Losing it In Which an Aging Professor Laments His Shrinking Brain.... William Ian Miller
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- Publication date:
- 14 Sep 2012
- 336 pages: 208 x 137 x 25mm
- 4 black-&-white illustrations
In the opening pages of this irresistible book, William Ian Miller warns, 'the general themes...may strike some as glum and grim'. Yet humour leavens each page as he confronts old age, its humiliations, and its undeniable hardships. Taking an entirely original approach - using personal reflection, social science analysis, and above all a deep knowledge of Anglo-Saxon literature and culture - Miller frees us from facile stereotypes and presents a new portrait of old age that is honest, nuanced, and enriched by an understanding of the human experience of aging since Greek and Roman antiquity. As millions of Baby Boomers face inevitable decline and the prospect of 'losing it', researchers in the positive psychology movement spin a rosy new picture of old age: people in their 60s and beyond are happier than younger folks, embracing this uniquely fulfilling phase of life. But Miller takes aim at such a fatuous denial of the hazards of old age. He debunks patronizing views and unflinchingly redirects us to consider what it is like when 'your mental abilities are on a bullet train heading south'. Covering issues that range from retirement rituals and the art of complaining to vengeance strategies and going out in style, Miller gives us a unique and more candid way of thinking about growing old and how the indignities of aging might be experienced without entirely 'losing it'.
William I. Miller is Thomas G. Long Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School. He is the author of seven previous books, including The Anatomy of Disgust which was named 1997 best book in anthropology/sociology by the Association of American Publishers.
"'a full-throttle performance in which the Middle Ages are a solace for middle age. He embraces revenge, humiliation, etymology, the Gettysburg Address... It's not for me to spoil the story. Seek it out.' (Christopher Hawtree, The Independent) '... a very good book indeed.' (John Sutherland, Literary Review) 'This is a very good book, witty, graceful and erudite, about a subject of more or less pressing concern to all.' (William Palmer, The Oldie) 'Miller's vigorous pessimism is strangely liberating... At times Miller's determined miserabilism gets it so right that all one can do is sit back, revel in the shock of recognition, and laugh aloud.' (Laurie Taylor, Times Higher Education Supplement)"