And why should we care what he says?
Born in 1929, Wolpert has had a distinguished academic career and looks at life, as Joni Mitchell sang, from both sides now. His early work was delving into the development of embryos. Now, at age 92, he has decided to tackle the latter end of life, how we age and how we might die, in his most recent book You’re Looking very Well: The surprising nature of getting old.
Wolpert is extremely well read and quotes a mass of statistics which will gladden the heart of many older citizens, in particular the finding that those aged 70 and older are the happiest segment of the population. So anyone interested in older age and how it affects us is likely to be enthused by Wolpert’s information. But reading his book is not exactly easy. For an academic, the organisation of the chapters and flow of argument is surprisingly unstructured. A wealth of research is quoted, but often as a by-the-way comment rather than as part of a developing argument or opinion. This research is not footnoted, so it appears somewhat random and difficult to assess if you don’t know how recent the survey or study was.
Faber & Faber