Indiana freshman Jim Banks plays English teacher monthly for his staffers.
The Banks office reads the same book each month and gathers to discuss. On May 25, the Republican office chatted about by “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance, before the congressman headed to the airport for recess.
During the 2016 election, Vance’s book was acclaimed as the book that explained the Donald Trump phenomenon and his supporters. It was published in June 2016.
“Now, along comes Mr. Vance, offering a compassionate, discerning sociological analysis of the white underclass that has helped drive the politics of rebellion, particularly the ascent of Donald J. Trump,” the New York Times wrote in August.
But, Banks said it didn’t make sense to him why it was the political book of 2016. For him, it was personal.
Growing up, his grandparents lived in the same Eastern Appalachian Kentucky county as Vance’s grandparents. The book club turned into an opportunity for Banks to teach his staff about his background and the social dynamic of his family.