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In Our Prime: The Invention of Middle Age Kindle Edition

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Length: 336 pages
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A lively, well-researched chronicle of the social and scientific forces that brought midlife America to its current befuddled state…”—Laura Shapiro, New York Times Book Review

“A brilliant, wide-ranging book…Cohen’s lively prose and thoughtful insights make this a joy to read.”—Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

In Our Prime is a fascinating study of this complex stage of life, a book whose appeal is likely to extend beyond the middle-age demographic to readers approaching or looking back on that key stage of life.”—Jerry Harkavy, Associated Press

“Very fine…lucid, straightforward and conversational… a thorough—and thoroughly fascinating—cultural history of aging.”—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

“A fascinating biography of the idea of middle age…solidly researched.”—Gail Sheehy, The New York Times

“With lively writing, astute observations, and extensive research, this cultural history looks well beyond cougars and Botox.”—Karen Holt, Oprah.com

“A thoroughly engaging cultural history…”—Christine Sismondo, Toronto Star

In Our Prime is a fascinating biography of the ‘idea of middle age’ in American society…Comprehensively researched…A thoughtful inquiry.”—Tom Lavoie, Shelf Awareness

“A comprehensive look at middle age through the eyes of scientists, historians, psychologists, medical doctors, marketers and many more.”—Julie Carl, Winnipeg Free Press

“Witty and engaging…this comprehensive and entertaining social history highlights the possibilities of the middle years—and shows how middle age reflects the attitudes and customs of each generation that passes through it.”Publishers Weekly

Review

“A lively, well-researched chronicle of the social and scientific forces that brought midlife America to its current befuddled state…”—Laura Shapiro, New York Times Book Review

“A brilliant, wide-ranging book…Cohen’s lively prose and thoughtful insights make this a joy to read.”—Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

In Our Prime is a fascinating study of this complex stage of life, a book whose appeal is likely to extend beyond the middle-age demographic to readers approaching or looking back on that key stage of life.”—Jerry Harkavy, Associated Press

“Very fine…lucid, straightforward and conversational… a thorough—and thoroughly fascinating—cultural history of aging.”—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

“A fascinating biography of the idea of middle age…solidly researched.”—Gail Sheehy, The New York Times

“With lively writing, astute observations, and extensive research, this cultural history looks well beyond cougars and Botox.”—Karen Holt, Oprah.com

“A thoroughly engaging cultural history…”—Christine Sismondo, Toronto Star

In Our Prime is a fascinating biography of the ‘idea of middle age’ in American society…Comprehensively researched…A thoughtful inquiry.”—Tom Lavoie, Shelf Awareness

“A comprehensive look at middle age through the eyes of scientists, historians, psychologists, medical doctors, marketers and many more.”—Julie Carl, Winnipeg Free Press

“Witty and engaging…this comprehensive and entertaining social history highlights the possibilities of the middle years—and shows how middle age reflects the attitudes and customs of each generation that passes through it.”Publishers Weekly

