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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Road from Coorain Paperback – August 11, 1990


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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Departures
  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; First Vintage Books edition (August 11, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679724362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679724360
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At age 11, Conway ( Women Reformers and American Culture ) left the arduous life on her family's sheep farm in the Australian outback for school in war-time Sydney, burdened by an emotionally dependent, recently widowed mother. A lively curiosity and penetrating intellect illuminate this unusually objective account of the author's progress from a solitary childhood--the most appealing part of the narrative--to public achievement as president of Smith College and now professor at MIT. Gifted with an ability to adapt to a wide range of cultures and people and despite ingrained Australian prejudice against intellectuals, Conway devoted herself to the study of history and literature, spurred on by excellent British-style schooling. Her further adventures could easily make a rewarding second volume. Paperback rights to Vintage; QPBC alternate.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Conway spent her first 11 years in the windswept grasslands of Australia, where her father owned 30,000 acres of arid land. Though his ability to understand the land was extensive, an eight-year drought finally defeated him, and he comitted suicide. A few years later, Conway's oldest brother died in an automobile accident. The two deaths plunged her mother into depression. Out of this tale of hard work, drought, and sorrow, Conway emerges with character and personal strength. From the University of Sydney, she went on to study history at Harvard and eventually became the first woman president of Smith College. This inspiring book tells in full the details of her life and thoughts up to the time she left for America. Quality Paperback Book Club selection.
- Judith Nixon, Purdue Univ. Libs., W. Lafayette, Ind.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This story deeply touched me.
Janet
A great read and I think people can grow from the book, if they were willing to let themselves.
Brenda Nalepa
A beautifully written book and a delight to read.
Helen J. Hall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Janet on May 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This story deeply touched me. I wish I'd read it when I was in my 20's. The descriptions of the Australian outback and its history are beautifully written. But more importantly this is the story of a young girl's development of strength, intellectual curiosity, courage and individuality. Her puzzlement and subsequent outrage at the gender discrimination she was subject to struck a nerve for me. I particularly recommend this book to college age women, but it surely would be an inspiration to anyone.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Janice D. Twitchell on November 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Prior to reading this book, I had no interest in travelling to Australia. By the time I had finished the first chapter, my interest was a burning desire. Conway's prose style is descriptive to the point of painting vivid pictures while not being verbose or tiring. My husband and I sought to experience the "outback" west of Coorain. What a memorable stay - on a sheep station where the sheep shearer's cottages were used as guest houses. We've given copies of the book to at least 20 friends over the years as house guest gifts, Christmas and birthday presents. Local book clubs have feasted on its powerful story of what it was like for a woman to grow up in Australia in the middle of the last century.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Barter on February 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
The wonderful autobiography entitled, The Road From Coorain, written by Jill Ker Conway is a must-read! Her engaging and rich detail gives an enchanting description of the Australian life-style from a very unique perspective.
Beginning in the 1930's, young Jill Ker lived with her tightly-knit family on a ranch called Coorain, Australia. Isolated in the desert and located far from Sydney, Coorain, has created an unordinary life-style for not only Jill but for her two brothers, Barry and Bob. Maintaining the remote Coorain is the family's only way to ensure stability and in the eyes of Mr. and Mrs. Ker; the significance of Coorain is considered more important than a formal education. Though, when the dreadful droughts of the arid terrain continue to spontaneously appear, life becomes awfully challenging and difficult for the Ker family. Suffering from famine because of the lack of crops and animals, Coorain becomes involved in a downward spiral. As a result, Jill as well as other family members, encounter the enormous struggle of overcoming the concept of death and sorrow. As Jill grows into a young woman, she faces unfortunate events that set her back, creating various obstacles as she journeys down the unpredictable road of life. Faced with challenges romantically, intellectually, and within the family ultimately affects her career and talents, though somehow Jill miraculously manages to succeed.
Choosing an academic career as a historian, Jill faced the constant struggle of chauvinism living as a young woman during the 1950's. Her passion and remarkable academic achievements clearly demonstrated her natural talent as a student. Unfortunately, the unfair privileges men had in contrast to women was a constant obstacle.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nina M. Osier on January 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Western plains of New South Wales are grasslands." Grasslands that with their vastness, their cycles of drought and bounty, and above all their isolation, shaped a little girl who would one day become Smith College's first woman president.
This book has been marketed as a coming of age story for girls. It's surely that, and a remarkable one. It is also (for this American reader, anyway) a fascinating look into a culture of many similarities - but with subtle, yet sometimes startling differences. Something else it ought to be is required reading for any young woman (particularly any gifted young woman!) trapped by a co-dependent relationship with her birth family. Read it, and think about what this world loses every time a woman capable of Jill Ker Conway's lifetime achievements subsumes her talents and sacrifices her dreams because the code of her childhood demands it.
A book that will stay will me always.
--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of "Love, Jimmy: A Maine Veteran's Longest Battle"
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By V. VanCamp on August 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
'The Road from Coorain' was a very interesting book and I thought it was well written. I found Jill Ker Conway's account of Australia's outback, cities, schooling and history very interesting and informative. I learned much from this book. It was intriguing to see how British history and the influence of the British formed the dynamics of Australia. There are areas in this book that are on the dry side and I did skim a few parts, but overall this book is very interesting.
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26 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Patrick on July 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Jill Ker Conway is an excellent, focused, academic writer, now President of Smith College in USA. She grew up in the orange dust of the Australia bush with no children as playmates, yet remembers a wonderful childhood with an especial concern for her mother's life. She writes this book as a successful adult, reconstructing the steps that got her through the University of Sydney's very demanding late-1950's history department. At that time, university studies were open to women, but the focus was on males, both living and dead white men. It was British colonial history that was taught, and most educated people picked up an inferiority complex about being Australian. Near the end of the book she writes about how she shook herself loose of this view, became proud and fond of the outback, and finally accepted that she was a city person. NEar the end she lands a history-teaching position at the U. of Sydney while enrolled in a Master's level program there, and it all closes tantalyzingly with a successful bid for a position at Harvard in USA. I've noticed often as a tourguide that British, Canadian and Australian women on my buses are very well-read and discuss books as a matter of fact, as something that one should know. They speak in a crisp and exact way with reasoned opinions. This writer falls in that category, well at the forefront of course. She knows herself, her own mind, and knows injustice and sexism when she experiences it herself. Her widening eyes begin to grasp that Europeans have simply grabbed the land of the aborigines. As a historian, she starts to want to know their view. To me, as an American, it is a slippery slope. There is only one logical conclusion: that all the land should be given back.Read more ›
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