Middle Age

A Natural History

David Bainbridge

Published: 7 March 2013
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 336 pages
ISBN: 9781846272684


David Bainbridge is a vet with a particular interest in evolutionary zoology - and he has just turned forty. As well as the usual concerns about greying hair, failing eyesight and goldfish levels of forgetfulness, he finds himself pondering some bigger questions: have I come to the end of my productive life as a human being? And what I am now for? By looking afresh at the latest research from the fields of anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, and reproductive biology, it seems that the answers are surprisingly, reassuringly encouraging. In clear, engaging and amiable prose, Bainbridge explains the science behind the physical, mental and emotional changes men and women experience between the ages of 40 and 60, and reveals the evolutionary - and personal - benefits of middle age, which is unique to human beings and helps to explain the extraordinary success of our species.

Middle Age will change the way you think about mid-life, and help turn the 'crisis' into a cause for celebration.

About the author

Image of David Bainbridge

David Bainbridge was trained in veterinary surgery and zoology at Cambridge University, where he now teaches Clinical Veterinary Anatomy. He is the author of four previous books: on pregnancy, on the biology of sex and sexuality, on the brain, and most recently Teenagers (Portobello, 2009). www.davidbainbridge.org More about the author


‘A welcome corrective to the widely held notion that being middle aged is ghastly’ India Knight



‘Bainbridge's zoological examination of the human animal results in a study that is full of surprises... Heartening’ James McConnachie

‘David Bainbridge is the best kind of writer on this subject; reassuring without being woolly and articulate without being incomprehensible. You won't get any less middle-aged reading this book, but you'll feel better about it’ David Quantick

‘Looking beyond the clichés, veterinary surgeon and reproductive biologist David Bainbridge, who teaches at Cambridge, sets out to discover "what middle age is and what it is for". Most of us could have a pretty good stab at the first question, but the latter is where Middle Age gets interesting.. Bainbridge's answer lies in the size of the brain and our need for food and ideas with which to feed it ... a fascinating idea’ Carl Wilkinson

‘Scientific but also breezy’ William Leith

‘There's lots of good news for the middle aged... A very jolly book with clear scientific explanations’ William Leith

‘Thought-provoking. [It] should certainly shed some new light on one's own potbellied or menopausal mid-life crisis... Fascinating’ Katie Law

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