Shortest Way Home

One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future

Pete Buttigieg (Author)

Logo markA Liveright book


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-six-year-old Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has improbably emerged as one of the nation’s most visionary politicians. First elected in 2011, Buttigieg left a successful business career to move back to his hometown, previously tagged by Newsweek as a “dying city,” because the industrial Midwest beckoned as a challenge to the McKinsey-trained Harvard graduate. Whether meeting with city residents on middle-school basketball courts, reclaiming abandoned houses, confronting gun violence, or attracting high-tech industry, Buttigieg has transformed South Bend into a shining model of urban reinvention.

While Washington reels with scandal, Shortest Way Home interweaves two once-unthinkable success stories: that of an Afghanistan veteran who came out and found love and acceptance, all while in office, and that of a Rust Belt city so thoroughly transformed that it shatters the way we view America’s so-called flyover country.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • February 2019
  • ISBN 978-1-63149-436-9
  • 6.4 × 9.6 in / 352 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Personal, beguiling and quite moving as he talks about coming out and getting married… The story is told with brisk engagement — it is difficult not to like him…When Obama wrote his memoir, the idea that the nation would soon put an African-American in the White House seemed beyond the realm of the possible. After reading this memoir written 25 years later, the notion that Buttigieg might be the nation’s first openly gay president doesn’t feel quite as far-fetched.” — Adam Nagourney, New York Times

“The young mayor of South Bend, Indiana, now in his second term, explains what mayors do and offers ideas for the country as a whole. . . . 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. For the moment, a valuable rejoinder to like-minded books by Daniel Kemmis, Mitch Landrieu, and other progressive city-scale CEOs.” — Kirkus Reviews

“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.” — Kathleen McBroom, Booklist [starred review]

“[Buttigieg] has an extraordinary story and great insights into the politics of our country.” — David Axelrod

“Combining candor and compassion with a brilliant understanding of how government can be more effective, Shortest Way Home demonstrates that Pete Buttigieg is not only a key political figure in his generation, but also an appealing and even funny writer. Far from a conventional politician's book, his work is an important entry in the American political tradition for the twenty-first century.” — Walter Isaacson

“Pete Buttigieg has given more to his community and country before his 40th birthday than most of us do over the course of our lives. At every crossroads, he has turned towards service and leveraged his energy and intellect to help his neighbors and fellow citizens. In this book, you will not only learn about what brings Pete home, but what drives him towards his vision of a better, kinder nation.” — Joe Kennedy III

“In this uplifting coming-of-age memoir from the American heartland, Pete Buttigieg, successful mayor of revitalized South Bend, Indiana, writes that the shortest distance between opportunity and success, ‘like good literature, takes personal lived experience as its starting point’—a promising axiom for a prospective national figure.” — David Levering Lewis