They’re all right. Having read the book, though, the thing that sticks out is that it’s only, maybe, ten percent of the book that’s dedicated to arch-conservative diagnosis and its rehashing of the Moynihan Report with the characters swapped out. Reading it made me wonder why: did Vance really write this detailed memoir just to serve as the toast on which his stupefying reckons are the butter? The connection between the two faces of this book - the mostly interesting, blow-by-blow account of a childhood, and the uninteresting generalizations - are so thin that they feel like pieces of separate works, sewn together at the last moment.
Vance’s half-baked excuses for racists and self-reliance recommendations for the poor don’t merit another dissection. This book escapes the single-star rating because its autobiography was interesting to me. But if you’re interested in what’s going on with whiteness, read Settlers instead.