'The best American political biography since Obama's Dreams from My Father' GuardianNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERA 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.
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The best American political autobiography since Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father.... Buttigieg writes unusually well for a politician.... Is it too much to imagine that America could elect a gay president? I don't think so.... Especially a man like this. - The Guardian
Combining candor and compassion with a brilliant understanding of how government can be more effective, Shortest Way Home demonstrates that Pete Buttigieg is not only a key political figure in his generation, but also an appealing and even funny writer. Far from a conventional politician's book, his work is an important entry in the American political tradition for the twenty-first century.
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. - New York Times
In a sense, Buttigieg's book is a kind of antidote to J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, a story of broken people in a broken place.... This is a comeback story of a place that got hit hard, survived and then began thriving again.... It's entirely true that a leap from mayor to president has been impossible in the past. But these pages make a pretty good case that city halls just might be better training schools for the presidency than attendance at any five years of congressional hearings combined. - Washington Post
Mika and I have been overwhelmed by the reaction Pete Buttigieg got after being on the show. The only other time in twelve years that we heard from as many people about a guest was after Barack Obama appeared on Morning Joe. - MSNBC's Morning Joe
The field of Democrats running for President is enormous, but Buttigieg stands out for a few reasons. He's a Navy veteran, born and raised in the city he governs, so you could say that he has real heartland credibility. He's also the first gay Presidential candidate with a real shot at the nomination. Buttigieg is a millennial who graduated high school in the year 2000 and, if elected, would be the youngest President by far. - The New Yorker
[Buttigieg] has an extraordinary story and great insights into the politics of our country.