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In 1992, newly elected Philadelphia mayor Edward Rendell inherited a billion-dollar budget deficit and a city that had the potential to become, as he later characterized it, “Detroit without automobiles.” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Buzz Bissinger, a former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, got in on the ground floor of Rendell’s mayoral odyssey and in his new book, A Prayer for the City, chronicles how Philly went from junk-bond status to the darling of Wall Streetand of national editorial writers. “I know a region cannot survive without its core city,” notes Rendell’s chief of staff, David Cohen, in the book’s epilogue. “What scares me is, I’m not sure that a major city [isn’t] going to have to implode to prove the point.” Need more than one guess to figure out Cohen’s implosion front-runner? Press Bissinger on this point and others as he discusses and signs his book at 7 p.m. tonight at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 364-1919. (Elissa Silverman)