My Life on the Road

Gloria Steinem
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | ONE OF O: THE OPRAH MAGAZINE’S TEN FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR | NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Harper’s Bazaar • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Publishers Weekly Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and inspiring leader—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of her life as a traveler, a listener, and a catalyst for change. Includes “Secrets,” a new chapter!When people ask me why I still have hope and energy after all these years, I always say: Because I travel. Taking to the road—by which I mean letting the road take you—changed who I thought I was. The road is messy in the way that real life is messy. It leads us out of denial and into reality, out of theory and into practice, out of caution and into action, out of statistics and into stories—in short, out of our heads and into our hearts. Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. When she was a young girl, her father would pack the family in the car every fall and drive across country searching for adventure and trying to make a living. The seeds were planted: Gloria realized that growing up didn’t have to mean settling down. And so began a lifetime of travel, of activism and leadership, of listening to people whose voices and ideas would inspire change and revolution. My Life on the Road is the moving, funny, and profound story of Gloria’s growth and also the growth of a revolutionary movement for equality—and the story of how surprising encounters on the road shaped both. From her first experience of social activism among women in India to her work as a journalist in the 1960s; from the whirlwind of political campaigns to the founding of Ms. magazine; from the historic 1977 National Women’s Conference to her travels through Indian Country—a lifetime spent on the road allowed Gloria to listen and connect deeply with people, to understand that context is everything, and to become part of a movement that would change the world. In prose that is revealing and rich, Gloria reminds us that living in an open, observant, and “on the road” state of mind can make a difference in how we learn, what we do, and how we understand each other.Praise for My Life on the Road“Like Steinem herself, [My Life on the Road] is thoughtful and astonishingly humble. It is also filled with a sense of the momentous while offering deeply personal insights into what shaped her.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “A lyrical meditation on restlessness and the quest for equity . . . Part of the appeal of My Life is how Steinem, with evocative, melodic prose, conveys the air of discovery and wonder she felt during so many of her journeys. . . . The lessons imparted in Life on the Road offer more than a reminiscence. They are a beacon of hope for the future.”—USA Today “A warmly companionable look back at nearly five decades as itinerant feminist organizer and standard-bearer. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to sit down with Ms. Steinem for a casual dinner, this disarmingly intimate book gives a pretty good idea, mixing hard-won pragmatic lessons with more inspirational insights.”—The New York Times “Steinem rocks. My Life on the Road abounds with fresh insights and is as populist as can be.”—The Boston Globe “In person and in her writing, Steinem exudes a rare combination of calm, humility and honesty about her weaknesses that explains all she has accomplished.”—Jezebel


Reviewed: 2018-07-30

To capture the events of one very busy life must have seemed daunting. In My Life on the Road Steinem managed to write a highly readable account of her childhood, her life as a reporter, an organizer, a feminist, and as a woman continuously learning. The book is broken into 7 chapters each focusing on a specific aspects of her life. In several of the chapters she breaks down many events into highlights, small stories about people she met and how they changed and shaped the way she looks at life. One of those stories, about an oil company in Oklahoma (my home state) bought land belonging to Native Americans and raided burial sites, selling for pennies items found. When a law was passed prohibiting that behavior, the company blew up the sites. How did this happen in my home state and this history isn't discussed in history classes? 

But there were other pieces of history that were completely new to me. Until reading this book I'd never heard about the 1977 National Women's Conference in Houston. Reading her reminiscences about the conference was truly interesting. Running between different groups of women in order to have their concerns brought before the general assembly.

Steinem's honesty about how nervous she was in publicly speaking; her fears about whether events would succeed or fail. Seeing a woman who was at the forefront of the women's movement and her insecurity allows everyone trying to change the world know that you don't have to be extraordinary. You can have your fears, you simply must move through them. 

Also, have tissues close for the ending.

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