Old Age and the Search for Security

Old Age and the Search for Security

An American Social History
Carole Haber and Brian Gratton
Distribution: World
Publication date: 1/1/1994
ISBN: 978-0-253-11302-3
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“Haber and Gratton lay to rest many conventional assumptions concerning the place of older persons in American history.” —Choice

“Haber and Gratton’s meaty little book does more than provide an intelligent synthesis of existing old-age history; its new interpretations, insights, and shifts of emphasis will provoke responses and help move historians’ work away from the now threadbare original disputes in e field toward new questions and approaches.” —American Historical Review

“Indeed, Haber and Gratton give us a refreshingly multidimensional history of the shift in old-age security from work, assets, or children to government annuities.” —Contemporary Sociology

“ . . . the history of old age has finally come of age. The authors successfully synthesize the best of the earlier social and cultural studies with new empirical evidence and recent findings of economic historians.” —Journal of Economic History

“A truly ‘revisionary’ interpretation of the cultural and structural forces that shaped the elderly’s lives from the colonial period to the present. Lucid and controversial, [it] is bound to be widely cited and hotly contested.” —W. Andrew Achenbaum

This social history of the American elderly offers a provocative new view of aging in the United States. It revises traditional assumptions about the economic status of the old and challenges the long-held contention that industrialization destroyed family relationships.

Author Bio

CAROLE HABER is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and the author of Beyond Sixty-Five: The Dilemma of Old Age in America’s Past. BRIAN GRATTON is Associate Professor of History at Arizona State University and author of Urban Elders.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Historians and the History of Old Age in America

1. The Families of the Old
2. Wealth and Poverty: The Economic Well-Being of the Aged
3. Work and Retirement
4. The Threat of the Almshouse
5. Advice to the Old
6. A New History of Old Age