In Our Prime: The Invention of Middle Age

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Simon and Schuster, Jan 10, 2012 - Psychology - 306 pages
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From the New York Times reporter whose beat is culture and ideas comes a fascinating, revelatory, and timely social history of the concept of middle age. For the first time ever, the middle-aged make up the biggest, richest, and most influential segment of the country, yet the history of middle age has remained largely untold. This important and immensely readable book finally fills the gap. In Our Prime is a biography of the idea of middle age from its invention in the late nineteenth century to its current place at the center of American society, where it shapes the way we view our families, our professional obligations, and our inner lives. Patricia Cohen ranges over the entire landscape of midlife, exploring how its biological, psychological, and social definitions have shifted from one generation to the next. Middle age has been a symbol both of decline and of power and wealth. Explaining why, Cohen takes readers from early-twentieth-century factories that refused to hire middle-aged men to twenty-first-century high-tech laboratories where researchers are currently conducting cutting-edge experiments on the middle-aged brain and body.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ChristineEllei - LibraryThing

The term “middle age” is an invention of our modern world and the definition changes according to the normal expected life span of adults. In generations when 60 year-olds were considered well-aged ... Read full review

IN OUR PRIME: The Invention of Middle Age

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

New York Times culture reporter Cohen looks at how the concept of middle age has changed from the 1860s, when it was first recognized as a discrete period of adult development, to the present day.To ... Read full review


The Prime Meridian
Now and Then
The Tick of the Time Clock
The Renaissance ofthe MiddleAged
The MiddleAged Body
Middle Age Enters the Modern Age
Middle Age Under the Microscope
The MiddleAged Brain
Middle Age Medicine
Middle Age Sex
Complex Accomplices
The Arrival of the Alpha Boomer
In Our Prime
Selected Bibliography

Consuming Desire

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About the author (2012)

Patricia Cohen has been a New York Times reporter for thirteen years. She has also worked at The Washington Post, New York Newsday, and Rolling Stone. She has a BA from Cornell University and a graduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

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