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New Passages: Mapping Your Life Across Time [Paperback]

By Gail Sheehy (Author)
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Item description for New Passages: Mapping Your Life Across Time by Gail Sheehy...

Explores radical changes that occur at every stage in one's life, describes the Second Adulthood that takes place during middle age, and explains how to make the most of this time of life

Publishers Description
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 The old demarcations and descriptions of adulthood--beginning at twenty-one and ending at sixty-five--are hopelessly out of date.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

Citations And Professional Reviews
New Passages: Mapping Your Life Across Time by Gail Sheehy has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 154
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 123

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ballantine Books
Pages   498
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.2" Width: 5.5" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 1996
Publisher   Ballantine Books
ISBN  0345404459  
ISBN13  9780345404459  

Availability  0 units.

More About Gail Sheehy

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bestselling author and cultural observer Gail Sheehy made history with the publication of Passages, which was an international bestseller, appearing in twenty-eight languages. She followed up with The Silent Passage, New Passages, and Understanding Men's Passages. Sheehy is also the author of Hillary's Choice, a biography of Hillary Clinton, and Middletown, America, about a New Jersey town devastated by the World Trade Center attack. A contributing editor to Vanity Fair since 1984, Sheehy is the recipient of the Washington Journalism Review Award for Best Magazine Writer in America.

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From the Hardcover edition.

Gail Sheehy currently resides in the state of California.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > General
2Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Mental Health > Emotions
3Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Personal Health > Aging > General
4Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Personal Health > Aging
5Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Personal Health > Men's Health > General
6Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Personal Health > Men's Health
7Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling > Developmental Psychology
8Books > Subjects > Parenting & Families > Aging Parents > Aging

Reviews - What do customers think about New Passages?

Life begins at fifty  Nov 11, 2007
This is an excellent book by a talented writer with the purpose of telling people that, after the age of 50 "there is a lot more time left than they think." (page 273). Many will find it enjoyable and helpful. The advice given, such as "the secret to the search for meaning is to find your passion and pursue it," may be inspirational for some readers (and I'm not knocking that) but is too vague and generic for its utility to be testable.
The following criticisms concern the work's scientific methodology and may not be relevant to its literary merits. I think it falls short of being a useful text for students of gerontology. The basic idea is similar to that of Erik Erikson and Vaillant (two authors whom any professional in the field SHOULD read, although they have their faults). They believe that, just as there are identifiable stages in childhood, such as learning to walk and talk and completing school, there are stages in adult life. Shakespeare also had the same idea with his seven ages of man (in "As You Like It" I think).
One of the problems with identifying such stages is the wide degree of variation. Children learn to walk and talk at fairly definite ages, and failure to reach these milestones on time is a red flag for the parents or pediatrician. Things are less definite in adults. One age-related change, for example, is male hair loss. This is definitely age-related, but may start at 30, or not be evident after 70. Some workers retire at 50, and some never do. Some couples have an empty nest at 40, and some never have a full one. Alzheimer's disease (which the book barely mentions) can hit at 60 or never.
Sheehy's methodology was to obtain census data and to meet with focus groups and administer questionnaires and conduct interviews with a large number of subjects recruited by word of mouth and advertising. This can be a useful way of getting preliminary data on something that has never been studied before, but it means that she did not get a valid population sample. One example of biased sampling is that her "Vietnam Generation" contained not a single Vietnam veteran. She says that the characteristic effect of the war was to make men stay in graduate school. The validation and reliability testing of the questionnaires is not described. Memory was not tested.
Some of her biological/medical data are inaccurate. (Obviously everyone SHOULD read my "The Psychiatry of Stroke" about the effects of testosterone levels etc} To some extent this reflects the 1995 publication date, which preceded Prozac and Viagra.
Helps you understand yourself, your parents, your friends  Aug 9, 2005
The most interesting section of this book for me was right at the beginning where she describes the "endangered generation," those born from 1966-1980. While, I don't usually like to be called endangered, I could completely relate to the description of the troubles our generation is going through- how we have it worse off financially than our parents did in their twenties, and how that explains why we are floating in this in-between stage. This is happening just at the developmental stage in our lives when we'd feel a lot better if we had more financial freedom and didn't have to ask our parents for help. The stresses of dating, not being able to afford more than a cheap apartment (or worse- having to move back in with our parents), and being educated but in a competitive job market, take their toll. At this age, our parents were already married, owned their own home, and had a stable job. So things have changed a lot, and it helps to know that! It frees you to accept society as it is today and make the most of it. She ends the section with a positive prediction that our generation, expecting the least out of life after our disappointing start at adulthood, will end up very successful and appreciating what we have more than other generations. Sheehy is very insightful.
Mapping this book against time  Oct 21, 2003
Conceptually excellent, but a dismally dreary read.

Ever been at a cocktail party where you meet someone who tells an interesting story, but takes half an hour to do it, because of all the needless peripheral information. Sheehy personified. She fails to hold my attention with tediously drawn-out examples which lack pith and focus. An good editor would halve the length and double the value. The content is not bad, it just takes so damn long to get to the point.

Very Ameri-centric.

New Passages Really Helped  Sep 1, 2003
I found Sheehy's second "Passages" book almost as good as the first. As an aging baby boomer, the issues of recharting my life direction at middle age has been daunting to say the least. Second Passages provided the structure for this process. I also suggest "The Second Journey" by T. Athey as another good book - more focus on the issues of the Baby Boomer generation.


Our beliefs shape our future....  May 7, 2000
"New Passages" gave me added enthusiasm as well as an explanation for what I, a woman at age 50, am feeling and experiencing. How wonderful that I am metamorphosing into a "second adulthood!" That the last few years of culling out what I don't want to do are leading towards a powerful purpose: living the rest of my life with ever-greater meaning and enjoyment. As with "The Silent Passage," which has given so many men and women a healthier perspective of menopause, "New Passages" has helped define a brighter and more exciting future for all of us who are growing into our 50'and beyond. Even my 86 year old mother understands better where she has been in her "2nd adulthood," enabling her to define the significance of her continuing just live in integrity and serve as an example for all those around her. Sheehy quoted research which shows that our genetic heritage profoundly affects us until 60-65....but, after that, what we think and beleve is what most profoundly affects how well we live. As in golf, "the game" is controlled by the 6" between our ears....

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