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Old Man Country: My Search for Meaning Among the Elders

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We aspire to live in a country where old men are celebrated as vital elders but not demeaned if they become ill and dependent. We aspire to maintain health as well as maintain dignity and fulfillment in frailty. Old Man Country helps readers see and imagine these possibilities for themselves. The book follows the journey of a writer in search of wisdom, as he encounters We aspire to live in a country where old men are celebrated as vital elders but not demeaned if they become ill and dependent. We aspire to maintain health as well as maintain dignity and fulfillment in frailty. Old Man Country helps readers see and imagine these possibilities for themselves. The book follows the journey of a writer in search of wisdom, as he encounters twelve distinguished American men over 80 -- including Paul Volcker, the former head of the Federal Reserve, and Denton Cooley, the world's most famous heart surgeon. In these and other intimate conversations, the book explores and honors the particular way that each man faces four challenges of living a good old age: Am I still a man? Do I still matter? What is the meaning of my life? Am I loved? Readers will come to see how each man -- even the most famous -- faces universal challenges. Personal stories about work, love, sexuality, and hope mingle with stories about illness, loss and death. This book will strengthen each of us as we and our loved ones anticipate and navigate our way through the passages of old age.


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We aspire to live in a country where old men are celebrated as vital elders but not demeaned if they become ill and dependent. We aspire to maintain health as well as maintain dignity and fulfillment in frailty. Old Man Country helps readers see and imagine these possibilities for themselves. The book follows the journey of a writer in search of wisdom, as he encounters We aspire to live in a country where old men are celebrated as vital elders but not demeaned if they become ill and dependent. We aspire to maintain health as well as maintain dignity and fulfillment in frailty. Old Man Country helps readers see and imagine these possibilities for themselves. The book follows the journey of a writer in search of wisdom, as he encounters twelve distinguished American men over 80 -- including Paul Volcker, the former head of the Federal Reserve, and Denton Cooley, the world's most famous heart surgeon. In these and other intimate conversations, the book explores and honors the particular way that each man faces four challenges of living a good old age: Am I still a man? Do I still matter? What is the meaning of my life? Am I loved? Readers will come to see how each man -- even the most famous -- faces universal challenges. Personal stories about work, love, sexuality, and hope mingle with stories about illness, loss and death. This book will strengthen each of us as we and our loved ones anticipate and navigate our way through the passages of old age.

45 review for Old Man Country: My Search for Meaning Among the Elders

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christina Dudley

    As Cole the author faces his own "Fourth Age" in life, he takes on the project of interviewing men further along the path. In the process, he faces the own breakdowns and discoveries in his own life. The findings range from interesting to eye-rolling. In short, spiritually it's a free-for-all, physically it sucks, and depression hits you hard. He asks good questions, but not many of the men seem equipped to wrestle with the questions head-on. And the chapter where he and his second wife discover As Cole the author faces his own "Fourth Age" in life, he takes on the project of interviewing men further along the path. In the process, he faces the own breakdowns and discoveries in his own life. The findings range from interesting to eye-rolling. In short, spiritually it's a free-for-all, physically it sucks, and depression hits you hard. He asks good questions, but not many of the men seem equipped to wrestle with the questions head-on. And the chapter where he and his second wife discover their love for each other (despite each being already in a longterm, "loving" relationship with their first spouses) makes you want to lie down across some train tracks because is anyone even TRYING?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cyd

    I read this because I plan to become an old man myself (I'm 54, it's not that far away), and it has definitely helped me with perspective on the already-old or approaching-old men I know and care about. Cole writes well about the various men (and their partners, in some cases) he interviewed for the book, as well as about his own journey as a male person, now in his 60s, in the U.S. The only thing I found frustrating about it was the GLARING typos--particularly in one chapter, in which one I read this because I plan to become an old man myself (I'm 54, it's not that far away), and it has definitely helped me with perspective on the already-old or approaching-old men I know and care about. Cole writes well about the various men (and their partners, in some cases) he interviewed for the book, as well as about his own journey as a male person, now in his 60s, in the U.S. The only thing I found frustrating about it was the GLARING typos--particularly in one chapter, in which one person's first name is repeatedly misspelled, alternating in the text with the correct spelling. That's just sloppy editing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joseph T.

    Not only worthless, terrible! Author is very self absorbed inserting vast amounts of autobiographical nonsense throughout, including justification for his infidelity. The times he drifts into the subject matter, he "interviews" only the rich and famous. Certainly not reflective of real life. By way of full disclosure, I decided not to waste any more of what's left of my life by finishing this exercise in self promotion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    I was hoping for some wisdom pulled from many in depth conversations with some titanic Octagenarian+ men. Instead, it seems like most of the people interviewed were strangers (not all) to the author who met with him one or fewer times, not enough to be honest or let their true character come through in a way that the author could capture. Great idea for a book, but its execution didn't grab me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Patrick B

    Thought provoking What a thoughtful treatment of a real life question. Aging, what does it mean? This book confirmed some of my owns thoughts and challenged many other thoughts and feelings. "Most men live lives of quiet desperations."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cmrhudy

    I found this book thought provoking. I have been frustrated by the invisibility and dismissal that aging brings, a product of a culture that is afraid of aging. Whether or not this book gives you the answers you seek about old age, it does arm you with some questions.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael H. Miller

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mark E McGovern

  9. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  10. 4 out of 5

    bertram kraft

  11. 4 out of 5

    Csrabb

  12. 5 out of 5

    Robert E Jancar

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steve Roberts

  14. 4 out of 5

    Judi

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dinesh Ghiya

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Shadinger

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bob Cox

  19. 4 out of 5

    James Davis

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brent

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alaa

  22. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessika

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Bradshaw

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  27. 4 out of 5

  28. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Butcher

  30. 5 out of 5

    Max

  31. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

  32. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  33. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  34. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  35. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

  36. 5 out of 5

    Paula

  37. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

  38. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Murtha

  39. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

  40. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

  41. 5 out of 5

    Lingyan Wu

  42. 5 out of 5

    Raf Dormer

  43. 4 out of 5

    Luke

  44. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  45. 5 out of 5

    Youree Soh

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