Aging in America: A Cultural History

Aging in America: A Cultural History

by Lawrence R. Samuel


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Aging in America: A Cultural History by Lawrence R. Samuel

Aging is a preoccupation shared by beauty bloggers, serious journalists, scientists, doctors, celebrities—arguably all of adult America, given the pervasiveness of the crusade against it in popular culture and the media. We take our youth-oriented culture as a given but, as Lawrence R. Samuel argues, this was not always the case. Old age was revered in early America, in part because it was so rare. Indeed, it was not until the 1960s, according to Samuel, that the story of aging in America became the one we are most familiar with today: aging is a disease that science will one day cure, and in the meantime, signs of aging should be prevented, masked, and treated as a source of shame.

By tracing the story of aging in the United States over the course of the last half century, Samuel vividly demonstrates the ways in which getting older tangibly contradicts the prevailing social values and attitudes of our youth-obsessed culture. As a result, tens of millions of adults approaching their sixties and seventies in this decade do not know how to age, as they were never prepared to do so.

Despite recent trends that suggest a more positive outlook, getting old is still viewed in terms of physical and cognitive decline, resulting in discrimination in the workplace and marginalization in social life. Samuels concludes Aging in America by exhorting his fellow baby boomers to use their economic clout and sheer numbers to change the narrative of aging in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812248838
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date: 02/01/2017
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Lawrence R. Samuel is founder of Boomers 3.0, a consultancy dedicated to helping organizations create meaningful relationships with baby boomers in their third act of life. He is also author of several books, including Freud on Madison Avenue: Motivation Research and Subliminal Advertising in America, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

1 Old in the Country of the Young 11

2 The De-Aging of America 35

3 The Aging of Aquarius 60

4 The Perpetual Adolescent 87

5 The Silver Tsunami 111

6 Raging Against Aging 136

Conclusion 161

Notes 167

Selected Bibliography 189

Index 195

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