Iowa 2020 Book Club Review: Pete Buttigieg’s Shortest Way Home

By Andrea Phillips

May 16, 2019

From IDP Vice Chair Andrea Phillips, who organized this year’s 2020 book club.

Iowa Democrats take their role in vetting the 2020 presidential candidates seriously. I started a book club to read the books of all of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, and over 500 people have joined so far from all across Iowa (plus over 250 people from 39 other states). Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be joining us for the discussion of his book the evening of Friday, May 17, and all are welcome to attend, even if you haven’t read the book!

We’d love to have you join us! Congressman Delaney, Senator Gillibrand, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Warren, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, Governor Inslee, Governor Hickenlooper, and Senator Bennet will also be participating in the discussions of their books in some format.

Here’s a sampling of Iowans’ reactions to Mayor Buttigieg’s book:

How would you review this book in one sentence?

“Mayor Pete weaves autobiographical information in with stories about South Bend, Indiana, where he has been mayor since 2012; the book is well written and more gripping than the previous sentence would suggest, probably because both Pete and South Bend are more interesting than you thought.” Emily Silliman, Johnson County, Iowa

What about their personal life was new to you/did you find most interesting?

“It was interesting to me that it was a visit to Iowa campaigning for Obama that leads to Buttigieg enlisting in the military. I think some individuals have a strong sense or call to serve others and seeing those in our state as inspiration for Buttigieg’s enlistment shows that he possesses that call to serve.” Amy Adams, Fayette County, Iowa

Did their explanation of their personal journey change your view on what you know of them from national news/seeing them on the campaign trail?

“His book gave more information about how he processes through problems and thinks. It also made him more than the ‘gay candidate’ that many news outlets have pigeonholed him.” Micki Henderson, Polk County, Iowa

What did you find inspirational from the candidate’s book/story?

“The willingness of people in South Bend to support the mayor because of his performance and caring, especially those from a different generation. And also Pete’s feeling that he needed to do something special with his life after being ‘lucky’ in Afghanistan.” Ruth Ann Diel Henke

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Share a favorite quote from the book.

“We don’t actually want to go back. We just think we do, sometimes, when we feel more alert to losses than to gains. A sense of loss inclines us, in vulnerable moments, to view the future with an expectation of harm. But when that happens, we miss the power of a well-envisioned future to inspire us towards greatness.” Carol Butler, Johnson County, Iowa

What about this candidate do you think will appeal to caucus goers?

“I think he has a good shot of having wide appeal, if he stays on message and finds a way to play to people’s heartstrings the way he plays to their brain-strings (is that a thing?).” Tyler Higgs, Polk County, Iowa


by Andrea Phillips
Photo by Julie Fleming
Posted 5/16/19



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