Customer Review

Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on March 18, 2003
With around 320 pages of main text, not counting the appendices, Vaillant takes some time to present a popularization of several longitudinal studies of adult development, and to put forth the idea that development doesn't simply stop at 5, 12, 21, or even 45, but that it continues, with specific challenges, into the late and late-late years of life.
As a book intended for popular reading, Vaillant can be expected to make assertions and hopeful noises that his data don't necessarily back up to the same extent as he would for a peer reviewed journal. Generalizability from the studies he has available (which are impressive accomplishments in social science research, even with all of their limitations) is sketchy, especially since he gives most of his time to the Harvard group of white men.
Still, even seeing a limited portrayal of a slice of the population that's gotten young-old (60-69), old-old (70-79), and become the oldest-old (80+) has its benefits. For one thing, it does help lay out a trajectory that those of us who are distant from the older generations can use of to conceive the future of our parents and the present of our grandparents in ways beyond loss.
So if you want a pick=me up and a reminder about many of the strengths and successes of the elderly go ahead and pick this up. Just don't expect it to tell you as much about the disadvantaged elderly.
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