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Politics and Pasta: How I Prosecuted Mobsters, Rebuilt a Dying City, Dined with Sinatra, Spent Five Years in a Federally Funded Gated Community, and Lived to Tell the Tale Hardcover – March 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
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A Providence Journal Bestseller

"Look up controversial in the dictionary and Buddy Cianci's picture will be there. As he is happy to tell you, he never backed down from a fight or a challenge while rebuilding a great city, and he'll make you laugh while doing it."--Sean Hannity

"It's pure Buddy. Beguiling, hilarious, with an excuse -- and a joke -- for everything, Cianci shows why he's one of the most storied figures in modern urban politics. ... It delivers all those things, plus a guided tour of a fascinating political mind."--Politico
"Politics and Pasta is a compulsively readable — if not entirely candid — insider's account of city politics by one of the most colorful and longest-serving mayors in memory. And it's written by, as Cianci puts it, perhaps the only person who has ever been inside the White House, Windsor Castle and the federal penitentiary at Fort Dix in New Jersey."--The Associated Press
"Cianci tells the fascinating story of his rise to power and the profound transformation that Providence underwent under his command.... As colorful on the page as he is in person, Cianci is a natural storyteller with a lot to say."--Kirkus Reviews
"A relentless charmer.... 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."--Publishers Weekly
"It's an incredible read. I honestly couldn't put it down. Parts of his life read like a movie. You will be amazed at how honest Cianci is at points, and you'll laugh out loud at other points. The guy is candid. He's funny. What else can I say? He's Buddy."--South Coast Today
"Cianci is a character, a one-of-kind, bigger than life politican the likes of which I have never met before. I find it difficult to even think of anyone I could come close to comparing him to -- he's that unique."--Norwich Bulletin

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312592809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312592806
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

In March 2011 Buddy will be on a book tour discussing his own memoir Politics and Pasta. This book is full of surprising stories and outrageous anecdotes. Politics and Pasta is already receiving great reviews and is the most candid {and easily the funniest} political memoir in a generation from one of the nation's most talked-about mayors.

Buddy was elected mayor six times and voted "America's Most Innovative Mayor" by the Association of Government Officials. Buddy served as Mayor for 21 years and became Providence's longest sitting mayor and America's longest serving mayor of a city over 100,000 in population. During Buddy's tenure, Providence dramatically changed from a boarded-up lackluster city to being named by Money Magazine as the "Best City in which to live in the East" and one of America's top five urban centers.

He hosts his weekday talk show, "The Buddy Cianci Show", on 630 WPRO-AM and 99.7-FM. Since returning to the airwaves, Rhode Island Monthly readers have voted Buddy the "Best Radio Talk Show Host" in 2008 2009 & 2010. Buddy also shares his insights and unparalleled witty analysis of Rhode Island's issues as the chief political commentator on ABC-6, WLNE-TV Providence, RI. Nationally, Buddy is a regular guest on the Fox network nationally syndicated Hannity Show. He has also appeared on numerous other nationally syndicated radio and television shows.

Buddy is active on the lecture circuit and was the keynote speaker at various colleges, universities and civic organizations. He served on many boards including Rhode School of Design, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence Public Library, Women & Infants Hospital

Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, Jr. graduated from Moses Brown School and earned his bachelor's degree of Government at Fairfield University. He pursued his masters in Political Science at Villanova University and his Doctorate of Jurisprudence at Marquette University Law School. He served in the United States Army from 1966-1969 and was a 1st Lieutenant in the Military Police Corp. In 1969, Buddy was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Rhode Island and was an instructor of Political Science at Bryant University. He served as a prosecutor for the Organized Crime Unit until 1974 when he resigned to run for Mayor of Providence.

Buddy Cianci's legacy has forever been woven into the tapestry of Providence's history. He has often said that his greatest accomplishment is more than fixing crumbling sidewalks or moving rivers, his greatest accomplishment is the raising the self-esteem of the City of Providence.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tognetti TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
He came out of nowhere in 1974 to become the first Republican mayor of the city Providence, R.I. in more than four decades. He had spent time as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Rhode Island prosecuting criminal and organized crime cases. Before long he was hobnobbing with President Gerald Ford at the White House and was viewed by many political pundits as a rising star in the Republican Party. Yes, the sky appeared to be the limit for the savvy young man from Providence. He was bright, articulate, ambitious, energetic, personable and a man of great vision. But he certainly had his work cut out for him. When 33 year old Vincent "Buddy" Cianci was sworn in as mayor in January 1975 the city of Providence was a pretty dreary place. Retail was dying and the biggest hotel in town was about to be shuttered. Furthermore, there was absolutely nothing going on after hours and if you dared take a stroll on the deserted streets of the city at night there was a pretty good chance you would be accosted. The truth is that most of us had pretty much given up on the city but the brash young "Buddy" Cianci firmly believed that he was the right man at the right time to turn it all around. In "Politics and Pasta: How I Prosecuted Mobsters, Rebuilt A Dying City, Dined With Sinatra, Spent Five Years In A Federal Funded Gated Community, and Lived To Tell The Tale" Vincent "Buddy" Cianci tells his remarkable life story in his own words. For those of us who have been following his rollercoaster career from the outset it is a compelling story indeed.

