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True North: A Memoir Paperback – August 15, 1995


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True North: A Memoir + The Road from Coorain + A Woman's Education
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st edition (August 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679744614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679744610
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Conway continues her autobiography in this follow up to The Road from Coorain, picking up with her arrival in the U.S. to begin graduate studies at Harvard, and culminating with her being named the first woman president of Smith College in 1975.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-Following The Road from Coorain (Knopf, 1989), Conway leaves Australia to discover the freedom of open inquiry at Harvard University, and to break away from her mother's oppressive demands. For the first time, she forms true friendships with other women and develops a sense of confidence and happiness that becomes almost complete when she marries Professor John Conway, her "true north" (compass point). The Conways face serious challenges as they move to Canada where the author teaches history and later becomes vice president of Toronto University. As the book ends, she is president of Smith College. Conway writes in a clear, brisk, literary style that is readable, engaging, and sometimes lyrical. She details successes and pleasures as well as personal sorrows and disappointments that require background knowledge from the earlier title. The final third of the book is a technical discussion of university-administration issues and of less general appeal, but good for readers interested in academic careers. Mature YAs seeking biography or women's studies will find Conway's continuing journey a fascinating one.
Judy Sokoll, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I loved reading about Jill Ker Conway's background and her personal life.
Karen E. Muench
Her personal and professional growth through this period doesn't come easily, and it's fascinating reading.
Nina M. Osier
This is a book I read after finishing The Road From Coorain, the first part of Jill Ker Conway's life.
Ruth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
This "sequel" to Road From Coorain was not a disappointment. It is beautifully written, sensitive and so clearly represents what it was (and still is) like for women in academia. As a young woman in higher education, I know that I will read this book again and again. It affirms the experiences of women who are climbing the tenure ladder in an old boys network that does not welcome women and provides the mentorship that we so desperately need.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Jill Ker Conway is not only a master of narrative prose, but also her life serves as an example from which many individuals, not just women, can learn from and relate to. Her description of her graduate experience at Harvard sounds ideal, her description of academea's treatment of women past and present is relative, and her dedication to helping others through her administrative posts at both the University of Toronto and Smith College are invigorating. She personifies what academea is about - examining issue's in microscopic detail and helping to make the institution better.
This book is particulary relevant to women in academea for the aforementioned reasons, and for the fact that Conway describes how she helped change these situations at the University of Toronto by organizing her female colleagues to obtain more equitable pay in comparison to their male colleagues.
I would gladly recommend this book to anyone in higher education, either student or faculty, or anyone interested in persuing the study of history at the graduate level.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By jumpy1 on October 26, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am grateful to Ms. Conway for baring the truth, as a service to those who need to hear it. I can see that her personal rantings have annoyed other readers, but my response was to the contrary. I have had similar experiences in the corporate world as a woman, and am grateful to find someone to back up my observations. Jill Conway proves that she will not back down to anyone who stands in the way of progress when she has a good idea, and those few who interpret it as antagonistic to their agendas, I suggest they re-examine said agendas, and not blame one of the few who actually succeeds in getting things done for the good, in spite of hopeless bureaucracy.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Patrick on July 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
I loved "The Road from Coorain" and was disappointed in the sequel, "True North". Is it really the writer's fault, though? I think she honestly portrayed that she grew up, finally, to accept her adult self - childless, almost selfless in her devotion to history research, manic-depressive husband, and the politics of Canada's academic world. It is an accurate portrayal of the step-by-step determined advancement of a woman who went from childhood sheep farm to Sydney day school to University of Sydney, until she finally does graduate studies in Harvard, meets and marries an academic bachelor a good 20 years older, comes to accept her life devoted to university administration. My disappointment, I think, is in lack of a "happy end". All that struggle and internal strife, eternal problems with an aging mother, confusion over identity between US, Canada, England and Australia, and it seems to lead to a rather staid and verbose academic report writer. Maybe I am unduly harsh in this judgment, since there is no doubt that a reader would enjoy her old-fashioned, dense, and straight-forward narrative prose. Her systematic explanation of how she got so far in sexist-prone 1960's is very interesting for women and others unfairly treated in the work world. She was lucky in love, therefore lucky in life, that she met a man well-established, so that she could rise from eager graduate student to the wife of a highly respected professor, live in luxury and intellectual freedom in the beautiful cities of Italy and England, without going through the poverty and loneliness of most young academics. She acknowledges this luck in life but takes proper credit for her very hard efforts since youth to go as high as possible.Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Since I did not read the first volume of Conway's now-three-part memoir, I have nothing to compare this to. But I liked her light and tasteful touch with personal details. Conway wasn't dealt the easiest hand in life, but here readers will find no self pity. This is not a book for the empty-headed. But as a former history student and current college instructor, I can identify with much of what Conway writes about; I'm nowhere near as intellectual as she is, however. But this is a great book if you want to explore a woman's coming of intellectual age.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nina M. Osier on August 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
Jill Ker Conway leaves her native Australia for a doctoral program at Radcliffe College not only to further her career, but perhaps even more to break free from her co-dependent birth family's stifling ties. For the first time in her life, Jill lives among people who believe that it's not only acceptable - but mandatory - for a woman to develop her intellect to its full potential. People who find ideas exciting, and who encourage Jill to treat her own emotional well-being as an absolute priority; not as a luxury to be sacrificed for the "good" of her mentally ill mother. In this new and amazingingly nurturing environment, she thrives.

When it's time for her to start instructing undergraduates, something she's already experienced in her Australian university, Jill falls under the supervision of Harvard professor John Conway. This Canadian war veteran is a generation older, witty, brilliant, and immensely attractive to a woman in love with intellect. Before Jill's stay at Harvard ends, they're married. The next year is spent in Europe, learning how to be a couple (not the easiest of lessons for either partner, since both are sufficiently mature to be set in their ways) and preparing for John's return to his native country. For he, too, is putting Harvard into the past.

Jill's years as a Canadian professor of American history open up yet another new universe, as she takes leadership - by default, not choice, at first - in the 1970s rise of women's history as a topic for scholarly study. Her personal and professional growth through this period doesn't come easily, and it's fascinating reading.
Read more ›
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