The Promise of Public Service  book cover
1st Edition

The Promise of Public Service

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 15, 2022
ISBN 9781032209876
April 15, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
336 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

SAVE $13.49
was $44.95
USD $31.46

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

In the United States, new government employees begin their careers by pledging their allegiance to the Constitution and by committing to conscientious service dedicated to solving public problems. But what do public servants get in return? For many, a chance to serve provides public servants with a higher purpose as well as professional and personal meaning in their lives and careers. In The Promise of Public Service: Ideas and Examples for Effective Service, Michael M. Stahl, a forty-year veteran in the executive and legislative branches of state and federal service, explores what makes public servants effective by offering useful ideas and examining the accomplishments of public servants throughout American history. The book blends practical ideas and illustrative profiles as Stahl reflects seriously on theoretical frameworks, skillfully synthesizing practical experience with rigorous theoretical and conceptual analysis. Undergraduate and graduate level courses will benefit from The Promise of Public Service as a resource, and practitioners of public service in all its forms will benefit from these ideas and examples at any stage of their careers.

Table of Contents

Part I. Ideas for Effective Public Service 

1. Introduction: The Oath and the Opportunity 

2. The Attitude of a Public Servant 

3. The Practitioner’s Philosophy: Creating Public Value, Solving Public Problems 

4. Implementing Public Policy and Using Networks 

5. Performance-Based Management: An Opportunity Squandered 

6. Government’s Greatest Achievements 

7. Qualities Needed by Future Public Servants Part II. Examples for Effective Public Service: Profiles of Public Service Heroes 

Part II. Examples for Effective Public Service: Profiles of Public Service Heroes 

8. Abraham Lincoln, Keeping the Union Together 

9. Frederick Douglass, Prophet of Freedom 

10. Ida B. Wells, Journalist Documenting Racial Injustice 

11. Upton Sinclair, Muckraking Author 

12. Alice Paul, Fighting for Women’s Voting Rights 

13. Harry Truman, Plain-Spoken President 

14. Frances Perkins, Champion of the New Deal 

15. George Marshall, Rescuing and Restoring Europe 

16. Martin Luther King, Jr., Warrior for Economic Justice 

17. Robert Kennedy, Beacon of Hope 

18. Sergio Vieira De Mello, Diplomat in Harm’s Way 

19. Rachel Carson, Mother of a Movement 

Epilogue: Public Service in the Time of President Trump

View More



Michael M. Stahl is 40-year veteran of public service in the legislative and executive branches in state and federal government in the U.S. He led organizations ranging from 10 to 3,100 people, managing programs to provide grants and loans to schools for asbestos abatement, ensuring compliance with all environmental laws, and working with international partners to solve environmental problems in other countries and regions of the world. He taught for almost 20 years as an Adjunct Faculty member in the Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) Program at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He was awarded both the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award and the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award by the U.S. government, and the Distinguished Career Service Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He has authored several articles on public administration, including most recently, Sustaining the Public Service Mentality, and New Imperatives for Public Managers. He holds an MPA from the University of Missouri, a Leadership Coaching Certificate from Georgetown University, and is the CEO of Stahl Strategic, LLC, a coaching and consulting firm in Staunton, Virginia.