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Tribes of Eden Book Launch and Contest

Surely you recall that back in January, I told you about Tribes of Eden, a new novel from geriatrician Bill Thomas - a giant among elder advocates and one of my few heroes.

Thomas and Tribes of Eden

As he explains, the book is a classic thriller

”...set in the near future after the collapse of society. It follows a mother and her two children as they find refuge in an isolated community hidden from 'The GRID,' a totalitarian power that restored order with an iron fist.

“As The GRID’s virtual new world order begins to threaten the community, a young girl must lead an alliance of the young and old to restore humanity.”

Although the book has been available in several electronic formats for a few weeks, yesterday the paperback edition had its official release.

To celebrate, Bill is holding a live, virtual book launch party that everyone can attend online at the Tribes of Eden website. It will take place tomorrow, Wednesday 4 April, beginning at 3PM eastern U.S. time so mark your computer calendar.

Bill's book is a terrific read that can be enjoyed simply for the sake of a good story. But there is more to it than that. For those of you who are not familiar with Dr. Thomas and his work, let me quote the book's press release which is more succinct than I can be on my own:

”...the novel introduces a new vision of old age that [Bill] hopes will counter what he sees as widespread ageism in our society that has been detrimental to efforts to improve the care of older adults.

“'As a culture, we fear, loathe and deny the realities of aging,' Thomas said. 'We worship youth and blind ourselves to the plight of millions of people who are institutionalized against their will in nursing homes for the sole crime of frailty.'”

“For two decades, Thomas has been a leader in an international movement to de-institutionalize nursing homes through The Eden Alternative, a philosophy to create long term care environments that provide a 'pathway to a life worth living' by promoting relationships and meaningful interactions.

“Thomas said he used a post-apocalyptic scenario [in Tribes of Eden] to create a dystopian environment in which everyone is stripped of safety, security and independence and put into the power of an authoritarian regime.

“In other words, they experience what it’s like to be placed in a nursing home against their will,' he said.”

Bill has dedicated the book to the thousands of people worldwide who are part of The Eden Alternative project and 100 percent of the proceeds from sales go to that organization.

To help get the book off to a great start, Bill has provided three copies of Tribes of Eden for me to give away to Time Goes By readers.

To enter the contest, leave a message in the comments section below (no emails). That's it. If you have something to say about Bill Thomas, his book, The Eden Alternative, nursing homes or anything else related, that's good, but not required.

The only requirement is that you state your interest in winning one of the books. Like last time we did this kind of contest, typing "Me, me, me" will do it, too. I'm not fussy.

The contest will close tonight, 3 April 2012, at midnight U.S. Pacific Coast time. The three winners will be chosen in a random, electronic drawing and announced here on this blog on Friday 6 April 2012.

Don't forget tomorrow's online book launch at the Tribes of Eden website.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Sharon Ostrow: A Muse


I would be very interested to read this book. At 73 it concerns me that I may have to go through the same terrible nursing home situation that my father went through after suffering a stroke. Keeping fit and healthy as I age is my aim.

Hey, I'd love to have the book. Perhaps it will give "The Hunger Games" a run for the money:)Could this mean a movie in the future? :)Dee

Our friend invited us to lunch at his cruise ship, everything done for you, assisted living retirement home.

For seven grand a month, he and his wife are treated like toddlers.

We truly believe he is too young to be in there, but he said he was tired of keeping his two story home, and his wife who has some medical issues needed protection and care.

The place, call it "The Bore," is huge, lovely views, anything you want to do, like bowling, swimming, painting, there is a room for it.

(But nobody was in any of those activity rooms.)

So as we walked the long halls, workers, I guess they're called, would say "hello Mister or Miss so and so, how are you today?"

The way they said that reminded me of a kindergarten teacher patting a kid on the head. "Now Johnny, we don't whiz in the cloakroom."

Anyway, even though the place is built like the Queen Mary, all the trimmings, all the attention a person may think he or she needs,

I felt like food in the mouth of a praying mantis.

"Get me out of here. This isn't for me."

As our friend led me along, pointing out the dining room, the personal chefs, I saw people eating alone, sitting, staring at their plates as if they didn't know what it was.

I felt as if the moment a foot entered that building, all motivation, hope, purpose, left their body.

Handing over one's life to a cruise ship may suit a certain portion of society, but it's not for me.

I'd have to be hog tied and knocked out first.

So, we're still walking and my pal is extolling the virtues of living inside this manufacture palace, when he asks if I have any questions.

"Is there anyone living here against their will?"


He didn't expect that question.

"Well, there is one woman who we would all love to see booted out."


"Why is that?"

"Whenever anyone passes her in the hall, says hello, she responds rudely."

"What does she say?"

"F- off!"

"Good for her!"

Said I.

Ronni, a long post, put me in the book contest.

I would love to read this book, Ronni! Please enter me.

Please enter me in the book contest, Ronni. It sounds like a good read. Thanks.

I've been an activity director in various senior "institutions" and am happily retired as an independent person...and know that there are lots of fine seniors begging to get out from under "institutionalization". I would love the book!

I love post apocalyptic stories and would like to read this. And thank you for the intro to Bill Thomas. He's new to me (I'm new to your blog) but I'm sure I'm on the same wavelength. 35 years of nursing has taught me that I do not want to be in a nursing home.

@Doctafill -- WOW. I work with some folks who will be very, very interested to read your comment. So I shared it with them.

Yes please. I'd like to enter the contest.

Me, me, me! I would love to win one of these books.

I want one! (Waving hand wildly!)

Me too! Love Bill Thomas and would love to have his book!

I would love to read this book, so I must add ME!ME!ME! to the list. Thanks Roni.

I'd love to read the book and pass it along...

Me too! I'd love a copy, Ronni

Me, me, me! Please. :)

Sounds like a very interesting read; include me in the drawing.

I would love to read this book. Please enter me in your contest. Thank you. So very generous and kind.

Count me in for the book, please.

Would love to have a copy of the book. Somehow I get the creepy feeling we're not far away from that kind of future if we don't get things turned in the right direction in this country.

Many oppressed people in the world are fighting for freedom and democracy, and it appears that we are just throwing ours away .... sighhh

Please count me in the contest.

How ironic I should read this after just cleaning out files relating to my volunteer work as an advocate for the institutionalized elderly many years ago.

I am currently considering reentering the program since learning that my certification continues to be valid and I need only to meet with someone to go over the new rules and regulations.

I would love a copy of Tribes of Eden, geriatrician Bill Thomas' new novel! I have been working in long term care for 20+ years. In addition to Bill Thomas' inspiring Eden and Greenhouse care models there is another program option to help people needing a nursing home level of care remain living at home - the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly - or PACE (there is one in Portland!)

Dr. Thomas' book "What Are Old People For?" still resides on my nightstand.

Bless Dr. Thomas for fighting the nursing home industry. My worst nightmare is to end my days in one.

My husband was hospitalized with malignant brain tumors and the insurance company decided that he was well enough to be placed in a nursing home. He was transferred to one without my knowledge or consent.

Within days the manager of the nursing home called me at my work and told me to stop by and sign a form agreeing to pay for his care if the insurance wouldn't cover it.

I refused and said, "What are you going to do? Put him out in the street if I don't pay?" He was nasty and brutal and I was terribly upset.

The insensitivity of that man was both cruel and inhumane. I hate nursing homes with a passion.

Add me to the drawing.I worked in 4 different nursing homes in two different states for a second job when I was a young teacher. I have the feeling that conditions have probably deteriorated since the '70's, as they have in most institutions.

On your recommendation I read Dr Thomas''s book on elderhood. What an eye opener! I'd like to read this book too.

Me too, I'd like a book.

God forbid I end up in an old people's padded dwelling like "the bore." Well, ha, ha, it certainly won't be anything that costs $7000 a month. Before the funding disappeared, I volunteered with an ombudsman group in my town that worked to get people treated like the adults they are in these homes. It was hard just to get the right for people to shut the door to their own rooms and to get staff to knock before entering. These were retirement residences and homes. The residents needed a little help but could get about on their own, and wanted/needed some privacy.

Friday, April 6, would have been my Mom's 103rd birthday. I'd like to win a book that day! PS She made it to 94 and blessed my brother and I by allowing us to take care of her for her last three years.

Thank you.

I'll add this to my books-to-be-read list whether I win a copy or not, but please do add me to the group of entrants.

Our family has had some short-term experiences with "good" retirement/nursing/rehab facilities, but even those had aspects that were heartbreaking. It is sad and simply wrong to abandon our elders to such an existence; either totally alone or expected to fit into an organized and compartmentalized life like 3-year-olds in daycare.

Yes, me too! Sounds like a good one!

I do want to read this book but I'll buy it. I won one of your previous giveaways and so I'd rather let someone else have that fun experience.

I don't mind buying the book so please do not include me in the giveaway. I just want to say we need more books to reflect that life, and a good one a that, goes on after sixty. As far as nursing homes go, when my dad was living in one, I noticed the impersonalization (word?) of the patients and the total disregard as to what role they had played in contributing to the world. I didn't do enough but I tried to point out to the staff certain patient's accomplishments in "the outside world."

What an inspired theme as a metaphor -- this guy must be brilliant.
Count me in, please.

Sounds like an absorbing read -- as well as a fascinating premise.

Yes, enter me in the contest!

I've been reading alternative-society science fiction my whole literate life, and I've been waiting for a story just like Tribes of Eden.

Sounds like a fascinating story. I'd love to win a copy!

Please enter me in the contest. I could use a good scare.

me! me! me!

Me too! If I don't win I will read it anyway. It sounds perfect for me as I enter my eighth decade (turning seventy this year).

The book sounds intriguing. I don't usually read science fiction, but it sounds as if the author has something valuable to say about the plight of old people without the means to stay out of nursing homes. Bravo to him, and I'd love to read his book.

