Patricia Cohen, In Our Prime: The Invention of Middle Age

Patricia Cohen, In Our Prime: The Invention of Middle Age

January 26: 7:00PM 8:00PM

Skillfully combining rich archival research with fresh reporting on the movie, advertising and health industries, New York Times reporter Patricia Cohen presents a surprising and provocative investigation into middle age. Cohen is the first author to write a popular history of this vital but misunderstood stage of development. This path-breaking book follows the concept of middle age from its development at the end of the 19th century to its present position at the center of America’s culture and as the engine of a multibillion dollar economy. Fitting the story of middle age into the larger context of technological advance, social change, and shifting tastes in beauty and fashion, In Our Prime traces how midlife has swung between being seen as the prime of life and a period of crisis and discontent.

Cohen explains the latest findings on health, happiness and sex, and explodes ingrained beliefs about the midlife crisis, empty nest syndrome and divorce. Indeed, midlife is often considered the happiest time of life. Throughout the decades, middle age has been cast in a series of roles: a measure of productivity, a threat to beauty and sexuality, a scientific conundrum, a marketing tool, a stage of psychological development, a social and political metaphor, a literary device. These frames have affected how individuals have understood and experienced the middle decades and influenced the narratives we construct about our own lives. In Our Prime rescues middle age from stereotype.

Patricia Cohen has been a New York Times reporter for thirteen years. She has also worked at The Washington Post, New York Newsday, and Rolling Stone. Her stories have led to numerous television and radio appearances. She is also a regular participant in the “Times Talks” series and New York Times podcasts. She has a BA from Cornell University and a graduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

You can purchase the book or a $10 Strand gift card at the door to the event in order to attend. Both options admit one person. The event will be located in the Strand's 3rd floor Rare Book Room at our store at 828 Broadway at 12th Street.

Additional copies of the book (and previous books by the author, when applicable) will be available for purchase at the event.