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Shortest Way Home
Cover of Shortest Way Home
Shortest Way Home
One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "The best American political autobiography since Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father." —Charles Kaiser, The Guardian A mayor's inspirational story of a Midwest city...
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "The best American political autobiography since Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father." —Charles Kaiser, The Guardian A mayor's inspirational story of a Midwest city...
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  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
    "The best American political autobiography since Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father." —Charles Kaiser, The Guardian

    A mayor's inspirational story of a Midwest city that has become nothing less than a blueprint for the future of American renewal.

    Once described by the Washington Post as "the most interesting mayor you've never heard of," Pete Buttigieg, the thirty-seven-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has now emerged as one of the nation's most visionary politicians. With soaring prose that celebrates a resurgent American Midwest, Shortest Way Home narrates the heroic transformation of a "dying city" (Newsweek) into nothing less than a shining model of urban reinvention.

    Interweaving two narratives—that of a young man coming of age and a town regaining its economic vitality—Buttigieg recounts growing up in a Rust Belt city, amid decayed factory buildings and the steady soundtrack of rumbling freight trains passing through on their long journey to Chicagoland. Inspired by John F. Kennedy's legacy, Buttigieg first left northern Indiana for red-bricked Harvard and then studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, before joining McKinsey, where he trained as a consultant—becoming, of all things, an expert in grocery pricing. Then, Buttigieg defied the expectations that came with his pedigree, choosing to return home to Indiana and responding to the ultimate challenge of how to revive a once-great industrial city and help steer its future in the twenty-first century.

    Elected at twenty-nine as the nation's youngest mayor, Pete Buttigieg immediately recognized that "great cities, and even great nations, are built through attention to the everyday." As Shortest Way Home recalls, the challenges were daunting—whether confronting gun violence, renaming a street in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., or attracting tech companies to a city that had appealed more to junk bond scavengers than serious investors. None of this is underscored more than Buttigieg's audacious campaign to reclaim 1,000 houses, many of them abandoned, in 1,000 days and then, even as a sitting mayor, deploying to serve in Afghanistan as a Navy officer. Yet the most personal challenge still awaited Buttigieg, who came out in a South Bend Tribune editorial, just before being reelected with 78 percent of the vote, and then finding Chasten Glezman, a middle-school teacher, who would become his partner for life.

    While Washington reels with scandal, Shortest Way Home, with its graceful, often humorous, language, challenges our perception of the typical American politician. In chronicling two once-unthinkable stories—that of an Afghanistan veteran who came out and found love and acceptance, all while in office, and that of a revitalized Rust Belt city no longer regarded as "flyover country"—Buttigieg provides a new vision for America's shortest way home.

About the Author-

  • Pete Buttigieg, born in Indiana in 1982, is currently serving his second term as mayor of South Bend. A dynamic national lecturer and TEDx speaker, as well as a Rhodes Scholar and Navy veteran, Buttigieg was educated at Harvard and Oxford. He and his husband, Chasten Glezman, live in South Bend, Indiana.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2018

    A Harvard-educated Rhodes scholar and U.S. Navy veteran, Buttigieg abandoned a successful career to return to his home state and was elected mayor of South Bend, IN, in 2011. Now he's helping the city reclaim abandoned houses, counter gun violence, and pull in high-tech industry. With a ten-city tour.

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 29, 2018
    Buttigieg, mayor and native of South Bend, Ind., manifests a decent, positive, and reflective presence in this upbeat and readable memoir, which follows a career path that recently landed him on the short list for chair of the Democratic National Committee at the age of 36. In seven sections, the narrative retraces his life so far: after Catholic school, Buttigieg attended Harvard, where the Institute of Politics afforded him the chance to observe some leaders and public servants up close, and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. These academic credentials led to a job with McKinsey & Company after a stint campaigning for John Kerry in 2004, during which he cultivated a taste for public office and enlisted in the Navy Reserves. Three years into his first mayoral term, he was called up for a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan in 2013, which spurred new insights on being of service and on foreign relations. After his service, he came out to his parents and then the city (via a newspaper editorial) and met and married his husband, Chasten, about whose family he writes warmly. In the final section, he discusses how “obvious” it seems to him that “economic fairness and racial inclusion could resonate very well in the industrial Midwest.” Buttigieg’s memoir is an appealing introduction of its author to a larger potential constituency.

  • Kirkus

    November 15, 2018
    The young mayor of South Bend, Indiana, now in his second term, explains what mayors do and offers ideas for the country as a whole.Being a mayor, writes Buttigieg--"Budda-judge," he writes of the phonetics, "was close enough and easier to remember than any other way we could think to write it down"--is a constant, grueling act of juggling constituencies while being sure they all have access so they can express their viewpoints and concerns. So it was in the matter of a seemingly small order of mayoral business: namely, renaming a South Bend street to honor Martin Luther King Jr. The city had one such street already, but it was less than a mile long and had no buildings along its route that bore its address. It would have been easy enough to act by fiat, writes the author, but opening the door to comment meant that every proposed renaming "met a new angle of resistance." Enter lawyers, business owners, residents, and assorted other people before a downtown street, one of many bearing the name of a patron saint, was finally designated. It took four years, writes Buttigieg, "or twenty, depending on how you start the clock." The process may have been painful, but in the end, it was successful and had a happy ending. Not so with every episode the author recounts. As he astutely notes, handling a mayorship and the challenges of reckoning with the "primacy of the everyday" can be like "changing channels every five minutes between The Wire, Parks and Recreation, and, occasionally, Veep." Buttigieg's memoir/policy manual has all the signs of a book meant to position a candidate nationally, and his easy movement among and membership in many constituencies (gay, military veteran, liberal, first-generation American, etc.) suggests an interesting political future.For the moment, a valuable rejoinder to like-minded books by Daniel Kemmis, Mitch Landrieu, and other progressive city-scale CEOs.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future
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