Product Details

  • File Size: 2227 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (January 10, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 10, 2012
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004T4KX5U
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,671 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Patricia Cohen has been an editor and reporter at The New York Times for more than 13 years. Previously she worked at The Washington Post, Rolling Stone Magazine and Newsday. She graduated from Cornell University and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. She grew up in New York City, attended public school and learned to ride a bicycle in Flushing Meadow Park. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and child.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne M. Haws on January 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This comprehensive view of middle age is an excellent history of middle age -- and explains how it has changed over the years, especially the changes created by feminism, and medical advances. What's especially interesting is the fact that middle age didn't even exist until the end of the 19th century -- and yet, so much marketing is directed toward "helping" us middle-agers "cope" with our aging. I found Cohen's data explaining how rich and enjoyable middle age is -- and busting so many of the myths around "mid-life crises" and marriage dissolutions, etc -- to be comforting and, in the case of me and many of my friends, very rewarding. Her descriptions of the "Midlife Industrial Complex" - and how much companies prey on our insecurities by marketing "youth" to us was especially interesting. All in all, a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Renee M. Groth on April 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is informative and insightful, chocked full of studies and well documents the evolution of the middle-aged concept. The US Census Bureau defines middle-age falling between 45 and 64 years of age. In Our Prime looks at how that definition came to be and how it affects how we currently live our lives.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Horsekeeping on February 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Cohen gives middle agers a gift - room to roam out of the wretched trope of what used to be seen as 'the stage before one dies when everything falls apart'. At 52 I felt pressured, or even destined to feel that sorry way, but do not. "In Our Prime" confirms that, to some extent, youth is wasted on the young. As I tell my kids, I would not go back to where they are for a minute. I am now in control of my life, have true friends who know me well, know myself and my likes and dislikes, understand my strengths and weaknesses (the real ones - not the ones you invent on your first resume), and possess the psychic energy to build upon this foundation so laboriously laid in earlier years. The wisdom that comes with all that living is a prize worth indulging and celebrating, not a curse to endure or dread. Ms Cohen deconstructs the "invention" and gives chase to the mythology that WAS "middle age." Bravo!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fwabesq on February 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a 52 year old female, I found Patricia Cohen's book-In Our Prime, The Invention of Middle Age-to be eminently readable and, more importantly, extremely relevant to the place and time I find myself in at this stage of my life. I found her research into the middle aged brain and the connection between cognitive ability, aging and emotional resilience, to be particularly compelling. Creating a positive sense of the future and the world of possibilities open to us is inspirational and makes this book a must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jacqueline Marcell on February 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a member of the class of Middle Age Americans, I looked forward to this book and was not disappointed. I found it to be well researched and presented. I enjoyed comparing myself to other members via the startling statistics--and I gained valuable insight into our society.

-Jacqueline Marcell, Author 'Elder Rage, or Take My Father... Please! How to Survive Caring for Aging Parents', International Speaker on Eldercare & Alzheimer's
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Format: Hardcover
As a reviewer of many book about midlife, I have seen it all, but nothing like this master work by Patricia Cohen. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, I am learning so much about American social history through this book. If you would like to learn the previously untold history of the concept of being "middle aged" in America, and its surprising journey through popular culture, this book is for you! As the self-proclaimed "Midlife Crisis Queen," I have learned so much about the beginnings of the idea of "midlife" in America. Thanks Patricia!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert H on August 18, 2012
Format: Audible Audio Edition
I read this book soon after re-reading The Feminine Mystique (although I am happily a woman of a later era having been born in the 60s) and realized I felt the same shock of recognition and delight reading this book that women of that era must have felt when reading that book. I am now 50, happy, feel healthy, but aware that society does not necessarily regard me as valuable and robust as when I was much less happy, fulfilled, and competent in my 20s and 30s. I loved this book! It is a fascinating cultural and social history of views about Middle Age. As important, the book is full of readable, fascinating accounts of recent research that dispels many of the myths about middle age. I am now sending this book to all my friends and urging this on acquaintances. This is a must-read book. Engaging, insightful, and inspiring. Hooray! I want more books like this!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I step away from reading a book and can say that I learned something fundamental about an important subject that I didn't really understand before, I feel that I've received a good return on my investment of time. That was the case for me with "In Our Prime: The Invention of Middle Age"

"In Our Prime" is an extremely well researched exploration of our notion of midlife and how these ideas have evolved from mere anecdote in the 19th century (most creative work is done before the age of 40) to the first long term research projects which didn't take place in earnest until the turn of the 21st century.

Ms. Cohen's research into the neuroscience of aging was one of the most fascinating aspects of the book for me. It offered fresh insights into the neuroplasticity of the brain and how we can choose to write new chapters in our lives well into what had previously been thought of as the dawn of "old age."

I also liked the fact that she resisted the temptation to "preach" her own points of view but relied instead on meticulous research to make her points. While allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions.
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