Book Review – Shortest Way Home

Shortest Way Home
by Pete Buttigieg

With all of the interesting and varied individuals who are (or were) vying to be the Democratic nominee for US President, I felt this was a great time to dive into some of their books.

As a disclaimer, I have not decided who “my” candidate will be – not that it matters, as there is not a defined nominee, yet. I wanted to read these books to learn more about the backgrounds and insights of an individual who feels they are the right person to lead our country.

The first that came available at my library was Shortest Way Home by Pete Buttigieg.

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Shortest Way Home:
One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future
by Pete Buttigieg

Book Description:

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.

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.

My Take:

I really enjoyed this book.

I am fairly certain it is because I found so much in common with Mayor Pete.

He is 2 months older than I am (both born in the snow of 1982) and grew up in the Midwest (he in Indiana, myself in Iowa).

Okay, the similarities ended there, but I was still drawn in to learn his whole story.

As someone who went to Harvard and was a Rhodes Scholar, he reminded us:

Good policy, like good literature, takes personal lived experience at its starting point.

One other thought that has stuck with me after I finished the book was:

Much of the confusion and complication of ideological battles might be washed away if we held our focus on the lives that will be made better or worse by political decisions rather than on the theoretical elegance of the policies or the character of the politicians themselves.

Now, I know an author can put whatever they like in a book. The point of the book is to be sold. But, I do hope that some of the sentiments and ideals throughout Shortest Way Home come to pass and we all do a little better in the coming years.

The Final Verdict

My rating: 4 stars

Would I recommend? Yes


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