Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-1364-7 • Hardback • February 2013 • $135.00 • (£104.00)
978-1-4422-1365-4 • Paperback • February 2013 • $46.00 • (£35.00)
978-1-4422-1366-1 • eBook • February 2013 • $43.50 • (£33.00)
Margaret Cruikshank is retired from the women’s studies program and the graduate faculty of the University of Maine. She continues as a faculty associate of the Center on Aging.
1: Cultural Myths and Aging
2: Fear of an Aging Population
3: Sickness and Other Social Roles of Old People
4: Overmedicating Old Americans
5: Healthy Physical Aging
6: The Politics of Healthy Aging
7: Gender, Class, Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation
9: Countercultural Gerontology
10: A Feminist’s View of Gerontology and Women’s Aging
Conclusion: The Paradoxes of Aging
About the Author
Doug Kimmel, writing in the Division 44 Newsletter, Society for the Psychological Study of
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues, a division of the American Psychological Association: This third edition of Cruikshank's widely-used text makes two main points: 'The first is that aging in North America is shaped more by culture than biology, more by beliefs, customs, and traditions than by bodily changes. In other words, it is socially constructed. The second is that awareness of social constructions and resistance to them is crucial for women's comfortable aging.' She develops these two themes while making significant important points about countercultural gerontology and presents a feminist's view of aging. . . . This book is a useful tool to challenge student thinking about conventional views of aging and to help them broaden their horizons about ethnicity, race, class, sexual orientation, and aging from the standpoint of an old lesbian who is not about to go quietly into that good night.
— Division 44 Newsletter, American Psychological Association
Compared to traditional aging texts, Learning to Be Old is superior in that it conveys a critical point of view that is rarely present in most texts.
— Catherine S. Murray, Saint Joseph's University
This book is unique, in that it 'gets at' the socially-constructed nature of aging better than any other book I've worked with. Cruikshank does a particularly good job of examining and discussing these differences as they relate to the experience of aging.
— Jan Burhmann, Illinois College
A compelling book that reminds us, among other things, that 'the personal is political' when we study women and aging.
— Terri Promo, University of Cincinnati
Cruikshank's writing is accessible and timely; she expertly shows how 'old' is a socially scripted reality in an ageist society.
— Meika Loe, Colgate University; author of Aging Our Way: Independent Lives, Interdependent Realities
Learning to Be Old is a book as bold as its title. I have tremendous gratitude for the way Margaret Cruikshank rescues readers from societally induced self-blame. She sends us on our way better able to spend our final decades in informed, conscious, and competent ways, resisting the forces that discount us, but never discounting the reality of aging itself. Cruikshank is a welcome author for people who want to get beyond Hallmark simplicities and be accompanied honestly through the aging process by a vibrant scholar and staunch ally.
— Peggy McIntosh, associate director, Wellesley College Center for Research on Women and author of "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"
Hard-hitting, crystal-clear, packed with information and zesty quotations, Learning to Be Old deserves its popularity. It is the best introduction to age at the intersections – gender, race, class, sexuality – that a general reader could want. It uncovers a wide range of urgent issues – the minefields of American ageism that younger people need to know about before they get there.
— Margaret Morganroth Gullette, Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University; author of Agewise: Fighting the New Ageism in America
In Learning to be Old, Margaret Cruikshank successfully “imagines new ways of understanding and experiencing late life,” with a substantial amount of supporting data. Throughout the book, Cruikshank is attentive to aging as an individual, cultural, and intersectional experience. She considers how age interacts with diversities of race and ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and bodily ability. This edition’s organized, compact sections make the information accessible to general readers. In the classroom, each section is sure to generate discussion. This book presents well-documented evidence about the ways in which people are schooled in aging, and discusses the many benefits that can come from changing how people learn to be old.
— Leni Marshall, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Stout
Praise from a previous edition: One of [the book's] strengths is its weaving of themes from different fields and disciplines. . . . Another is in presentation-it is informative, lively, and well researched.
— Journal of Women & Aging
Praise from a previous edition: A valuable book on aging. Scholarly and well-documented.
— The Senior Times
Praise from a previous edition: Compressing a significant amount of important information on issues of race, gender, social class, economics, and ethnicity, Cruikshank has created a readable book on the general theme of gerontology. The current research, theories, and practices outlined by Cruikshank will give readers of all ages insights into 'learning to be old.' An extensive bibliography is provided for further study. Essential.
— Choice Reviews
Praise from a previous edition: Learning to Be Old is a nice text for both the graduate and undergraduate levels, either in courses on the sociology of aging or in women's studies courses to provide a feminist perspective on aging.
— The Gerontologist
Praise from a previous edition: This text is such a gem that it is tempting to quote from it non-stop.
— Canadian Woman Studies
Praise for the first edition: In her excellent book, Learning to Be Old, Margaret Cruikshank compares the aged to a 'colonized people', suggesting that ageism goes beyond dehumanization into actual scapegoating of the old.
— The New York Times
The major contribution may be her analysis of the potential negative effects of women's family roles and her suspicion that grandmothers are being exploited. [This book] raises a number of important questions.
— Journal of Marriage and Family
In the third edition, the last two chapters are reorganized: humanistic gerontology and critical gerontology are now in chapter 9, with a new title, “Countercultural Gerontology.” New material has been added on Alzheimer’s disease, the brain, mind-body connections, narrative gerontology, and the feminist concept of intersectionality. Research published since 2010 has been summarized throughout.