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Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age

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Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Susan Jacoby, an unsparing chronicler of unreason in American culture, now offers an impassioned, tough-minded critique of the myth that a radically new old age — unmarred by physical or mental deterioration, financial problems, or intimate loneliness — awaits the huge baby boom generation. Combining historical, social, and economic analysis with personal experiences of love and loss, Jacoby turns a caustic eye not only on the modern fiction that old age can be “defied” but also on the sentimental image of a past in which Americans supposedly revered their elders.

Never Say Die unmasks the fallacies promoted by twenty-first-century hucksters of longevity — including health gurus claiming that boomers can stay “forever young” if they only live right, self-promoting biomedical businessmen predicting that ninety may soon become the new fifty and that a “cure” for the “disease” of aging is just around the corner, and wishful thinkers asserting that older means wiser.

The author offers powerful evidence that America has always been a “youth culture” and that the plight of the neglected old dates from the early years of the republic. Today, as the oldest boomers turn sixty-five, it is imperative for them to distinguish between marketing hype and realistic hope about what lies ahead for the more than 70 million Americans who will be beyond the traditional retirement age by 2030. This wide-ranging reappraisal examines the explosion of Alzheimer’s cases, the uncertain economic future of aging boomers, the predicament of women who make up an overwhelming majority of the oldest — and poorest — old, and the illusion that we can control the way we age and die.

Jacoby raises the fundamental question of whether living longer is a good thing unless it means living better. Her book speaks to Americans, whatever their age, who draw courage and hope from facing reality instead of embracing that oldest of delusions, the fountain of youth.

Review:

"'I am about to present a portrait of advanced old age,' Jacoby (The Age of American Unreason) warns, 'that some will find too pessimistic and negative.' Her portrait of the emotional, physical, fiscal, and mental problems debunks popular myths about life in our 80s and 90s, 'the worst years of lives.' Jacoby locates American youth culture from colonial days, when, in 1790, 'only about 2 percent were over sixty-five.' By 2000, those over 65 were 12.4%, thanks to modern medicine and the benefits to well-being coincident to the economic prosperity of the 1950s and '60s. Jacoby cautions that marketing has deceived the public by suggesting that 'cures for mankind's most serious and frightening diseases are imminent and that medical reversal or significant retardation of aging itself may not be far behind.' As she attends to the 'genuine battles of growing old,' Jacoby is both moving and informative about Alzheimer's costs to the psyche and the purse of sufferer and caretaker, and eye-opening as she reframes impoverished old women as 'a women's issue.' She raises timely and 'uncomfortable questions about old age poverty, the likelihood of dementia, end-of-life care, living wills, and assisted suicide.' (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"In Never Say Die, Susan Jacoby confronts the unhappiest of truths: many of us will live too long — both for our own good and for the good of others. This is the darkness that looms over us at the intersection of medical ethics, social justice, economics, and our midnight fears. Never Say Die is a beautifully written, clear-eyed, and deeply compassionate book." Sam Harris, author of The Moral Landscape and The End of Faith

Review:

"For those of us who are old, Susan Jacoby's candor about old age is bracing; for those not yet old, Never Say Die should provide an unsentimental education for the years to come." Philip Roth

Review:

"Susan Jacoby, a sworn enemy of irrationality of every form, has some shockingly bad news: We will all die, and most of us will get old first — not 'older' but actually old. In this beautifully crafted book, she punctures the promises that aging will eventually be 'cured' either by a wonder drug or though positive thinking. The good news is that if we wake up from our delusions we may be better able to grow old with dignity." Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

Synopsis:

Jacoby raises the fundamental question of whether living longer is a good thing unless it means living better. Her book speaks to Americans, whatever their age, who draw courage and hope from facing reality instead of embracing that oldest of delusions, the fountain of youth.

Synopsis:

From the author of the best-selling The Age of American Unreason: an impassioned, closely reasoned critique of the myth that a radically new old age — unmarred by physical and mental infirmity, financial problems, or loneliness& mdash; awaits the baby-boom generation.

In a narrative that combines the intensely personal with social, economic, and historical analysis, Susan Jacoby turns an unsparing eye on the marketers of longevity — pharmaceutical companies, lifestyle gurus, and scientific businessmen who suggest that there will soon be a “cure” for the “disease” of aging. She separates wishful hype from realistic hope in a wide-ranging appraisal of subjects that include the explosion of Al­zheimer’s cases, the impact of possible cuts in Social Security on the economic future of aging boomers, and the fact that women make up most of the “oldest old.” Finally, Jacoby raises the fundamental question of whether living longer is a desirable thing unless it means living better, and she considers the profound moral and ethical concerns raised by increasing longevity.

Never Say Die is a lucid, provocative, and powerful argument that Americans, no matter their age, are doing themselves no favor by buying into the myth that they can stay "forever young."

