Right after I read this and posted my review on Goodreads Mayor Buddy Cianci passed away. I have placed the review here, as well as a video of Mayor Cianci talking about the book on WGBH. Good stuff from a very interesting man, who had a very impactful political career in Providence.
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 by Vincent “Buddy” Cianci Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A pretty entertaining book by the Prince of Providence, former Mayor Buddy Cianci. Mayor Cianci gives an broad brush overview of his colorful career in politics, and takes a couple of get even shots at some of his principal tormenters. You can see the culture clash in this book, as the refined blue bloods of Rhode Island politics (Lincoln and John Chaffee, Lincoln Almond, etc) collectively hold their nose while dealing with the over the top ethnic Mayor of Providence. In the end the establishment got their man, putting Cianci in jail on a RICO charge.
We get the Buddy side of the story, but we also do get an unvarnished view of how his “philosophy” of municipal management was translated into action. There is no question that Providence, under his stewardship, accomplished some significant things that changed the City for the better. Buddy was a broad stroke Mayor, and some of those broad strokes created great and positive change for the City. But not knowing the details, as he ruefully acknowledges, was one of his great weaknesses, and ultimately brought him down.
I do not believe they will be teaching the Buddy Cianci methodology of management at any schools in the near future. Having said that he was undeniably a beloved figure in the City, and can correctly point to some transformative accomplishments. Kicking the fossilized blue blood establishment in the shins has to be worth a few gold stars as well. I never tried the Marinara Sauce Mayor Cianci put out, but the book was entertaining for sure.