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Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's…

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

by Pete Buttigieg

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1085167,767 (4)4



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Showing 5 of 5
I read this because this presidential candidate is a mayor in my state. His story is fascinating. He’s a millennial, went to Harvard, is gay, is a veteran, his father is from Malta, and much more. Somehow none of those elements define him. Each one adds to the way he sees the world which gives him a diverse outlook. The writing was crisp and kept me interested throughout. I loved reading about a politician my own age who has accomplished so much. ( )
  bookworm12 | Jun 7, 2019 |
This is a fine memoir of a successful young man as far as it goes, but for the life of me I can't imagine why he is wasting his time running for POTUS. Maybe try governor or senator first? ( )
  kcshankd | Jun 2, 2019 |
Pearl Ruled #6 (p157)

Rating: 3* of five because it's not a *bad* book, just terminally boring to me

Pearl Ruled (p157)

Buttigieg had a dull, ordinary childhood in a dull, dying flyover-country town that nobody much has heard of. His fancy-pants parents, liberal college professors at Notre Dame, gave him all the love and attention any kid could ask for; his friends and he did the usual kid things; he was a high flyer from teenage on in everyone's eyes. He's succeeded at being the kind of politician that should be the norm not the exception: Focused on results, compromising what he can to get what we all need.

If Mayor Pete can get elected Governor of Indiana and do a creditable job there for a while, I'd vote for him in 2028. Until then, his earnest, dull, somewhat stodgy little self can stop sucking up oxygen from candidates better prepared to be President than he is just now. Go campaign for the ones ready for the job, Mayor Pete.

The book is like the man: Worthy, stodgy, informative and neatly dressed. In a very heteronormative way. That's not my jam, and I am about ready to scream from the boring, so I'm out...but don't let my Eastern-Elite snobbery turn you off. Unless, of course, you share it; in which case don't put yourself through it.

This Los Angeles Review of Books piece by Harrison Hill (an MFA graduate of Columbia University with literary publishing credits) takes a much, much more positive view of this book, and of Mayor Pete's political chances, than I do. The core of the author's argument seems to me to be in this paragraph:
Of course, this shouldn’t have to be the case: Buttigieg, or any other candidate, should be “allowed” to be as stereotypically gay as they like. But we’re kidding ourselves if we see Buttigieg’s capacity for heterosexual identification as anything but politically useful. Though it may be painful to acknowledge that Buttigieg’s capacity to “read” as straight serves him electorally, well, it does; and if Barack Obama was the right person to make portions of white America comfortable voting for a black man, perhaps Pete Buttigieg is equally well positioned to pull a similar feat with the country’s straight electorate. He’s the transitional figure we need.
Yeah, well, he needs a fatter electoral resume to get my primary support, although as a human being and a politician I am all for his continued pursuit of elective office. Just not the presidency of the US.

Then there's the lesbian perspective LARB must offer offered by Peggy O'Donnell, since goodness knows we mustn't let the QUILTBAGgers speak with one voice, perish forbid, They might develop a sense of their power as a unified voting and social bloc!, and then where would straight people be poor lambs having to live in a world defined by Other Than Us. (My empathy is not engaged, if you're feeling a bit slow today.) Her more practical take is more in line with my own view:
Readers looking for radical politics or concrete solutions in the pages of Shortest Way Home may be disappointed. Buttigieg’s insistence on patience as our neighbors become accustomed to ideas like gay marriage may leave many cold, reasonably chafing at being told to wait until older conservatives come around to recognizing their full humanity. But the state of politics in 2019 might be such that simply framing inequality or discrimination as problems is enough of a relief that one need not have a solution in hand.
Basically one is on death watch for the Boomers (me among them) before change can happen. Yeah. And sadly we're going to clutter the planet up in unprecedented numbers for far longer than earlier generations. Why is Biden even *mentioned* as a viable candidate? He FAILED to get the Democratic Party's nomination to run for the presidency the previous two times (1988, 2008) he tried. Well, of course he is: There are many Boomers looking at his wrinkly white male puss and thinking, "yeah, I could do that job so he can too."
No, you can NOT do that job and he can't either. O'Donnell points out in her review of this book that she, like most millennials (adults not yet 40), has experiences like Mayor Pete's of building logical instead of merely biological families and calling Home a moving target...Mayor Pete's Navy career after Harvard, then coming home after 10 years away...that is not shared by the majority of Boomers. In fact, Boomers simply can't relate to millennials for some fundamental reasons:
The economic crisis that coincided with millennials’ early adulthood shattered a foundational tenet of the American dream: that each of us controlled our own destiny. For the United States’s young adults, the path home that Buttigieg lays out — returning to a hometown and finding professional opportunity and social acceptance, or simply feeling enough stability and certainty to put down roots somewhere, anywhere — may well read like a path to the future.
And that's the world that needs governing. I think Senator Elizabeth Warren needs to be given the chance to do so, since she has a plan for the concerns millennials face first: Student loan debt. It's Mayor Pete's failing that there aren't plans attached to his vision, and O'Donnell identifies why that matters so much. ( )
  richardderus | May 24, 2019 |
I sure like what Buttigieg says in interviews (as a FB friend said, I want him as press secretary). Buttigieg is a smart guy who’s checked a lot of neoliberal boxes—he was a McKinsey consultant! He’s clearly a hardworking mayor; one of the most interesting parts is his growing understanding of the symbolic importance of showing up and talking to his constituents. He walks a fine line discussing his coming out, when he was already mayor, without revealing intimate details beyond that he used dating apps. But judged by the book, he doesn’t show the thoughtfulness of Obama, the intellectual firepower and passion of Warren, or the moral focus of Harris, which keeps him from rising for me right now. ( )
  rivkat | Apr 19, 2019 |
Great story about a promising young man who is in the hunt for the Presidency. Having lived in South Bend for 4 years 50 years ago and visiting it regularly today, I can attest to his accomplishments. ( )
1 vote Doondeck | Mar 19, 2019 |
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Publisher Annotation: A mayor?s inspirational story of a Midwest city that has become nothing less than a blueprint for the future of American renewal. 352pp., 30K

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