Affirmative action, says this author, ""ignores the way men have Patriarchalized capitalism and as a consequence the optimism [about it] is poorly grounded."" Which, except for the attendant verbal hoopla, is not a bad observation. However, this rather academic study of sexual discrimination throughout America's history--including some interesting excerpts from Louisa May Alcott essays and a little fashionable Emma Goldman-izing--is often absurdly radical. The way Ms. Farley would have it, men are lurching out of every file drawer to lech after women workers. (Life may be bad, says we, but it ain't as bad as that.) Statements like ""Job segregation by sex is to a large degree sustained by sexual harassment"" are repeated ad nauseam and are backed up with case histories that serve only to weaken her point. One, for example, about a woman who was assaulted in the morning by her boss, and returned after lunch hour to let him carry on, is simply ridiculous. Another, about a radical feminist who was propositioned as a condition to her employment--and who accepted the terms, but was sorry later--is merely flabby. There's a section on legal remedies that may be of help to some women with legitimate complaints, and Ms. Farley has definitely done her homework. But she's barking up a very shaky tree.