Breaking the Watch: The Meanings of Retirement in Americaby Joel S. Savishinsky
This book follows women and men from a rural American community as/i>
The topic of retirement becomes increasingly compelling as the U.S. population ages. It's easy to find books about how to plan financially for those years after careers end, but Breaking the Watch focuses on the many ways of creating a life, not just making a living, as a retired person.
This book follows women and men from a rural American community as they approach and experience the first years of retirement. Joel Savishinsky focuses on the efforts people make to find meaning in a stage of life American culture often views in a confused or disdainful way.
In conversations and stories, 13 men and 13 women demonstrate a deep commitment to defining their own retirement. They bring to their mature years a diversity of backgrounds, interests, and responsibilities. They include former teachers, librarians, doctors, farmers, lawyers, bankers, mail carriers, and secretaries. Some are married, others divorced or single; many have children and grandchildren, but some have neither. Their finances run the gamut from the modest to the munificent, while their health ranges from robust to disabled.
From an examination of the "rites of passage" that marked their exit from full-time work, Breaking the Watch moves on to consider how to plan appropriately for retirement; renegotiate ties to friends, family, and community; and create a sense of passionbe it for t'ai chi, travel, painting, or politicsthat will drive a new sense of purpose. These intimate glimpses into real lives allow a rare understanding of the retirement process.
About the Author:
Joel S. Savishinsky is Charles A. Dana Professor in the Social Sciences, Department of Anthropology and the Gerontology Institute at Ithaca College. He is the author of several books, including The Ends of Time: Life and Work in a Nursing Home, winner of the Gerontological Society of America's Kalish Award for Innovative Publishing.
"This book. . . includes valuable information for younger (and older) readers, too. . . . The retirees studied here are thoughtful, often eloquent observers of their new position in life; their "voices" are vivid and enlightening. . . ."Mary Carroll, Booklist. October, 2000.
"This book is an excellent, well-researched volume. . . . the well-reasoned discussions and thoughtful portraits offered make this a worthwhile purchase for both academic and public libraries."Library Journal, October 1, 2000.
"Savishinsky brings his considerable research skills and experience with other projects on aging to bear on this essentially anecdotal study. . . . "Publishers Weekly, September 25, 2000.
"Savishinsky treats his readers to very compelling narratives of loss, insight, triumph, and disappointment, told in lovingly crafted prose, weaving the lives of his interviewees together as their own paths cross. His book is an ethnography of retirement but also a guide to doing it well."Steven M. Albert, Columbia University. Current Anthropology, Vol. 43, No. 2, April 2002
"The book is organized in a unique way. Each chapter (1-6) is prefaced by a conversation with a retiree and is followed by a set of life stories dealing with the same dilemma. This is where Savishinsky's strategy of letting the participants speak for themselves works superbly with the vivid and eloquent voices. . . Overall the book will be a good reader for anyonelay or expertwho is interested in aging and retirement."Shin-Kap Han, University of Illinois. American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 107, No. 2, September 2001
"This book shines with the earned dignity of those whose lives (and fate) it attentively and respectfully documents. Here, for all of us to understand, are the later years some Americans have taken onand here we learn of elderly resourcefulness, reflection, imagination, determination: life as it approaches the end becomes a spell of challengeof humanity affirmed, achieved."Robert Coles, Harvard University
"A splendid book for anyone planning or taking retirement. Breaking the Watch resonates with the lively voices, illuminating stories, and wisdom of men and women who've made the challenging transition from employment to retirement. Kudos to Joel Savishinsky for this unique guide to the art of living in retirement."Carl Klaus, author of Taking Retirement: A Beginner's Diary
"In his wonderful book, Breaking the Watch, Joel Savishinsky follows a group of women and men as they make the transition from work to retirement. Inspiring and sometimes heartbreaking, this book is an example of qualitative research at its best."Jill Quadagno, Florida State University
"Heads and shoulders above the many first-person how-to books about 'succeeding' at retirement, Breaking the Watch gives us a three-dimensional, rounded view of the retirement experience. I can't think of another book on retired life that comes close to this one."David J. Ekerdt, University of Kansas
"The portraits in Breaking the Watch are nuanced, intimate, and recognizable. They reflect not only the nature of retirement, but also the far larger issues of relationship and the quest for purpose in life. Joel Savishinky's book is lucidly written and compelling, a unique and invaluable work." Thomas Gregor, Vanderbilt University
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