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

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

by Pete Buttigieg

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"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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631494376
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 02/12/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 12,334
File size: 5 MB

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.

Table of Contents

I Remembering

Chapter 1 The South Bend I Grew Up In 3

II Learning

Chapter 2 City on a Hill 35

Chapter 3 Analytics 54

III Campaigning

Chapter 4 The Volunteers 67

Chapter 5 "Meet Pete" 79

Chapter 6 A Fresh Start for South Bend 104

IV Governing

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

V Meeting

Chapter 12 Brushfire on the Silicon Prairie 201

Chapter 13 Hitting Home 218

VI Becoming

Chapter 14 Dirt Sailor 233

Chapter 15 "The War's Over" 245

Chapter 16 Becoming One Person 264

Chapter 17 Becoming Whole 284

VII Building

Chapter 18 Slow-Motion Chase 305

Chapter 19 Not "Again" 322

Acknowledgments 331

Illustration Credits 335

Index 337

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Shortest Way Home: One Mayor?s Challenge and a Model for America?s Future 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Pete tells a great story of an eventful life in many aspects. I write this review having just finished the book, and the whole book has its merits, but the last hundred pages reflect an author who has an extremely good understanding of the life he, and others, lead, and how those lives are affected by decisions made by government officials. I think this is a book that people on all sides of the political spectrum should read, as it talks about the benefits of civil discourse, and the drawbacks of political extremism and isolation on both sides. The books starts off a little slowly getting introduced, as many books do, but after getting acquainted with Pete and his writing, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Anonymous 9 months ago
It is an exciting story written at several levels. The author writes well with his knowledge of literature and music as a backdrop to his experience in academics, consulting, deployment, and public service. His love of South Bend shines through the book. His coming out story and family acceptance is a delight and joy. Thanks Pete, for writing this book! It was a page turner and a heart warming experience. Very grateful. Sandy
Mark Goecke More than 1 year ago
The book is a matter of fact look at Pete's management style, the experiences that led him to believe and act the way he does, and the societal and personal forces that formed his outlook and views. The author provides the motivation for his opinions and provides this own lessons learned for his professional and personal trial and error, some of which were positive and some, negative. Toward the end of book he constructively discusses his personal struggles that he faced daily and his realization for the choice he can no longer avoid. He finds contentment in owning who he is. The book is a good look at the inner thoughts of a presidential candidate and his reasoning for the choices he makes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fritz409 More than 1 year ago
I first came upon Pete Buttigieg through a couple of podcast interviews. The things that he said resonated with me, so I in turn went on-line and found his town hall and a couple of more interviews he had on television. No matter what they threw at him, his answers were thoughtful, insightful, and authentic. He never once dodged a question or tried to talk around his answer with a lot of meaningless words. I couldn't help but wonder, "Who is this guy?" Well, this book tells us about that guy. Everything you see today, his humble nature, his intelligence, his ability to break down complex things in a way that can convey his deep thinking to everyday people, his passion and concern for others, it's all there in this book. We get to see how his upbringing, his education, his military history, his dedication to public service have made him the man that I would like to see as President of the United States. This is a wonderful life story, written by a 30+ man, who has already done some great things. I initially started to read our library's copy of the book, but within 20 pages I ordered my own copy because I knew that I would be going back to this book time and time again.
carlosmock More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
jasonbradford1 More than 1 year ago
Yokahama More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written pages telling of a young boys love of his family, friends,neighborhood of south bend indiana, and later his accomplishment to mayor with his ideas and ideals of value as a young man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago