It has been said that we are obsessed with fears of aging and death, trying to postpone the inevitable as long as possible. How long? Lawrence Galton, a veteran medical writer, tackles the question by assembling a vast array of medical, environmental, and behavioral data that explore the many angles. Don't expect a royal road to Methuselahdom, however. The statistics range from the lean (position of month, month of birth) to the obvious--better to be well off, successful, happily married, a good coper with stress. In between you'll find the stories on birth order, male mortality versus female, importance of intelligence, personality, body type, where you live, what you eat. . . arranged in sharp question and answer form. Included are some of the less well-known correlations (some controversial) such as the higher incidence of hypertension in softas opposed to hard-water areas. Besides presenting the data Galton also surveys the diseases associated with aging (which may or may not be age-related), current modes of treatment, the role of exercise and diet, theories of aging, and reigning therapies. Finally he presents a chart of the major variables discussed which you can use to rate your chances. It's a very competent and readable summary of work in a complex and controversial field, one which by its very nature touches upon every aspect of human life.