Trust is essential to the foundation of America's democracy, asserts Pete Buttigieg, the former presidential candidate and South Bend mayor. Yet, in a century warped by terrorism, financial collapse, Trumpist populism, systemic racism, and now a global pandemic, trust has been squandered, sacrificed, abused, stolen, or never properly built in the first place. And now, more so than ever before, Americans must work side by side to reckon with the monumental challenges posed by our present moment.
Interweaving history, political philosophy, and affecting passages of memoir, Buttigieg explores the strong relationship between measures of prosperity and levels of social trust. He provides an impassioned account of a threefold crisis of trust: in our institutions, in each other, and in the American project itself. Today, these perilous patterns of distrust have wreaked havoc on nearly every sector of society, as Americans increasingly resent the very government that needs to be part of the solution. With the internet and partisan television networks acting as accelerants, Americans jettison any sense of shared reality, lose confidence in experts and scientists, and cope with the grim national tragedy of a pandemic that has only further exemplified the lethality of distrust.
Buttigieg contends that our success, or failure, at confronting the greatest challenges of the decade--racial and economic justice, pandemic resilience, and climate action--will rest on whether we can effectively cultivate, deepen, and, where necessary, repair the networks of trust that are now endangered, or for so many, have never even existed.
An urgent call to foster an "American way of trust" at this painfully polarized juncture in the nation's history, Trust is a direct reckoning with the prevailing corruption of social responsibility. Yet refusing to give in to the despair that threatens our foundations, Trust seeks to inspire Americans to build a powerful movement that will define all of us in the years to come.
Shedding some personal light, Buttigieg recounts a few memorable lessons he has learned during both his military and political career. For example, he shows how establishing trust was imperative to the success of his life-threatening duties as a military driver in Afghanistan. The author also gives plenty of attention to the gross injustices that have occurred under the Trump administration, many of which serve as cases in point for why our trust in government has eroded so much.... An eloquent call to action for socially conscious citizens to get involved in restoring essential networks of trust.--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
The book offers further proof, were it needed, that the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, also a former presidential candidate, has the most interesting political mind since Barack Obama.--Charles Kaiser "The Guardian"
Praise for Pete Buttigieg's Shortest Way Home:
"The best American political autobiography since Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father." --Charles Kaiser, Guardian
"Buttigieg's stirring, honest, and often beautiful book is . . . an argument for what it means to answer a calling, and why it's important to ask, again and again, 'what each of us owes to the country.'" --Jill Lepore, The New Yorker
"Combining candor and compassion with a brilliant understanding of how government can be more effective. . . [Pete Buttigieg's] work is an important entry in the American political tradition for the twenty-first century." --Walter Isaacson