With a steady rise in the numbers of Oldies, so we see more books about their lives – and the ‘problems’ those numbers could create. Growing Old: The Last Campaign differs from most. As former campaigner-politician-journalist Des Wilson makes clear, this is not an academic or philosophic tome – he simply shares one man’s day-by-day experience, because, day-by-day is how Oldies live…
We discover with him the evidence that he’s becoming old – and experience his shock at the physical setbacks and realisation that he is no longer remembered. ‘Why was this happening to me…what had I done to deserve this?’ We follow his thinking as he moves from denial to defiance, and join him in a series of both hilarious and revealing life expectancy tests to discover exactly how many years he has left.
Des Wilson doesn’t deny that life will become harder, but we share with him the devising of a positive way forward that he believes will prevent, postpone, or make the downsides easier to handle. This is an Oldie’s life in detail, a story told frankly but, as it unfolds, a story that moves heart-warmingly – and occasionally hilariously – from despair and pessimism to hope and optimism. Honest, informative and provocative, Growing Old: The Last Campaign doesn’t foster the illusion that getting older is easy – but instead argues we should face those realities in fighting mood. Above all, Des Wilson’s story carries a message of hope.
Des Wilson was for more than thirty years one of Britain’s most effective citizen campaigners. He was one of the founders of the Liberal Democrats and Shelter, and is a former ‘environmentalist of the year’. As a journalist, he was a columnist on the Observer, the Guardian and the New Statesman. He has written a number of books, more recently two critically-acclaimed books on poker.