Synopsis:

The author of the best-selling The Age of American Unreason presents an impassioned critique of modern practices by pharmaceutical companies, lifestyle gurus and scientific businessmen who are promoting morally questionable and expensive illusions of thriving longevity. 75,000 first printing.

About the Author

Susan Jacoby is the author of nine books, most recently The Age of American Unreason, Alger Hiss and the Battle for History, and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism. She writes The Spirited Atheist blog for On Faith, a website sponsored by The Washington Post. She lives in New York City. For more information, visit www.susanjacoby.com.

Table of Contents

Never say old — Youth culture : an american tradition — Boomers : age-defying denial — Miracles of modern medicine and other half-truths — A mind is a terrible thing to lose — Women : eventually, the only sex — "Greedy geezers" and other half-truths — The "wisdom of old age" — Endings — The ethics of longevity : an argument in search of facts — Necessary bedfellows : bridges between generations old-age autonomy.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307379603
Subtitle:
The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age
Publisher:
Pantheon Books
Author:
Jacoby, Susan
Subject:
Social Science : Gerontology
Subject:
Social Science : Death & Dying
Subject:
Gerontology
Subject:
Death & Dying
Subject:
Older people - United States -
Subject:
Old age -- United States.
Subject:
American Studies-General
Subject:
Business - General
Subject:
Health and Medicine-Aging
Subject:
Sociology-Aging
Subject:
NEWARRIVAL-HIST/SOC
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20110201
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
332

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Sociology » Aging
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 332 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780307379603 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'I am about to present a portrait of advanced old age,' Jacoby (The Age of American Unreason) warns, 'that some will find too pessimistic and negative.' Her portrait of the emotional, physical, fiscal, and mental problems debunks popular myths about life in our 80s and 90s, 'the worst years of lives.' Jacoby locates American youth culture from colonial days, when, in 1790, 'only about 2 percent were over sixty-five.' By 2000, those over 65 were 12.4%, thanks to modern medicine and the benefits to well-being coincident to the economic prosperity of the 1950s and '60s. Jacoby cautions that marketing has deceived the public by suggesting that 'cures for mankind's most serious and frightening diseases are imminent and that medical reversal or significant retardation of aging itself may not be far behind.' As she attends to the 'genuine battles of growing old,' Jacoby is both moving and informative about Alzheimer's costs to the psyche and the purse of sufferer and caretaker, and eye-opening as she reframes impoverished old women as 'a women's issue.' She raises timely and 'uncomfortable questions about old age poverty, the likelihood of dementia, end-of-life care, living wills, and assisted suicide.' (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "In Never Say Die, Susan Jacoby confronts the unhappiest of truths: many of us will live too long — both for our own good and for the good of others. This is the darkness that looms over us at the intersection of medical ethics, social justice, economics, and our midnight fears. Never Say Die is a beautifully written, clear-eyed, and deeply compassionate book."
"Review" by , "For those of us who are old, Susan Jacoby's candor about old age is bracing; for those not yet old, Never Say Die should provide an unsentimental education for the years to come."
"Review" by , "Susan Jacoby, a sworn enemy of irrationality of every form, has some shockingly bad news: We will all die, and most of us will get old first — not 'older' but actually old. In this beautifully crafted book, she punctures the promises that aging will eventually be 'cured' either by a wonder drug or though positive thinking. The good news is that if we wake up from our delusions we may be better able to grow old with dignity."
"Synopsis" by , Jacoby raises the fundamental question of whether living longer is a good thing unless it means living better. Her book speaks to Americans, whatever their age, who draw courage and hope from facing reality instead of embracing that oldest of delusions, the fountain of youth.
"Synopsis" by , From the author of the best-selling The Age of American Unreason: an impassioned, closely reasoned critique of the myth that a radically new old age — unmarred by physical and mental infirmity, financial problems, or loneliness& mdash; awaits the baby-boom generation.

In a narrative that combines the intensely personal with social, economic, and historical analysis, Susan Jacoby turns an unsparing eye on the marketers of longevity — pharmaceutical companies, lifestyle gurus, and scientific businessmen who suggest that there will soon be a “cure” for the “disease” of aging. She separates wishful hype from realistic hope in a wide-ranging appraisal of subjects that include the explosion of Al­zheimer’s cases, the impact of possible cuts in Social Security on the economic future of aging boomers, and the fact that women make up most of the “oldest old.” Finally, Jacoby raises the fundamental question of whether living longer is a desirable thing unless it means living better, and she considers the profound moral and ethical concerns raised by increasing longevity.

Never Say Die is a lucid, provocative, and powerful argument that Americans, no matter their age, are doing themselves no favor by buying into the myth that they can stay "forever young."

"Synopsis" by , The author of the best-selling The Age of American Unreason presents an impassioned critique of modern practices by pharmaceutical companies, lifestyle gurus and scientific businessmen who are promoting morally questionable and expensive illusions of thriving longevity. 75,000 first printing.
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