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“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.”
— Booklist, starred review
“Buttigieg’s memoir/policy manual has all the signs of a book meant to position a candidate nationally, and his easy movement among and membership in many constituencies (gay, military veteran, liberal, first-generation American, etc.) suggests an interesting political future.”
In his memoir SHORTEST WAY HOME, Pete Buttigieg reminds us just how nuanced politics actually are in the Heartland. Rather than a monolithic “flyover country,” the midwestern voting public can be—as both parties learned in the last elections—stubbornly elusive. Who better to make that point than an openly gay, millennial war veteran serving his second term as Democratic mayor in a Rust Belt state Trump won by 20 percent?
Once described by the Washington Post as “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of” and by the New York Times as “the perfect Democratic candidate,” Pete Buttigieg has swiftly made a name for himself as the visionary mayor of South Bend, Indiana, tasked with the nearly impossible feat of turning around a community declared one of “America’s Dying Cities” in 2011 (Newsweek).
The only child of Maltese-immigrant academic father and a mother with proud Texan roots, Buttigieg was on a trajectory that would take him—like much of his peers in South Bend—away from the Midwest to greener pastures on the coasts. Yet, in spite of an Ivy League education, Rhodes scholarship, and executive-track position with McKinsey, a gnawing desire to better serve the country and his hometown drew him to enlist in the Navy, and then to seek political office back in Indiana.
Deciding to run for Mayor in 2011 at just 29, Buttigieg was an unlikely candidate in many ways, but was also, much like Obama before him and Ocasio-Cortez and Beto to come, a prophet for change: eager to encourage cross-party dialogue and entice big tech business to “Silicon Prairie.”
Winning not just his first term, but reelection in 2015 even after coming out to his constituents, Buttigieg outlines here the deeply humane politics that have guided him through what he may call a homeward spiral but can only really be described as ascendance.
In a political landscape riddled by news-alerts advertising the perils and abuse of public office, it proves refreshing to return to government work at its most stripped down: from canvassing at food fairs across the state and addressing activists protesting the removal of geese with “Quack Lives Matter!” signs, to boldly declaring South Bend an “open city” in the wake of then Governor Mike Pence’s fight for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“I certainly felt,” Buttiegieg observes, “that our region had been ignored and misunderstood, but to me that did not have to lead to this kind of electoral outcome; our own story in South Bend showed that an honest and optimistic politics could resonate just as well in economically challenged communities.”
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.
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.