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Comment: Eligible for *FREE* Super Saver Shipping! Excellent customer service, qualifies for Amazon A to Z satisfaction. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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The Road from Coorain Paperback – August 11, 1990

4.2 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews

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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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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: 5.1 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
I agree with reviewers who said the first half of the book was most compelling. It really was, and I loved it.

But, then the family moves to Sydney and there are absolutely endless pages of the author's education in various schools.

A page turner, as in I turned a lot of pages and skipped them entirely.

It's beyond me why this book was a best-seller.
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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.
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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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Format: Paperback
I found this to be an uncomfortable read as I can totally empathise with the author, growing up in the same era and knowing the feeling of being out of sync with the older generation. I realise that this probably happens even now but at least these days, females have grown up knowing themselves to be the equal of males and without having to apologise for sometimes being smarter.Jill was fortunate to have a very good education but was also responsible for earning Australian government scholarships which are awarded solely on the good marks earned in exams( not by good luck as one reviewer implied).Even so, she was, not so subtley reminded that a woman's primary function was as a wife and mother and as a mere adjunct to her husband and even brothers. This state of affairs probably existed in all cultures at that time, and not just i Australia, but even as I read, that old feeling of suffocation was present...the feeling that you wanted more but of what, you couldn't say and your parents certainly didn't understand either.
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