Book review: Joseph N. Cayer and Meghna Sabharwal, Public Personnel Administration: Managing Human Capital

Date01 June 2018
Published date01 June 2018
AuthorAriel Arguelles
Subject MatterBook Reviews
322 Book Reviews
Though sovereignty and respecting the Partition placed limits on what could
or could not be said about Indo-Pakistan relations, the statement of Altaf Hussain,
during his visit to Delhi in 2004, had a chilling air to it. Altaf Hussain, the sole
acknowledged leader of the Mohajirs of Pakistan—refugees from Uttar Pradesh
and Bihar—has been living in exile in London since 1991. He ranted, ‘Partition
was a blunder, the greatest tragedy in the history of mankind; it was not a division
of the land but a division of blood.’
While one may agree or disagree, there is no turning away from the unfortunate
reality that the subcontinent has become a potential nuclearised tinderbox, hoping
against hope for it not to be lit. UPA Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s dream
of retaining national identities, having breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and
dinner in Kabul, may remain just that—a dream.
Raghavan is not so despondent, given the cyclical and curious nature of the
narrative. He quotes High Commissioner Natwar Singh during the beginning of
his tenure in Islamabad in 1980, ‘The future lies in the past.’
Well, the unfolding has to be analysed as it is happening. In this stupendously
challenging exercise, Raghavan’s book will stand out as an excellent bibliographic
landmark. The authoritative knowledge from which it flows effortlessly is its hall-
mark. That it does not take sides or pontificate makes it ideal as a reference point
both for policy wonks and for academics, apart from interested citizens who are
keen to dive deep into the past and come out with their own pearls.
It sometimes gets difficult to keep track of the dizzying zigzags of the turbulent
decades but that’s how it has been and hence could not have been recorded any
One looks forward to sequels from Raghavan as he puts pen to a new genre of
absorbing history telling by top-notch insiders.
Tuktuk Ghosh
IAS (Rtd)
Joseph N. Cayer and Meghna Sabharwal, Public Personnel Administration:
Managing Human Capital (6th edition). San Diego, CA: Birkdale
Publishers, 2016, 348 pp. $50–$60 USD.
Understanding the complex dimensions and issues that public personnel managers
face is a relevant, pressing issue. With an increasingly politically polarised society,
it is imperative for scholars of public administration to fully appreciate the various
factors that affect how civil service work is completed in the United States today.
In their sixth edition, the authors of Public Personnel Administration: Managing
Human Capital explore the multifaceted issues that may arise in the civil service
system by describing the overall themes, practices, legislation and issues that
have shaped the civil service system as it is today.
The book is divided into ten chapters. Each chapter provides a brief history
of the topics discussed, a clearly written, detailed explanation of key events and

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