ^ Dayton Literary Peace Prize. http://www.daytonliterarypeaceprize.org/
  6. ^ Rothman, Joshua. "The Lives of Poor White People". The New Yorker. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  7. ^ SENIOR, JENNIFER. "Review: In 'Hillbilly Elegy,' a Tough Love Analysis of the Poor Who Back Trump". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  8. ^ Kiser, Brandon. "Author too removed from culture he criticizes". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  9. ^ Miles, StefanieRose. "Author J.D. Vance does have hillbilly cred — like it or not". Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance review – does this memoir really explain Trump's victory?". 7 December 2016 – via www.theguardian.com. 
  11. ^ "The Lives of Poor White People". 12 September 2016 – via www.thenewyorker.com. 
  12. ^ "'Hillbilly Elegy' Recalls A Childhood Where Poverty Was 'The Family Tradition'". NPR. 17 August 2016. 
  13. ^ Michael D. Clark (March 10, 2017). "Middletown native J.D. Vance's book started with simple question". JournalNews.com. Retrieved May 10, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Former Marine J.D. Vance's 'Hillbilly Elegy' Will Be Made into a Movie". Military.com. Retrieved July 27, 2017. 
  15. ^ https://www.ted.com/speakers/jd_vance
  16. ^ "J.D. Vance to Speak About Memoir Hillbilly Elegy Feb. 2". Yale Law School. January 27, 2017. Retrieved May 10, 2017. 
  17. ^ Vance, J. D. (2017). Hillbilly Elegy. London, U.K.: William Collins. p. 181. ISBN 9780008220563. OCLC 965479512. I took a job at the Ohio Statehouse, working for a remarkably kind senator from the Cincinnati area named Bob Schuler. He was a good man, and I liked his politics, so when constituents called and complained, I tried to explain his positions. 
  18. ^ "How the 'Tiger Mom' Convinced the Author of Hillbilly Elegy to Write His Story". The Atlantic. June 7, 2016. 
  19. ^ Sarah McBride (January 20, 2017). "Peter Thiel's Mithril Capital Raises $850 Million VC Fund". Bloomberg Technology. Retrieved May 10, 2017. 
  20. ^ Hohmann, James. "The Daily 202: Why the author of 'Hillbilly Elegy' is moving home to Ohio". The Washington Post. 
  21. ^ Our Ohio Renewal http://ourohiorenewal.com/
  22. ^ A. J. Katz (Jan 17, 2017). "CNN Strengthens its Roster of Commentators and Contributors". AdWeek.com. Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  23. ^ Reed, Ryan. "Ron Howard to Direct, Produce 'Hillbilly Elegy' Movie". RollingStone. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  24. ^ Ball, Molly. "'Hillbilly Elegy' Writer Won't Seek Office". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-09-15. 
  25. ^ Ferenchik, Mark (July 31, 2017), J.D. Vance draws crowds, and questions about political future, The Columbus Dispatch