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Let Me Tell You What I've Learned: Texas Wisewomen Speak


Barbara Jordan spoke for many Texas women when she told a reporter, "I get from the soil and spirit of Texas the feeling that I, as an individual, can accomplish whatever I want to, and that there are no limits, that you can just keep going, just keep soaring. I like that spirit." Indeed, the sense of limitless possibilities has inspired countless Texas women—sometimes in the face of daunting obstacles—to build lives rich in work, family, friends, faith, and community ...

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Let me tell you what I've learned: Texas Wisewomen Speak

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Barbara Jordan spoke for many Texas women when she told a reporter, "I get from the soil and spirit of Texas the feeling that I, as an individual, can accomplish whatever I want to, and that there are no limits, that you can just keep going, just keep soaring. I like that spirit." Indeed, the sense of limitless possibilities has inspired countless Texas women—sometimes in the face of daunting obstacles—to build lives rich in work, family, friends, faith, and community involvement.

In this collection of interviews conducted by PJ Pierce, twenty-five Texas women ranging in age from 53 to 93 share the wisdom they've acquired through living unconventional lives. Responding to the question "What have you found that really matters about life?" they offer keen insights into motherhood, career challenges, being a minority, marriage and widowhood, anger, assertiveness, managing change, persevering, power, speaking out, fashioning success from failure, writing your own job description, loving a younger man, and recognizing opportunities disguised as disaster—to name only a few of their topics. In her introduction, Pierce describes how she came to write the book and how she chose her subjects to represent a cross-section of career paths and ethnic groups and all geographic areas of Texas. A topical index makes it easy to compare several women's views on a given subject.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292765948
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2002
  • Series: Louann Atkins Temple Women and Culture Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

PJ PIERCE is a freelance writer in Austin, Texas.
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Table of Contents

Foreword by Liz Carpenter
Barbara Jordan
Liz Carpenter
Marj Carpenter
Jody Conradt
Wilhelmina Delco
Linda Ellerbee
Juliet Garcia
Carmen Lomas Garza
Glenna Goodacre
Kay Bailey Hutchison
Barbara Jacket
Edith Irby Jones
Ninfa Laurenzo
Amy Freeman Lee
Sarah McClendon
Diana Natalicio
Violette Newton
Guadalupe Quintanilla
Louise Raggio
Irma Rangel
Ann Richards
Mary Lou Robinson
Sarah Weddington
Judith Zaffirini
Epilogue: Pauline Durrett Robertson
Appendix A
Appendix B
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2003

    Listen, and You May Hear Yourself

    'Let Me Tell You What I've Learned' presents the real life experiences of accomplished women in a way that is very accessible and not at all intimidating. It allows any woman with goals to empathize with the very successful women with whom she may think she has no common ground. Each of the Wisewomen shows a fundamental practical outlook toward herself and her goals. And each one speaks about her commitment to her goals even though at times she was accompanied by some vulnerability, fear, or doubt. This book is a wonderful documentation of how these women's lives have changed during the last 30-40 years and how they coped with and benefited from that. All of us have seen similar changes in our own lives. These accounts give hope that goals can be met despite adversity, and that every successful woman has had some difficult times. And it shows that most successful women have a sense of humor, and they apply it. It is difficult to put such personal, intimate material into such an accessible, straightforward format. Pithy stories are presented concisely. But even though it's concise, there's nothing superficial about it. The diversity among the women interviewed is reveals our shared experiences, struggles, and triumphs. It also shows that no matter what our occupation, ethnicity, or background most of us have obstacles to overcome, but we also have inner strengths and friends, family, or advocates who urge us on to our successes. The contributions of women of different cultures makes the book's contribution that much wiser and broader, emphasizing that we can all learn from each other. The inclusion of Barbara Jordan's words is done sensitively and straightforwardly, honoring as she should be honored, without speaking for her (who could?!), and including her as she should be, right at the beginning. It got the book off to a great start. This book comes across as lively as the women it presents. I can hear their voices when I read it. Mary M. Elizabeth Austin, Texas

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2002

    Let me tell you what I've learned from reading this book.

    When you read the foreword and the dust jacket, you will understand the premise of the book: the interviews in this book represent the distilled wisdom of some of our "tribal elders." All 25 of the women interviewed are at least 50 years of age, think of themselves as Texans and are accomplished in their fields (artists, coaches, attorneys/judges, church leader, educators, entrepreneur, historian, journalists, political officeholders, physician). Most of these women have been married and have children. There are many reasons for anyone to read these interviews: these are "feel good" stories; they represent women from varied backgrounds and persuasion; almost to a person, they understand the importance of family and friends. For young women and mothers, there are additional reasons to read these stories. Why were these women so driven to achieve significant accomplishments outside their family life and how did they balance the demands on their time and energy. I have my favorites and you will, too. PJ finishes her collection with the chapter on her mother who reared 10 children while establishing herself as author, historian, entrepreneur, photographer and community activist. This is a remarkable group of people. The book is well organized and easy to read. You'll want to go back and reread many of the chapters.

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