Politics and Pasta

Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, with David Fisher, St. Martin's/Dunne, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-59280-6
In this intriguing memoir, Cianci details how he became the longest-serving mayor in the history of Providence, R.I. Elected in 1974 as a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, he held the position until 1984 when he was forced to step down after being convicted of assault. Cianci won the mayoralty again in 1991 and remained in office until a racketeering conviction sent him to prison in 2002. A relentless charmer, Cianci became the public face of Providence's transformation from a shabby northeastern city hemorrhaging jobs and taxpayers to a regional center of tourism and culture. The tone is folksy and occasionally crude, but Cianci's jokes are often at his own expense and a shrewd intelligence shines through; it's easy to understand why he kept getting re-elected. Cianci readily admits to the role luck and money played in his success, and even admits to some major mistakes. More subtly, the former mayor reveals the intricacies of the horse-trading that makes politics go. In places his memoir reads as an extended advertisement for the Providence renaissance, which makes perfect sense: in Cianci's mind, there wasn't much difference between the city and its mayor. 8-page b&w photo insert. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
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