The Wisdom Trail follows the life trajectories of extraordinary women, now in their seventies and eighties, who share to a remarkable extent a set of qualities that produced their successful lives. The vital women whose voices are captured in this book look back with well-earned perspective on the crises and opportunities, the decisions and accidents that marked their varied but ultimately satisfying paths.
In listening to the lively and candid recollections of these women, Janet Lieberman and Julie Hungar offer stories that have value for women and men alike. From the heyday of Good Housekeeping-the era of the silent majority-to World War II, when the absence of men at home set a new measure of independence for women, through the sexual revolution and the civil rights and women’s movements, these women have accumulated powerful stories that address the essential facets of women’s lives: family, work, and love. As Lieberman and Hungar lead readers along The Wisdom Trail, they identify a set of characteristics these women share that has relevance for men and women of all generations, and which make them worth pondering and reflecting on today. Flexible pragmatism gave them the ability to maneuver their way around constraints that at the time appeared insurmountable. Deep personal courage enabled them to leap into risky personal career decisions and face down bias at home and in the workplace. All of them displayed the love and care to form and nourish deeply satisfying relationships. Their capstone quality was a lifetime commitment to serving the community and the world beyond.
The Wisdom Trail is a journey into a world where women share their triumphs and their tragedies with equal parts generosity and instruction. It is also an examination of the arc of American life-from hardship to boon years-and the effect that has had on the character of women and their families. The value of the lessons contained in The Wisdom Trail is perhaps never more useful than it is today as women continue to struggle with balancing work and home and all Americans face the challenge of doing more with less.