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New Passages

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Enormous changes have taken places in the adult life cycle. Young people are waiting until their 30s to marry and start families, men and women in their 40s and 50s feel ten years younger, more women are having children in their 40s or over, 50-year-old men are increasingly being forced into early retirement, and healthy men and women who reach 50 can expect to see their 80th or 90th birthdays - which means they have a "Second Adulthood" to think about and plan. This book addresses the new dilemmas and demands people of each generation face as they pass beyond middle age. It dramatizes the radical changes in all phases of adult life through personal histories and group interviews, attitudinal surveys of professional and working-class people, and findings extracted from 50 years of US Census reports. This edition draws on in-depth British research from MORI and Demos, interviews with British men and women, and analysis from commentators, incuding Anthony Sampson and Hamish McRae. This book forms the sequel to Sheehy's previous book "Passages".
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The author's previous blockbuster, Passages (LJ 5/15/76), introduced us all to the term "midlife crisis." In this sequel, Sheehy takes us beyond the midlife crisis to examine later life stages, with a short update on young adulthood in the 1990s. In a few ways, this is a better book than its predecessor. Sheehy pays closer attention to the influence of history on the life course of individuals. She also addresses the main criticism that social scientists have made of her work‘that large-scale studies have shown no evidence that most people go through the life stages that she describes‘by explaining that people should go through these "passages" and that everyone who doesn't is "walking dead." These improvements aside, her prose still sounds like that of a second-rate astrologer, her advice is often contradictory, and her adulation of famous personalities verges on embarrassing. Nevertheless, this is a "critic-proof" book‘if you haven't already done so, order multiple copies to satisfy reader demand. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/95.]‘Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, Wash.

'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' New York Times Book Review

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