Soon I am going to check out a very much sought after retirement community in Germany,Altkeonigstift.
This book would be a great read on the plane!

Big hug, Kavan for your kind comments.

I bought the e-book shortly after you recommended back in January Ronni and am glad I did.

It's a great novel with plenty of suspense and insight on how to live outside what too many have become dependent on with the advent of available electricity over a century ago.

It speaks to the simple life where people get pleasure and utility out of their collective associations with each other.

Today's far right mentality denigrates the social group while elevating personal liberty to unreal heights. Thomas's book gives a good view of what goes missing when this is taken to extremes.

At 78 years,I continue to read about five books a month about equally divided between fiction and non-fiction, many about elderhood. And will read at your recommendation Dr. Thomas' Tribe of Eden whether or not my name is drawn as well as his earlier book.
Mary Flock

Still working at age 68, with at least two more years of slavery ahead of me. I would love to read this book! Thank you.

I'd like to read the book, and, yes I'll enter the contest for one. However, this sounds like a cousin to "The Hunger Games" on the other end of the age spectrum.

Good luck with the launch!

All your recommendations are aces in my book. To thank you for this one, here's an article you've probably already seen but I thought it was right up our alley.

Pick me, pick me!

Me too! I'd love to read this book. I've not read The Eden Alternative, but I'm going to search my library catalog now.

Me 3


Wow, Ronni, look how many of us love reading your blog! Put my name in the drawing but if I don't win, I'll download it on my Kindle. Is it in eBook form yet?

If I get one I promise to give it to some other person of our vintage(73 years YOUNG) and BUY one for myself and my wife(only 71)!!

Pick me, pick me!
I work in a California hospital in which 70% of our patients are covered by Medicare. We must change the whole paradigm---can't wait to read your book (just discovered it today!)

I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Bill Thomas speak a few months ago at the Council on Aging here in St Augustine, FL. My mother (91) was with me; however, she had difficulty hearing him, but she did buy his book and enjoyed it. Count me in on his fiction one!

Sounds like a book I'd love to read. I'd love to win one, but if not, I'll probably purchase one.

Please put my name in for the drawing for a copy of Tribes of Eden.

i have yet to read anything else by Dr. Thomas but did explore via the internet his Eden Alternative following your posts about his work.

It seems our way of dealing with the elder years falls apart when someone becomes feeble and assisted living (which can be very nice) is no longer enough. I would like reading the book and Dr. Thomas's view of this.

I am trying to figure out how to download this to my wife's Nook - - It's hopeless.

Please send a copy to this fat fingered, devoted to your site, past Oregonian.

Regards, Yellowstone

I would love to win this book and be able to pass it on. thank you.

Hi Ronni, I'm 76 and typing this on my new tablet, what fun. I have some experience with nursing homes lately with my dad and husband in rehab after too many surgeries. Some fair and one very bad. Not for me. I'd love to read this book. Thanks for your blog.

I worked in a nursing home back in the 1960s and some things have not changed. I have been following Bill's career and his Eden Alternative. We need more leaders like him. Please add me to the book contest.

Me me me :-)

I've toured several assisted living facilities and found the process incredibly depressing. The "good" (translation: expensive) ones would render many middle-class retirees destitute after a few years, after which comes the "bad" (a state-subsidized nursing home).

I don't know this author but would love to read his book.

Dear Abby-

My husband promised he would win this book and quickly hand it over to me - can I trust him?

Once read it will be donated to our small public library.

Anticipating your response . . .

Would love to win a copy.

Sounds like a must read and Book Club choice. Count me in for a copy!

If you can't win the lottery this will be my seond choice.

For all of the reasons given above, my wife and I would value Tribes of Eden.

The book sounds very interesting--would love to read it and pass it among members of my book club .

Yes, I would like to read the book.

I don't fear much in this life, but I shudder to think that I may be forcefully kept alive against my will. With what intelligence I can bring to bear, I will figure out a way to prevent this.

Im interested in reading this book, Ronni

I would like to read the Bill Thomas book. I have attended Eden training, and appreciate his work. Thank you..
Linda Carmi

Location: Amityville, Long Island, New York

re your request on where folks live.

Location Vancouver WA

Dr. Thomas' book sounds interesting.

I've provided rehab. in twenty or so Southern Calif. skilled nursing facilities of "better" quality. Of that number only three or four would I recommend and they are associated with retirement communities, providing several levels of care. Medicare with supplemental private insurance is often a minimal requirement. Medicaid (Medi-Cal in Calif.) patients are not accepted by some of these, even if the individual also has Medicare.

There's a certain amount of autonomy one gives up in even the best of facilities or structured settings. For that reason alone my intent is to live in place in my home.

There is one facility in which I would accept placement, but given the continuing rise of such costs, who's to say how affordable it might be in the future.

I cannot predict what the future for me may be, but I would try to avoid my children having to care for me in their home or mine should my health needs dictate much needed attention.

As more elders are choosing the living in place concept groups are forming in our area to provide needed support which I'm exploring.

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