The Making of an Elder Culture

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The Making of an Elder Culture: Reflections on the Future of America’s Most Audacious Generation by Theodore Roszak

If you are old, intend to get old, or are related to an old person, I strongly recommend that you read this book.
When I became the state networker for the New Age Caucus in 1979, I was given two books to explain the caucus’ philosophy–New Age Politics by Mark Satin and Person Planet by Theodore Roszak. Roszak is not a boomer, but one of the wise elders of the previous generation who mentored me and many others over the years. He knows what the world was like before the boomers, and he knows the effects we made on it up to now. He strongly encourages us to make even more radical changes to the way things are to bring about a more ideal, sustainable, environmentally friendly way humans can live on this fragile planet in harmony with its other inhabitants.
Having taken early retirement myself, I can attest to the wonderful freedom gained by not having to struggle to make a living, but rather having every day free to do the things I want to do. I look at this free time as a gift, and I use it for the well-being of my wife and I as well as to creatively work for the well being of all. As Roszak explains, our well-being has many facets. He helps us understand where we fit in the big picture and what this time in history calls us to do.
This book inspired me to take a renewed interest in politics and make my voice heard. I joined the Gray Panthers Action Network online to further this, and I encourage others, young or old, to do likewise.
The Summer of Love. Vietnam. Woodstock. These are the milestones of the baby boomer generation Theodore Roszak chronicled in his 1969 breakthrough book The Making of a Counter Culture. Part of an unprecedented longevity revolution, those boomers form the most educated, most socially conscientious, politically savvy older generation the world has ever seen. And they are preparing for Act Two.
The Making of an Elder Culture reminds the boomers of the creative role they once played in our society and of the moral and intellectual resources they have to draw upon for radical transformation in their later years. Seeing the experience of aging as a revolution in consciousness, it predicts an “elder insurgency” where boomers return to take up what they left undone in their youth. Freed from competitive individualism, military-industrial bravado, and the careerist rat race, who better to forge a compassionate economy? Who better positioned not only to demand Social Security and Medicare for themselves, but to champion “Entitlements for Everyone”? Fusing the green, the gray, and the just, Eldertown can be an achievable, truly sustainable future.
Part demographic study, part history, part critique, and part appeal, Theodore Roszak’s take on the imminent transformation of our world is as wise as it is inspired—and utterly appealing.
Theodore Roszak is the author of twenty books, including the 1969 classic The Making of a Counter Culture. He is professor emeritus of history at California State University, and lives in Berkeley, California.
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