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An Old Wife's Tale

My Seven Decades in Love and War


Midge Decter (View Bio)
Hardcover: ReganBooks, 2001; Paperback: ReganBooks, 2002.

An Old Wife's Tale

From the Preface: "I am offering these ruminations on my life out of the belief that save for the individual details, what has happened to me over the course of the past seven decades has in one way or another happened to many if not all present–day American women — from the almost dizzyingly rapid ringing of changes to the discovery of that in our lives which is never changing."

"Midge Decter is someone you want to read no matter what topic she is writing about. AN OLD WIFE'S TALE — the story of her life, her politics, and American society — is a book you would have to read no matter who wrote it. She has the unique trick of writing about deeply depressing topics in a way that leaves you encouraged instead of crushed. The book reads like a casual, anecdotal ramble through the woods that opend out regularly onto huge vistas and big truths, expressed with breathtakingly simple clarity.... It's too bad the book isn't longer. But that is the worst you can say about it.... She is one of a kind." — David Gelernter, Commentary

"Decter offers a memoir that displays her ability to cut through the blather of received opinion.... Decter can be a peddler of the kind of horse sense that feels like a cooling breeze on a hot afternoon. The most valuable of such have to do with feminist dead-ends, like the idea of all men being the enemy — a notion toxic to the project of overthrowing sexism — or Betty Friedan's woefully inaccurate take on the joys of being a male breadwinner. Decter has always believed that molds are for jello, not humans." — Kirkus Reviews

"AN OLD WIFE'S TALE is clever, pointed, and stinging...this book is more than a standard political salvo in a continuing conflict.... Ms. Decter's entire volume demonstrates a kind of joy at doing political battle.... Her argument reaches its high point in a chapter called 'To Startle This Dull Pain,' a razor-sharp set of observations on contemporary young people. Ms. Decter's main point, eloquently expressed, is that the oppression- and career-obsessed liberal culture has left these young people to fend desperately for themselves.... A reflection on seven decades of a life lived by a woman who kept her eyes on the big things and the small ones and makes the connection between the two." — Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

"[A] very readable and...witty account." — Publishers Weekly

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