Broken Patterns

Broken Patterns,  Professional Women and the Quest for a New Feminine Identity, by Anita M. Harris, is a nonfiction book tracing the generational impact of technological change from the Revolutionary War to the late 20th century.  It describes historical, generational, individual and creative development as a spiral in which we advance then retreat,  integrating  positive or troubling aspects of the past in order to move forward in new ways.  (Wayne State University Press, 1995). 


This is a splendid study of professional women–their current dilemmas and choices, as well as an eye-opening history of working women since Puritan times. Anita Harris’ portrait of these women in breathtaking in its complexity. Debates which have become politicized and ideological are handled here with great fairness. We see a larger, richer reality when we encounter these women’s ideas, relationships, and histories.

—-Margot Adler, National Public Radio; author of Drawing Down the Moon


Anita Harris has taken a giant step forward in our understanding of women’s issues around work, and how they relate to the mother-daughter relationship. Her book offers a highly sophisticated historical, social, political and psychological perspective that is new and enlightening to this important topic.

–Irene Pierce Stiver, PhD., Lecturer, Harvard Medical School; Visiting Scholar, Stone Center for Developmental Services, Wellesley College; author, Women’s Growth in Connection. 


A fascinating and provocative loook at the real lives of American women in a time of change. A good read as well as good research.

–Caryl Rivers,  Professor, Boston University;  author, Lifeprints: New Patterns of Love and Work for Today’s Women.