As the baby-boom generation reaches retirement and old age, bringing unprecedented challenges, this important study of aging could not be more timely. Historian Charlotte Greenhalgh uncovers ignored testimony to urge us to hear the voices of elderly people in Britain throughout the twentieth century. Using meticulous archival research, she probes the work of Peter Townsend, one of Britain’s most celebrated social scientists. As this groundbreaking book shows, our keen interest in the needs and potential of older people has a long history. A comprehensive and sensitive study of the emotional, social, familial, and institutional lives of the elderly, Aging in Twentieth-Century Britain charts the determined efforts of aging Britons to shape public understandings of old age in the modern era. Greenhalgh demonstrates not just that old lives matter historically but that older people have helped to drive developments in social welfare, social science, and popular culture in Britain.
Charlotte Greenhalgh is Discovery Early Career Researcher and Lecturer at Monash University in Melbourne.