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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book describes how society impacts the aging process, taking both a micro and macro perspective to better understand how people negotiate the various age-related stages. The previous edition was published in 2006.
Purpose: According to the authors, "our original and continued purpose in writing this book has been to provide a new type of textbook on the social aspects of human aging — one that is neither encyclopedic in its coverage of research findings nor overly weighted down with jargon."
Audience: It is intended for both undergraduate and graduate courses. Leslie A. Morgan is associate dean at the Erickson School of Aging Studies at the University of Maryland, and Suzanne R. Kunkel is the director of Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University.
Features: The book begins with a discussion of physical aging, psychological aging, and social aging (social meaning). The authors also discuss population aging through population pyramids (age/sex structure), dependency ratios, and aging index. Much time is spent describing aging within a social context, especially in the family. How people deal with work and retirement is an important issue, though many are finding the need to work until they are much older. Global aging is an important topic, and the book explores this issue in China, Germany, and Kenya. Finally, the book discusses the baby boomer generation and how they are aging, as well as policy issues in the future. The chapters are organized fairly uniformly with text, summary, Web Wise (relevant websites), key terms, and questions for thought and discussion. Wonderful exhibits help clarify the text, as do the "applying theory" shaded boxes. Particularly helpful are the "Questions for Thought and Discussion" at the end of each chapter.
Assessment: The book is easy to read and will pique the interest of undergraduates. Professors can easily have the class read through this book in one quarter or semester. The fourth edition was necessary to incorporate new material and updates because there has been a great deal of research in the intervening five years.