NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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 narrativesthat of a young man coming of age and a town regaining its economic vitalityButtigieg 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 consultantbecoming, 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 though attention to the everyday.” As Shortest Way Home recalls, the challenges were dauntingwhether 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 storiesthat 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.
|Publisher:||Liveright Publishing Corporation|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Navy veteran, Buttigieg was educated at Harvard and Oxford. He and his husband, Chasten
Glezman, live in South Bend, Indiana.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The South Bend I Grew Up In 3
Chapter 2 City on a Hill 35
Chapter 3 Analytics 54
Chapter 4 The Volunteers 67
Chapter 5 "Meet Pete" 79
Chapter 6 A Fresh Start for South Bend 104
Chapter 7 Monday Morning: A Tour 129
Chapter 8 The Celebrant and the Mourner 145
Chapter 9 A Plan, and Not Quite Enough Time 158
Chapter 10 Talent, Purpose, and the Smartest Sewers in the World 172
Chapter 11 Subconscious Operations 184
Chapter 12 Brushfire on the Silicon Prairie 201
Chapter 13 Hitting Home 218
Chapter 14 Dirt Sailor 233
Chapter 15 "The War's Over" 245
Chapter 16 Becoming One Person 264
Chapter 17 Becoming Whole 284
Chapter 18 Slow-Motion Chase 305
Chapter 19 Not "Again" 322
Illustration Credits 335
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Have read only at 10 pages, but love his writing style. He has been on a couple of CNN and MSNBC and he's is a star speaker. None of the doublespeak familiar to politicians.
An insightful telling of the revival of a city and the young man who found himself while serving as its mayor. The story kept me interested and I became more impressed with Mayor Pete with every page.
Wonderful writing style. Humor, clarity and interesting story of a stagnant, struggling City in the rust belt midwest and the impact one person with a visiion can have through conviction and surroundng himselfwith the right people and negotiating through pitfalls. Worth the read.
Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future by Pete Buttigieg After following Mayor Pete through social media and watching his historic announcement for the presidential campaign, I was intrigued about what makes the man tick. I obviously thought reading his book would give me an answer. What kind of life demands a memoir at age 37? I pondered. As I was drawn to the book, it soon became clear that it was a way to introduce himself to the country more than a memoir. The book is narrated from the first person point of view. I was amazed that the word "gay" did not even show up until chapter 16. Growing up, listing his achievements, his view on life, and the fact that all politics are local took the large portion of the book. I suppose Mayor Pete is trying to present himself as a presidential candidate who just happens to be gay, and not as a gay candidate running for president. I suppose that gives him the right to bore us with the daily routines of running the city of South Bend, as if it was a lecture on how to become mayor to a small Midwestern City. The book did not become real to me until the mayor talks about his deployment to Afghanistan and the concept of a "war that is lost." His vision of why we will not win the war--the lack of will to press Pakistan to stop aiding the Taliban--and the meaning of how war ends were the first appealing moments of the book. I was particularly moved by his take on the "1918 armistice" which ended WWI. It was signed on November 11, 1918, at 5 am, but was not to take hold until 11 am that day. He talks about the lives lost between 5 am and 11 am that day--the last lost life was at 10:59 am. The meaning of those lives lost after the war ended is, to me, a metaphor for what is now going in Iraq and Afghanistan. On chapter 16, when he deals with his sexuality, I was reminded of my own struggles over 30 years ago. I too stayed in the closet for as long as I could and did not fully come out until I was 40. I supposed that that was then, but it's amazing to be reminded what it is to "come out" in a small conservative place. I am also reminded that even today, it's perfectly legal to be fired, evicted, or denied food or accommodation in 30 states in the US just for being LGBTQ: reason enough to stay in the closet. Which is why the Equality Act needs to be in the platform of the Democratic Party. The remaining chapters are the basis for his running. The Democratic Party has forgotten about the fly over areas of the country. It has given up on the "red" states and on our values. It's time to reclaim religion/values, freedom, and security from the far right. It's time to move forward and process the fact that we can't go back. Hope lies in the future, and in the younger generation. It's time to pass the baton to younger leaders who, whether we like it or not, are the ones who will inherit the mess we're making of our planet. I wish him well and even if he does not get to be president, I hope that his message gets acknowledged, just like Bernie Sanders' did in 2016.
Excellent read--story moves along from key moment to the next. The most amazing part is the revelation--not visible from TV appearances, of the geek who lives on crunching numbers and data, and must remind himself to be human. Not at all what you'd expect from a political candidate, but gripping to read of his growth and development from one learning situation to another.
This is a well written and very readable book. The biographical account of a young mayor of South Bend, Indiana who enlightens the reader on the problems of the Rustbelt cities of the Midwest and the challenges they face. This book also includes both an account of his personal life and also the political stories locally and nationally. One finds this author extremely talented as an author, an exceptional scholar, personable and with a youthful, perceptive outlook on life. This book is a hard book to put down