Over its long history, Florida has been many things: a native realm protected by geography; a wilderness that ruined Spanish conquistadors; a place to start over; "god's waiting room". With a native population as high as 900,000 (who all died), it became a pestilential backwater with a few thousand inhabitants, but today is our fourth most populous state, with 19 million. The site of vicious racial violence, including massacres, slavery, and the roll-back of Reconstruction, Florida is now one of our most diverse states, a dynamic multicultural place with an essential role in 21st century America.
However, the remarkable story of Florida has been distorted and whitewashed. In Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State, journalist T. D. Allman reclaims this remarkable history from the mythologizers, apologists, and boosters.
Allman traces the discovery, exploration, and settlement of Florida, its transformation from a swamp to a paradise. Palm Beach, Key West, Miami, Tampa, and Orlando boomed, fortunes were won and lost, land was stolen and flipped, and millions arrived.
The product of a decade of research and writing, Finding Florida is a highly original, stylish, and masterful work, the first modern comprehensive history of this fascinating place.
©2013 T. D. Allman. Recorded by arrangement with Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
"Narrator James Patrick Cronin leads listeners on a journey that seeks to dispel the many myths surrounding Florida's history, development, and present-day tribulations. Cronin's narration is engaging and varied." (AudioFile)
I have listened to this book over 3 times since I bought it a few weeks ago. I listened before a recent to trip to Northern Florida, again while on the trip, and again when I came home. It has fascinating details about the state history and touches on many aspects: ethnic and race relations, politics, skirmishes, geology, cultural history, geography, tourism, etc. It also focuses on different parts of the state so you get good representation. Good for general listening as well as for trips.
I found the historical facts about early europeans in Florida very interesting and educational. I enjoyed hearing about the early explorers and what happened to them.
I didn't like the author's seemingly endless assertions that the deeds and events involving important people in the history of Florida had been "wiped from the history books." He cites sources and references, so obviously, it has not been "wiped from the history of Florida." If he could just dial it back so he doesn't make that assertion more than a few hundred times in every chapter, the book would be more enjoyable.
I didn't like his sanctimonious tone. I quickly tired of hearing the author's disdainful denigration of "white" settlers. Also he prattled on about the evil deeds of U.S. Presidents and others trying to acquire and then settle early Florida. At one point, he seems to suggest that Spain wasn't involved with slavery in the Florida Territories after the Revolutionary War because the Spanish were too far away to enforce their policies and that it was just those greedy white US citizens who wanted to move into Florida and put all the free living people of color into chains.
I enjoyed the first few chapters that dealt with the early exploration of Florida. After that, I found the sanctimonious tone off-putting .
I enjoyed his writing style in the one or two places he writes about events and doesn't make his writing a billboard for how morally superior he is. If you can put up with a heavy dose of sanctimonious stink-eye, then I recommend this book to anyone wanting to become familiar with what actually happened verses the fictional accounts of early Florida's exploration and settlement generated by marketing schemes.
Someone less glib and sarcastic
Disappointment and anger.
The rabbid bias that the author showed in the last third of the book raised doubts as to whether one could trust the material in the first two thirds. In the few incidents in which the author commented on matters I was familiar with, the facts were incorrect. This is good raw meat for any angry rabble raiser with an axe to grind in today's world.
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
Attacks the common beliefs on what the history of Florida has been and uses that as a air up call for all of us. He deals with everything from Ponce De Leon not really searching for the fountain of youth to the negative financial and civil rights impact of Disney World on the state. I didn't not agree with all of the author's conclusions but it was a very thought provoking read.
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