From the New York Times reporter whose beat is culture and ideas
comes a fascinating, revelatory, and timely social history of the
concept of middle age. For the first time ever, the middle-aged make up
the biggest, richest, and most influential segment of the country, yet
the history of middle age has remained largely untold. This important
and immensely readable book finally fills the gap.
In Our Prime is
a biography of the idea of middle age from its invention in the late
nineteenth century to its current place at the center of American
society, where it shapes the way we view our families, our professional
obligations, and our inner lives. Patricia Cohen ranges over the entire
landscape of midlife, exploring how its biological, psychological, and
social definitions have shifted from one generation to the next. Middle
age has been a symbol both of decline and of power and wealth.
Explaining why, Cohen takes readers from early-twentieth-century
factories that refused to hire middle-aged men to twenty-first-century
high-tech laboratories where researchers are currently conducting
cutting-edge experiments on the middle-aged brain and body.