Kevin Acklin is the chief of staff for Pittsburgh’s Mayor-elect Bill Peduto. To get ready for his new position, Acklin has been brushing up on some political non-fiction.
The first biography of David L. Lawrence, the best of the city bosses, who became mayor of Pittsburgh, modern municipal manager, governor of Pennsylvania, and a power in national politics.
~University of Pittsburgh Press
Buzz Bissinger, “A Prayer for the City”
A Prayer for the City is Pulitzer Prize-winning Buzz Bissinger’s true epic of Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, an utterly unique, unorthodox and idiosyncratic leader who will do anything to save his city; take unions head on, personally lobby President Clinton to save 10,000 defense jobs, or wrestle Smiley the Pig on Hot Dog Day–all the while bearing in mind the enteral fickleness of constituents whose favor may hinge on a missed garbage pick-up or an overzealous meter maid. It is also the story of citizens in crisis: a woman fighting ceaselessly to give her great-grandchildren a better life, a father of six who may lose his job at the Navy Shipyard, and a policy analyst whose experiences as a crime victim tempt her to abandon her job and ideals.
Heart-wrenching and hilarious, alive with detail and insight, A Prayer for the City describes a city on its knees and the rare combination of political courage and optimism that may be the only hope for America’s urban centers.
Niccolo Macchiavelli, “The Prince”
Widely read for its insights into history and politics, The Prince is one of the most provocative works of the Italian Renaissance. Based on Niccolò Machiavelli’s observations of the effectiveness of both ancient and contemporary statesmen, the rules for governing set forth in his manual were considered radical and harsh by his contemporaries and shocking to many since then.
Plato, “The Republic”
Famous philosophical treatise of the 4th century BC concerns itself chiefly with the idea of justice, as well as such Platonic theories as that of ideas, the criticism of poetry, and the philosopher's role. Source of the famous cave myth and prototype for other imaginary commonwealths, including those of Cicero, St. Augustine, and More. Benjamin Jowett translation.