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The Prime of Life: A History of Modern…
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The Prime of Life: A History of Modern Adulthood

by Steven Mintz

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674047672, Hardcover)

Adulthood today is undergoing profound transformations. Men and women wait until their thirties to marry, have children, and establish full-time careers, occupying a prolonged period in which they are no longer adolescents but still lack the traditional emblems of adult identity. People at midlife struggle to sustain relationships with friends and partners, to find employment and fulfilling careers, to raise their children successfully, and to resist the aging process.

The Prime of Life puts today’s challenges into new perspective by exploring how past generations navigated the passage to maturity, achieved intimacy and connection, raised children, sought meaning in work, and responded to loss. Coming of age has never been easy or predictable, Steven Mintz shows, and the process has always been shaped by gender and class. But whereas adulthood once meant culturally-prescribed roles and relationships, the social and economic convulsions of the last sixty years have transformed it fundamentally, tearing up these shared scripts and leaving adults to fashion meaning and coherence in an increasingly individualistic culture.

Mintz reconstructs the emotional interior of a life stage too often relegated to self-help books and domestic melodramas. Emphasizing adulthood’s joys and fulfillments as well as its frustrations and regrets, he shows how cultural and historical circumstances have consistently reshaped what it means to be a grown up in contemporary society. The Prime of Life urges us to confront adulthood’s realities with candor and determination and to value and embrace the responsibility, sensible judgment, wisdom, and compassionate understanding it can bring.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 09 Jul 2015 10:47:12 -0400)

"The first history of American adulthood, The Prime of Life examines how succeeding generations of Americans dealt with the primary tasks of adulthood: Navigating the passage from youth to maturity, achieving intimacy and connection, raising the next generation, experiencing work's pleasures and pains, and wresting meaning from life's losses and stresses. Highly attentive to class, ethnicity, gender, and race, this book draws upon a wealth of private letters and other previously untapped sources to challenge a host of misconceptions that distort public thinking today. These include the myths that the transition to adulthood was smoother and more seamless in the past and that adulthood was more stable and predictable than it has since become. But this bookdoes something more. It underscores women's historical role in driving fundamental changes in attitudes toward love, friendship, marriage, childrearing, and work. It demonstrates the ways that social class has differentiated adult experience. It also reconstructs the emotional interior of a life stage too often treated as fit only for self-help books or novels dealing with the travails of the suburban middle class. It not only recaptures adulthood's joys and disappointments, its hopes and frustrated expectations, its soaring dreams and bitter regrets, it demonstrates that development across the life span is shaped less by psychology than by cultural and historical circumstances"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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