(Jane Kramer’s article appeared in the New Yorker, 10/19.)
One day in the fall of 1997, Gloria Steinem was unpacking a carry-on bag that in the course of a few weeks had seen the inside of more airplane overhead bins than most travellers’ do in a year, and, as she tells the story, that was when she knew it was time to write a book about her life on the road, rallying women to the fight for equal rights. Steinem was sixty-three then. She had been travelling for more than thirty years, speaking, advising, fund-raising, organizing, testifying, demonstrating, educating, campaigning, and, in the process, introducing millions of girls and women to the feminist cause—and during that time she had also founded and presided over the magazine Ms., written books, published and edited collections, and, through the Ms. Foundation, which she and three friends of the magazine established, nurtured the talent of generations of younger feminists. But she had never stopped travelling, and she wasn’t about to now, with a road book planned. “I’ve spent more time on the road than not,” she told me this past summer. “It’s been the most important part of my life—and a big antidote to the idea that there is ‘one’ American people.”
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