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

Liveright: Norton. Feb. 2019. 352p. notes. index. ISBN 9781631494369. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631494376. POL SCI
As mayor of his hometown of South Bend, IN, Buttigieg used his experiences as a business analyst, naval intelligence officer, Harvard graduate, and Rhodes Scholar to reinvent what had once been described as a dying city. Now in his late 30s, the author tells how he followed an unpredictable path back to his roots and details his journey into politics. His first campaign experience was to run for Indiana state treasurer in 2010. Following that unsuccessful campaign, Buttigieg decided to run for mayor of South Bend. In this role, he faced the challenges of mostly empty storefronts and long-abandoned and deteriorating industrial structures. Along the way, as a navy reserve lieutenant, Buttigieg was deployed to Afghanistan for seven months as a counterterrorism specialist while his deputy mayor filled in for him in South Bend. At the end of his deployment, Buttigieg decided to be honest about his sexuality, marrying his partner, Chasten Glezman, in 2018.
VERDICT Buttigieg, a rising political star who was reelected mayor in 2016, offers an engaging story and guidance for nontraditional approaches to municipal leadership. Readers interested in politics, urban planning, and coming-of-age stories will especially enjoy this personal history.

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