System under Stress

System under Stress : The Challenge to 21st Century Governance

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In System under Stress, The Challenge to 21st Century Democracy, Third Edition, Donald F. Kettl looks at the latest stress to hit the system-the financial crisis of 2008. In his brief, gripping narrative, Kettl assesses how well the U.S. political system responds under extraordinary pressure-from 9/11, to Hurricane Katrina, to the Great Recession- and asks if the government is ready to face that next challenge. A well-known scholar, commentator, and writer in the areas of federalism and governance, Kettl asks the hard questions, makes a credible and persuasive argument, and crafts a readable case study that is fascinating and thought-provoking.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 10.16mm | 300g
  • CQ Press
  • Washington, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 3rd Revised edition
  • 1452239908
  • 9781452239903
  • 3,017,632

Table of contents

1. Policy Lightning
2. Coordination Dilemmas
3. Reshaping the Bureaucracy
4. Federalism Jumble
5. The Political Costs of Managing Risk
6. Balancing Liberty with Protection
7. Goldfish Bowls
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Review quote

"I think the greatest strength of the text is as a case study that applies policy and administrative studies to a pivotal time in American history. These events were so news-worthy that every individual easily has a firm background on the cases and integrating these cases with theories of the policy process is quite beneficial for those new to the subject. Including the recent financial crisis is quite beneficial and not only provides an updated example of crisis, but also helps readers understand that crisis may come in many forms." -- Matthew Jones "System under Stress offers useful and engaging cases, bringing alive bureaucratic politics. The mixture of detailed case-study facts with probing and thought-provoking questions make System under Stress a brief text that conveys a great deal. I appreciate the analogies to 'health' and how the bureaucracy must act in a way to keep things in check, even though it does not control many of the factors that influence 'the patient.' It's a great way to conceptualize the system. I appreciate the addition of the financial crisis. Katrina, terrorism, and financial malfeasance are all very different, but have many of the same impacts on the system. It is instructive for students to see how such different phenomena can result in similar stresses." -- Bryan Brophy-Baermann "One of the book's many strengths is the way it brings an analytic focus to recent events. It does so in an engaging way, with the book overall written extremely well. And the emphasis on the role of political institutions is right on target." -- Charles Shipan
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About Donald F. Kettl

Donald F. Kettl is the Sid Richardson Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Volcker Alliance and the Brookings Institution.

Kettl is the author or editor of numerous books, including The Divided States of America: Why Federalism Doesn't Work (2020); The Politics of the Administrative Process (8th edition, 2020); Can Governments Earn Our Trust? (2017); Little Bites of Big Data for Public Policy (2017); Escaping Jurassic Government: Restoring America's Lost Commitment to Competence (2016); System under Stress: The Challenge to 21st Century American Democracy Homeland Security and American Politics (2014); The Next Government of the United States: Why Our Institutions Fail Us and How to Fix Them (2008); and The Global Public Management Revolution (2005).

He has received three lifetime achievement awards: the American Political Science Association's John Gaus Award, for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in political science and public administration; the Warner W. Stockberger Achievement Award of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, for outstanding contributions in the field of public sector personnel management; and the Donald C. Stone Award of the American Society for Public Administration, for significant contributions to field of intergovernmental relations.

Three of his books have received national best-book awards. Kettl has twice won the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration for the best book published in public administration: The Transformation of Governance (2002); and System under Stress: Homeland Security and American Politics (2005). His book, Escaping Jurassic Government: How to Recover America's Lost Commitment to Competence, won the 2016 award for book of the year from the American Society for Public Administration.

Kettl holds a PhD in political science from Yale University. Prior to his appointment at the University of Texas at Austin, he taught at the University of Maryland, where he served as Dean of the School of Public Policy. He has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a fellow of Phi Beta Kappa and the National Academy of Public Administration.

Kettl has consulted broadly for government organizations at all levels, in the United States and abroad, including most recently the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He has appeared frequently in national and international media, including National Public Radio, the Fox News Channel, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" and "The Situation Room," the Huffington Post, as well as public television's News Hour and the BBC. He is a regular columnist for Governing magazine, which is read by state and local government officials around the country. He chaired two gubernatorial blue-ribbon commissions for the Wisconsin state government, one on campaign finance reform and the other on government structure and finance.

Kettl is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers, along with his wife, Sue.
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Rating details

56 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 29% (16)
4 36% (20)
3 30% (17)
2 4% (2)
1 2% (1)
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