New Passages

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Millions of readers literally defined their lives through Gail Sheehy's landmark bestseller Passages. Seven years ago she set out to write a sequel, but instead she discovered a historic revolution in the adult life cycle. . .
People are taking longer to grow up and much longer to die. A fifty-year-old woman—who remains free of cancer and heart disease— can expect to see her ninety-second birthday. Men, too, can...

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New Passages

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Millions of readers literally defined their lives through Gail Sheehy's landmark bestseller Passages. Seven years ago she set out to write a sequel, but instead she discovered a historic revolution in the adult life cycle. . .
People are taking longer to grow up and much longer to die. A fifty-year-old woman—who remains free of cancer and heart disease— can expect to see her ninety-second birthday. Men, too, can expect a dramatically lengthened life span. The old demarcations and descriptions of adulthood—beginning at twenty-one and ending at sixty-five—are hopelessly out of date. In New Passages, Gail Sheehy discovers and maps out a completely new frontier—a Second Adulthood in middle life.
"Stop and recalculate," Sheehy writes. "Imagine the day you turn forty-five as the infancy of another life." Instead of declining, men and women who embrace a Second Adulthood are progressing through entirely new passages into lives of deeper meaning, renewed playfulness, and creativity—beyond both male and female menopause. Through hundreds of personal and group interviews, national surveys of professionals and working-class people, and fresh findings extracted from fifty years of U.S. Census reports, Sheehy vividly dramatizes these newly developing stages. Combining the scholar's ability to synthesize data with the novelist's gift for storytelling, she allows us to make sense of our own lives by understanding others like us.
New Passages tells us we have the ability to customize our own life cycle. This groundbreaking work is certain to awaken and permanently alter the way we think about ourselves.
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
"AN OPTIMISTIC ANALYSIS OF ADULT DEVELOPMENT IN PESSIMISTIC TIMES. . . It is grounded in the economic and psychological realities that make adult life so complex today."
—The New York Times Book Review

Sequel to author's Passages/describes a revolution in middle life--"Second Adulthood" allowing a customized life cycle.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345404459
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 174,701
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Gail Sheehy
An award-winning journalist, Gail Sheehy caused a sensation in the 1970s with Passages -- a look at the aging process that became an instant icon and cottage industry. In 2003, Sheehy's Middletown, American offered a poignant portrait of how one small town grieved and grew from the 9/11 tragedy.


Bestselling author and cultural observer Gail Sheehy has changed the way millions of people throughout the world look at their lives. Her original landmark work, Passages, made history, remaining on The New York Times bestseller list for more than three years and appearing in 28 languages. A Library of Congress survey named Passages one of the ten most influential books of our time.

In other recent bestsellers, New Passages and Understanding Men's Passages, Sheehy revisited the stages of adult life and mapped out a completely new frontier -- Second Adulthood. In The Silent Passage, Sheehy broke the taboo surrounding menopause and opened a dialogue vital to maturing women's health. The book presents a common-sense approach for managing the 20-year transition from early peri-menopause to the lengthened stage of post-menopause. She culminated a decade of Hillary-observing with the biography, Hillary's Choice, soon to be a two hour movie on A&E. Exploring the life of one of the nation's most intriguing women, Sheehy raises fundamental questions for every woman juggling career, family and personal ambition.

Sheehy's next book will be about a whole new universe of lusty, liberated women over 50 and their experiences in sex, love, dating, new dreams, marriage, and remarriage. It will be published by Random House in early 2006.

A graduate of the University of Vermont, Sheehy received a graduate fellowship to Columbia University where she studied under anthropologist Margaret Mead, who became her mentor. As a literary journalist, she was one of the original contributors to New York magazine. A contributing editor to Vanity Fair since 1984, she won the Washington Journalism Review Award for Best Magazine Writer in America for her in-depth character portraits of national and world leaders.

Sheehy is a seven-time recipient of the New York Newswomen's Club Front Page Award for distinguished journalism, most recently for her 2001 Vanity Fair article "September Widows." The American Psychological Association recently presented a presidential citation to Sheehy for "her unique ability to combine journalism and psychology." Other honors include the National Magazine Award, the Penny-Missouri Journalism Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Race Relations (which she earned for her book, Spirit of Survival). She is one of the founders of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, and recently launched a Writing Scholars Community for re-entry students at the University of California, Berkeley. For more information on Sheehy, please visit her website:

Sheehy resides in New York and California.

Biography courtsy of the author's official web site.

Good To Know

Sheehy is the mother of two daughters: Maura, a psychologist and writer, and Mohm, an artist and art therapist.

Some of her favorite activities include writing plays, playing with her grandson Declan, and traveling with her husband, Clay Felker, professor at the Felker Magazine Center at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York City and Berkeley, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 27, 1937
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Vermont; M.A., Columbia School of Journalism

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 26, 2012

    I'm not alone in this.

    The best part of Gail's book is the presentation of her extensive research that lets us breathe a sigh of relief. We are not alone in our journey to evolve into our best self. Someone said, Change is the only constant. Gail shows us how we are doing that, even against our will. Terrific info, good read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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