Feminist icon, goddess, social climber, bunny--who is Gloria Steinem? All of the above, according to a serious new biography that examines Steinem's life from early childhood to ""this-is-what-63-is-like."" To many, if not most, who came of age around 1972, Steinem is synonymous with the second feminist revolution. That year marked the launch of Ms. magazine, the popular journal of women's revolt against the patriarchy. According to Stern (coauthor, Toyland: The High-Stakes Game of the Toy Industry, 1990), Steinem was late to the revolution. Her famous article, ""A Bunny's Tale,"" about her debilitating experiences as a Playboy Bunny, was published in the same year as Betty Friedan's seminal The Feminine Mystique, but Steinem's ""click"" did not come until 1969, when she attended a speakout on abortion. From then on, her liberal ideology and her writings began to focus on women. What's new here is a real look at Steinem off the public platform, at the ambitious woman who barred marriage and children from her agenda but used men as access to the next rung of the social ladder. A long list of lovers here runs from the well-connected scion of a musical family to publishing and real-estate mogul Mort Zuckerman. Over the years, Steinem managed to keep most of the lovers as friends. That was tangential to developing herself, with the help of eloquent podium partners, as spokeswoman for the movement. Stern points up that in spite of--or perhaps because of--Steinem's short skirts, iconic hairstyle, possible face-lift, and questionable protestations that good looks have been a hindrance, she is kind, caring, generous, and genuinely dedicated to women's interests. Some of the more touching stories of the formative years have been revealed in Steinem's own books but are told here with a perspective that Glorifies a heroine for the '90s, kohl eyeliner and all.