Few people today can claim a living memory of Florida's frontier Everglades. Glen Simmons, who has hunted alligators, camped on hammock-covered islands, and poled his skiff through the mangrove swamps of the glades since the 1920s, is one who can. Together with Laura Ogden, he tells the story of backcountry life in the southern Everglades from his youth until the establishment of the Everglades National Park in 1947.
During the economic bust of the late 20s, when many natives turned to the land to survive, Simmons began accompanying older local men into Everglades backcountry, the inhospitable prairie of soft muck and mosquitoes, of outlaws and moonshiners, that rings the southern part of the state. As Simmons recalls life in this community with humor and nostalgia, he also documents the forgotten lifestyles of south Florida gladesmen.
By necessity, they understood the natural features of the Everglades ecosystem. They observed the seasonal fluctuations of wildlife, fire, and water levels. Their knowledge of the mostly unmapped labyrinth of grassy water enabled them to serve as guides for visiting naturalists and scientists. Simmons reconstructs this world, providing not only fascinating stories of individual personalities, places, and events, but an account that is accurate, both scientifically and historically, of one of the least known and longest surviving portions of the American frontier.
The book is published by University Press of Florida.
©1998 Glen Simmons and Laura Ogden (P)2012 Redwood Audiobooks
"An homage to the rugged 'swamp rats' who were largely overlooked or scorned by the region's historians, naturalists, and adventurers." (Miami Herald)
"Contains interesting tales of outlaws, moonshiners and other characters-some who lived on the edge of right and wrong-and roamed the inhospitable backcountry prairies of soft muck and massive mosquitoes." (South Dade News Leader)
I was really excited about this book as I have always enjoyed the stories of Old Florida trying to recapture the feeling I first had when I finished "The Yearling". Being a Florida native I also try and learn as much as I can about my birth state so I can absorb the history and teach others.
I thought the stories were good and I really liked the parts about prohibition and just how far that movement spread.
The thing that bothered me though is the way it was pieced together. Instead of stories being told in a way you can enjoy them after just hearing them in automatically rolled into another, another, and another. So by the time I was 2/3rds through it I became desensitized in a way. I would have liked a moment to compartmentalize what I had heard before diving head first into another tale.
How wild Florida was naturally and how man utilized it to survive.
I do not. I believe a good portion of what was told in this book was unecessary.
I will surely listen to this one again and again.
I love the humble honesty of this mans adventuresome spirit. This is the story of a life spent in a time and place that are mostly forgoten. A priceless history of the South Florida frontier before it was spoiled.
His voice ads a tuch of old southern culture. Marshall was the perfect narrator.
A Must for outdoorsman and history buffs.
Had just listened to A Land Remembered and thought this might continue the enchantment. Found it to be a montonous documentary in form. Also narrators voice lulled me to sleep. Positive sleep aid. Poor entertainment.
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