Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future

By Pete Buttigieg

Available

Description

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.

Product Details

Price: $27.95  $25.16
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Published Date: February 12, 2019
Pages: 352
Dimensions: 6.4 X 1.4 X 9.3 inches | 1.35 pounds
ISBN: 9781631494369
BISAC Categories:

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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

[Buttigieg] has an extraordinary story and great insights into the politics of our country.--David Axelrod
Pete Buttigieg has given more to his community and country before his 40th birthday than most of us do over the course of our lives. At every crossroads, he has turned towards service and leveraged his energy and intellect to help his neighbors and fellow citizens. In this book, you will not only learn about what brings Pete home, but what drives him towards his vision of a better, kinder nation.--Joe Kennedy III
In this uplifting coming-of-age memoir from the American heartland, Pete Buttigieg, successful mayor of revitalized South Bend, Indiana, writes that the shortest distance between opportunity and success, 'like good literature, takes personal lived experience as its starting point'--a promising axiom for a prospective national figure.--David Levering Lewis
Readers will find telling insights into the events that shaped Buttigieg's biggest decisions and share a typical day in the mayor's office; relive Buttigieg's tour of duty in Afghanistan (while he was still acting mayor); and understand his angst over being a young, gay public figure trying to get a date (spoiler alert: there's a happy ending!). First and foremost a great, engaging read, this is also an inspiring story of a millennial making a difference.--Kathleen McBroom, Booklist [starred review]
Personal, beguiling and quite moving as he talks about coming out and getting married... The story is told with brisk engagement -- it is difficult not to like him...When Obama wrote his memoir, the idea that the nation would soon put an African-American in the White House seemed beyond the realm of the possible. After reading this memoir written 25 years later, the notion that Buttigieg might be the nation's first openly gay president doesn't feel quite as far-fetched.--Adam Nagourney, New York Times