Robert C. Atchley is Professor of Gerontology Emeritus at Miami University, Ohio, and was previously a professor and chair at the Naropa Institute, in Boulder, Colorado. According to the author, the study of the important role of spirituality in the lives of aging people has not been covered very widely in the field of gerontology. This substantive volume is based on two decades of Atchley's interviews, observations, study, and recommendations on the interplay between spirituality and the experiences of those in the last stages of life. His participation in Quaker Meetings over the past 12 years has also had a profound impact on his understanding of spirituality and aging. The author uses the term "spiritual" to refer to "beliefs, practices, and experiences that loosely revolve around an inner domain of human experience."

In the first chapter, Atchley sums up qualities that his interview respondents said characterize spiritual experiences: inner stillness, mental clarity, insight, compassion, connection with the ground of being, wonder, inexpressibility, mystery, paradox, personal transformation, and motivation to continue a spiritual journey. (We are pleased to see here some of the qualities we have delineated in our alphabet of 37 spiritual practices that can enrich and deepen our lives.) Atchley moves on to present a brief overview of theories on spiritual development by Erik Erikson, Lars Tornstam, Harry R. Moody and David A, Carroll, Ken Wilber, James Fowler, and others. This is followed by a discussion of spirituality, identity, and self that reveals the diversity of paths that can be taken on the spiritual journey.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ram Dass have modeled for us the ways in which elders can become sages, dispensing wisdom across generational lines. Spiritually mature individuals also have a role to play in the development of transpersonal communities or in serving from Spirit. The author states: "Focus on the inner life, service to others, and deepening connection with the sacred are bright spots of growth and development for most elders." As a result, spiritual development is one of the few goals that is amplified with age. This happens even though disability and the shredding of one's social network can challenge the resiliency of elders. Atchley concludes with his observations on aging and the handling of time, dying, and death.

The author makes a good case for increased study and research programs on aging and spirituality within gerontology. Given the large numbers of baby boomers who are approaching this stage of life, it is even more imperative for all of society to reframe its notions about spirituality and spiritual practice in the everyday worlds of elders in a variety of settings. We have found a large number of people in this age cohort who are starving for e-courses on a variety of topics.