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.


  • A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
  • Finalist for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award
  • "A full-scale portrait of a struggling American metropolis that brings to mind such classics of urban reportage and analysis as J. Anthony Lukas's Common Ground and Nicholas Lemann's The Promised Land."--New York Times Book Review
  • "An extraordinary book, an insider's account of the daily workings of a big-city administration."--New York Review of Books
  • "Brilliant and compelling...A Prayer for the City movingly captures the poignancy--the hope and heartbreak--of urban government in America."--Robert A. Caro
  • "A fascinating, humane portrait of the ills of urban America."--The New Yorker