Let's face it. This country has a problem with old people. They're all too often isolated or shut away into rest homes. Most younger folk don't want...more Let's face it. This country has a problem with old people. They're all too often isolated or shut away into rest homes. Most younger folk don't want to hang out with them and the media doesn't speak for them, unless it's a matter of buying the next wonder pill. This book has been whiling away on a shelf in our bookshop for a year now. No one wants to buy it, because they think reading about 100-year-people must be unbearably boring. It's a shame, because this is an excellent little book. Written by a splendid lady from Arizona, the individuals depicted herein are all people you'd love to sit and have a coffee with. They've got wonderful stories to tell and many of them still approach life with vigor, curiosity, and style. The tale of Clyde Ice is almost worth the book by itself. After a life of adventure, he celebrated his 100th by bagging a moose and taking a flight in his plane. Bit of an overachiever. :)
The book also talks about the social and psychological challenges of living to an advanced age. The sad truth is that many people die of loneliness.. all their contemporaries are gone and no one comes to visit.
As for tips on how to have a long life, genetics are important, but many of the people in this book have a certain plucky resilience, sometimes even feistiness. Speaking of the latter, the photo of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, savior of the Everglades, is worth a thousand words. Viva Marjorie, Clyde, and company, and kudos to Lynn for writing this book.(less)
First published in the 60s when the word "freak" had attained a different meaning, this book covers an important subject. It may not be even close to...moreFirst published in the 60s when the word "freak" had attained a different meaning, this book covers an important subject. It may not be even close to politically-correct by our standards, but any discomfort we feel as readers should not keep us from discovering these people's amazing lives. How our culture treats outsiders, whether their differences are physical or otherwise, tells us a great deal about our own humanity. I refuse to look away from people who have accomplished so much with almost unimaginable challenges, simply because I have minor disagreements with the author's impersonal tone. If you'd like to read more about the individual stories of these people, something with a less scientific and more compassionate slant, then try Frederick Drimmer's Very Special People.(less)
The first two books in Daniel Boorstin's Knowledge Trilogy, The Discoverers (about science) and The Creators (about art), are both outstanding example...moreThe first two books in Daniel Boorstin's Knowledge Trilogy, The Discoverers (about science) and The Creators (about art), are both outstanding examples of comprehensive history done well. They're weighty books, but the fascinating information and engaging writing do much to offset their intimidating girth.
This third volume and final volume, The Seekers, is half their size and unfortunately about half as interesting. (Granted, Boorstin's a very interesting writer, so half as interesting in a Boorstin book is still more than interesting than most). Never-the-less The Seekers reads more like an afterthought.
The first part of the book covers the Hebrew prophets, Greek philosophy, and Christianity. The second part is mainly about politics and the dynamic thinkers in that area, and the last bit leans more toward sociology. Most of the individual chapters are engrossing, though there are a few sections that lose momentum. In addition, transitions between different subjects are not as smooth as in the other books. The religious portions don't quite glide smoothly into the philosophical portions, and the general theme of the book seems slightly ambiguous.
Still, the Knowledge Trilogy is like a trip through a sumptuous library with the benefit of a savvy, witty tour guide who knows all the books by heart. The Seekers is the weakest entry, but would still brighten anyone's bookcase. (I just can't help but wish there were more historians with the ambition and the voluminous erudition to write stuff like this.) (less)
This is a marvelous introduction to a diverse group of spectacularly long-lived individuals. These folk are proof that old age doesn't have to be a lo...moreThis is a marvelous introduction to a diverse group of spectacularly long-lived individuals. These folk are proof that old age doesn't have to be a long painful drudge into that good night. Far from it! I'm in my 30s and most of the people I talk to think of old age as a mixed-up amalgamation of silliness the TV has fed them, a collage of rest home dreariness, life insurance ads tinged with melancholy resignation, and of course, tons of tons of pharmaceutical-shilling. This not an accurate picture.
Thankfully, Steve Franklin and Lynn Peters Adler are helping to even the balance by introducing us to centenarians who are still having fun, still learning new things, and most importantly failing to "act their age". They are young where it matters, keeping positive outlooks and remaining curious and enthusiastic about where life takes them. And they are mature where it matters, filled to the brim with over a century of valuable real world experience. In today's society where old-fashioned common sense is rare and dearly-needed, books like this will always come in handy. It's full of great advice. Utilize it. You will meet some wonderful people in the process.(less)