Now to understand what a breath of fresh air "Buddy" Cianci was around here you have to know a little bit about the history of the city. For decades Providence had been run by the entrenched Democratic political machine.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Midnight Toker on April 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For me this was a very exciting and entertaining read. Not only is it very often laugh out loud funny at Buddy's sense of humor, it also takes you inside his very exciting and eventful life. You learn so much from this book about insider politics and politicians both good and bad along the way. People I work with want to read this book simply from hearing me laugh out loud so often while reading it.

Over the years I watched the news, read the papers, read the books, and listened to talk radio all hammer the Mayor relentlessly and I always wanted to hear the other side of the argument. Something just never seemed to add up to me. There always seemed to be inconsistencies in the reporting as if they all had a vendetta against him or some sort of jealousy or ulterior motive. Certain judges rulings in the court case perplexed me as so very unfair and seriously biased. FINALLY you get to hear the other side of it, and it's revealed in a very witty and interesting story.

I never lived in Providence but followed Buddy's life through the media and watched firsthand the transformation of the city from the time I was a teenager, clubbing and taking advantage of its nightlife, up until today, over 30 years later. Arguably the result of Buddy's vision and tenacious resourcefulness the city today bares no resemblance to the dull gray lifeless place it used to be. In his book he'll let you in on the iron will and determination it took to make this transformation happen. I loved this book, it was so much fun to read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By ProvRes on April 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I moved to Providence, RI in 1988 from LI,NY. I heard about the Mayor and thought this man has got charm, pizazz, and intelligence. He is a man of his word. This book really tells the truth and how Dennis Aikens was like a teacher who hated his student and made his life a living hell. The others bozo's should have done time Ead and the other guy. Corrente was a trouble maker and had his hands into everything, even bribes.
Buddy should run for Mayor of his city, Providence. He made the city what it is today. He moved rivers, built a mall, promoted his city to the world.
Glad he got rid of the squirrel. Listen to him on the radio WPRO AM 630 3:00 PM` 6:00 PM Mon- Friday
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Diver Down on April 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heard about this book on the dennis miller radio show. It came highly touted, so I thought i would check it out. It is a little slower read than i am used to, in that i don't read a lot of (auto)biographies. There were parts that would have been a little more interesting to me if i lived in New England but, even a dweller of the Midwest still enjoyed it.

That, however is where the negatives end. This book has a lot of history tied in. Former mayor Cianci lived a very interesting life, and he weaves this story together with a delightful strand of intellect, humor, and honesty. A definite must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JAMES FIORENTINI on April 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a riveting and often hilarious account of former Mayor Buddy Cianci's terms as Mayor of Providence. It is hard to put the book down once you pick it up, and anyone who loves politics will love this book.

Some of the things he recommends to Mayors are text book examples of how to succesfully run a city: aggressively seek and recruit new business, attract new restaurants as a symbol of how well your city is doing, and, above all, work hard every day of your term to be out meeting the public. Cianci, was everywhere, and had relentless energy and drive. His account on how to prepare for a snow storm was right on the money, and should be required reading for every new Mayor.

Reading the book you understand why some people of Providence, despite Buddy having been twice convicted of serious offenses, still revere him.

The best parts of the book aren't his grand plans and visions, which have been well documented elsewhere. The best reading were his personal relations, his feuds, and his accounts of his efforts to settle scores. Some of it is not what we want our elected officials to do, but all of it is well written and entertaining. His account about his efforts to get his nephews into a prominent Ivy League school was so hilarious that that it makes the reader-- just for a moment-- forget that we do not want our elected officials using the power of government to benefit themselves and their families.

Being the Mayor of a small city, I read biographies of Mayors all the time-- and this ranks as one of the best.
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