Patrick D. Smith here tells the story of three generations of the MacIveys, a Florida family who battle the hardships of the frontier to rise from a dirt-poor Cracker life to the wealth and standing of real estate tycoons. The story opens in 1858, when Tobias MacIvey arrives in the Florida wilderness to start a new life, and ends in 1968 with Solomon MacIvey, who realizes that the land has been exploited far beyond human need. Between is a sweeping story rich in Florida history.
A best-selling novel of Florida historical fiction, A Land Remembered was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and received the state’s highest literary award from the Florida Historical Society, the 1986 Tebeau Prize for the Most Outstanding Florida Historical novel.
©1984 Patrick D. Smith (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Spanning 100 years of the fictional family MacIvey, in the style of Michener epics we are introduced to the history of Florida’s developmental heydays. The human characters are interesting and mostly appealing if a bit predictable, but it's the land itself that is the central character. The author ably communicates a love and respect for the wilderness that used to be, and his sadness and outrage at the greed that destroyed that paradise. A favorite passage occurs at a prairie watering hole by the light of a full moon, when a parade of wild creatures take turns and share the water without violence between predators and prey. An obvious metaphor, but memorably written. I did find myself breaking from the book to do some quick internet searches on some of the topics and events and to check out maps to augment the story.
Overall I liked the story as a somewhat lightweight historical fiction. George Guidall’s reading is not his best effort. While he does fine with the narrative portions, for some reason he seemed compelled to deliver most of the dialogue at a rapid fire pace, as if all conversations were frenetic and excited. Can’t quite give it 5 stars, but can give it a recommendation for those who enjoy an easy peek into a little known slice of regional history.
Best Book Ever!
No other narrator would have done as great of job. His voice was perfect for the book.
I enjoyed this book so much that I listened to it twice. By listening to this book as one of my first audiobooks, it ruined my taste for other books. There will never be a book as good as this one for me. I live in south Florida and I felt as though I knew where he was talking about all the time. I wish they would make a movie of this book.
My 50 + years in Florida I've seen many changes some good but most not so good. The historic changes and sacrifices these families made to settle this land is very interesting.
One of the top ten books I've ever read or listened to -- well deserving of a pulitzer prize winner. This book is required reading in many school districts because of the historical aspects. The characters are also very well developed.
I really enjoyed this book. Every aspect of it is top quality. The story is very well developed and the characters are people that you begin to believe you really know personally. I did not know much about Florida history during the period that is covered in the story. I liked learning some new things while caught up in a fascinating saga. At first I thought the narration was going to be a problem but either the narrator improved while reading or I just got used to the voice.
Family, Frontier, Florida
The passage of time, beginning in frontier Florida, takes you through three generations of a pioneering family is the wilds of Florida. It's a wonderful tale and especially poignant if you are from Florida as I am. I never had an image of what life would have been like in Florida as one of the first settlers to the area. This was a great novel!
Very lovely narration, easy to understand each of the characters different speaking styles.
Read it, you won't regret it!
This is a beautifully-written book that made me feel that I knew Florida before Disney and South Beach. This would be a great book to listen to as a family. It is filled with the joys, heartaches, and reminiscenses that are a part of many of our families' histories. My first 5-star book in some time.
As a transplant to Florida, I've long been familiar with the Railroad Baron narrative of Florida's post-Jacksonville development, which pretty much ignores the fact that non-native Americans were already migrating here long before Flagler and Plant (incentivized by government subsidies and competitive zeal) built their railways and snowbird resorts.
So I found this book to be a welcome and well-researched history of the early Florida settlers who populated the central and rural parts of Florida that most people outside of the state don't ever see. (With the exception of Disney World, of course, which would have been in development as this story ends in 1968).
It's also a nice depiction of American pioneer/frontier life in the mid-to-late 1800's, which we sometimes forget wasn't just a westward thing.
But if you're not particularly interested in Florida, Florida history, or pioneer/frontier fiction, there's not a lot of complexity to this story.
On the plus side, it's an excellent family PG listen--the characters are inspiring and morally admirable (unless they're totally despicable--there's no in-between in this novel). But that's also the downside--this is a classic man v. nature plot, and in this case nature turns out to be much more interesting and unpredictable than the man.
In fact, the MacIveys are dead-ringers for the denizens of Lake Wobegon (all of the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the children are above average). The Seminole Indians are consistently wise and other-worldy, with a wonderful habit of appearing at really convenient times. And the depiction of the African-American Skittle feels somehow racist by modern standards as well, although it probably is more historically accurate than Tobias MacIvey's enlightened attitude towards him. (Isn't it amazing how every historical character created in modern popular fiction is always the ONE person in their community who bravely stands up against racial segregation?)
But the action and dialogue are compelling, and Smith definitely knows how to tell a story.
Paired with George Guidall's always-perfect narration, this is an enlightening and entertaining listen, especially if you're driving or walking in Florida.
Outstanding historical fiction. Having moved to Florida as an adult over 20 years ago and lived in both South and North Florida this book gave me a sense of the rich heritage of the settlers who struggled in the wilderness. The issues of the times. The business and opportunity of the time. I highly recommend this book.
Made me get teary eyed when Zech lost his wife to the bull and spoke to Sol about loss of those you love.
Endearing, informative, and satisfying
He is the perfect narrator for this story. The voices he uses brings the story to life and allows the reader to feel love and empathy for these memorable characters.
Yes. I listened on a road tip and time flew.
My family has been in Florida for four generations and I loved learning what happened in Florida before we arrived.
one the the best
vivid imagery of a time past
This would make a great miniseries (sorta like lonesome dove).
should be required reading for Florida high schoolers.
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