The Courage to Grow Old

Phillip L. Berman, Editor, P. Berman, Author Ballantine Books $8.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-345-35072-5
Old age is ``a country to be explored,'' declares children's author Elizabeth Yates in this trenchant collection of specially commissioned essays. Its 41 contributors, of whom the youngest was born in 1923, belie the common prejudice that the world of old age shrinks to contain chiefly the self, its nagging physical infirmities and its endless rumination upon past failures and successes. The enduring power of love is a far more common subject here than illness and debility. ``I could not conceive of old age without the many friends I conjure up from a section of my brain,'' explains engraver Fritz Eichenberg. Concern with personal achievement fades before preoccupation with humanity's shared fate. ``How can I age with decency in an indecent society whose culture is constantly being sullied by the most fraudulent self-seeking?'' asks composer David Diamond. Other distinguished contributors include psychologist Albert Ellis, movie critic Judith Crist, physician Henry J. Heimlich, actress Rosemary DeCamp and romance novelist Phyllis A. Whitney. Berman ( The Courage of Conviction ) introduces each entry with a brief biographical sketch. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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