The book "The Career Mystique: Cracks in the American Dream," co-authored by Dr. Patricia Roehling of the Hope College psychology faculty, has received a national award for being "the best of the best."

The book has received the 2005 "Award for Excellence in Professional and Scholarly Publishing" given by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division (PSP) of the Association of American Publishers (AAP). "The Career Mystique" was honored as the year's best book in the category of Sociology and Social Work.

AAP presented awards in 30 categories for outstanding books, journals and digital projects covering a wide range of academic disciplines. The awards were announced on Tuesday, Feb. 7, during the PSP Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The winners were chosen by a nine-member expert panel consisting of librarians, academics and working publishers.

"Being recognized for excellence is always an honor," said Pat Schroeder, who is president and chief executive officer of the AAP. "But when that recognition comes from your peers, the honor is truly significant. The award winners in each category were selected for their unique contribution to scholarly publishing and are considered by our panel of judges to be the best of the best for 2005."

Roehling co-wrote "The Career Mystique," which was published by the Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group Inc. of Lanham, Md., with Dr. Phyllis Moen of the University of Minnesota. The two authors examine the disconnect between the demands of a career and the structure of American society.

The book's title is inspired by the name of Betty Friedan's 1963 book "The Feminine Mystique," which challenged society's assumption that women should find complete fulfillment by devoting themselves solely to duties of the home. While the expectations for women have changed in the years since, Roehling and Moen say, the "career mystique" has not evolved accordingly.

The "career mystique," they say, assumes intense devotion to full-time employment as the route to success. They note, however, that such commitment comes into conflict with the very real needs that workers also face at home, particularly in single-parent households or in households where both parents are employed outside the home. Further, they say, the full-time career track also leaves little room for retirees who might like to stay working on a part-time basis.

West Michigan residents recently had an opportunity to learn more about the topic from the author herself. Roehling made a presentation on the book on Saturday, Feb. 4, during the college's annual Winter Happening, which featured six seminars led by members of the Hope faculty.

Roehling is a professor of psychology and chairperson of the department, and has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1987. She also served, from 1997 to 1999, as the director of research at the Cornell University Employment and Family Careers Institute.

She completed her B.A. at the University of Michigan in 1980, and completed her M.A. and Ph.D. at Wayne State University in 1984 and 1986 respectively.