Bubble in the Sun

The Florida Boom of the 1920s and How It Brought on the Great Depression
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 13 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Christopher Knowlton, author of Cattle Kingdom and former Fortune writer, takes an in-depth look at the spectacular Florida land boom of the 1920s and shows how it led directly to the Great Depression.

The 1920s in Florida was a time of incredible excess, immense wealth, and precipitous collapse. It was the largest human migration in American history, far exceeding the settlement of the West. It spawned the suburbs as we know them and the first large-scale assault on the environment in the name of “progress.” Thousands flocked to the grand hotels and new cities rose rapidly from the teeming wetlands. Nowhere was the glitz and excess of the Roaring Twenties more blatant than in Florida. It was Vegas before there was Vegas; gambling was legal and so was drinking (prohibition was not enforced). Tycoons and celebrities flocked to this new frontier. Yet, the import and deep impact of this historical moment has never been explored thoroughly until now. 

In Bubble in the Sun Christopher Knowlton shows us the grand artistic and entrepreneurial visions behind Coral Gables, Boca Raton, Mar-a-Lago, Miami Beach, and other storied sites. It was a time when the nightlife raged more raucously than anywhere else in America; workers, mostly black, who built and maintained the boom endured grievous abuses; and the pure beauty of the Everglades suffered wanton ruination. Knowlton also breathes dynamic life into the four forces that made and/or broke Florida in the time: the real estate moguls Carl Fisher, George Merrick, and Addison Mizner, and the once-in-a-century storm whose aftermath included the stock market crash. This essential account is a revelatory - and relevant - history of a specific time that is still affecting our country today.

©2020 Christopher Knowlton (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Audio

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

One irritating point...

Two, actually, and both are probably crotchets. One is the pronunciation of St. Augustine by the narrator. I have always heard it pronounced as “AWE-guss-teen.” A call to the city hall confirms that. The narrator says “ow-GUSS-tin.” Ok, minor, but it takes away from the listening experience. Second is the use of the long “a.” I suppose it is personal preference, but consistently hearing that brings me up short. One more as I continue to listen. The narrator talks about the “binder boys” and pronounces it the “binn-der” boys. I’m fairly certain it should be pronounced with a long “i,” as in “insurance binder.” Those are my only quibbles with the narration. The narrator has a great voice and pace.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Disappointed by the Reader

Sorry, I wanted to like this book, but the reader was not good. Mispronunciations, reading a and the long vowel like reading to a first grader, and without any feeling.

1 person found this helpful

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Every Florida resident should read this book

Anyone concerned about how greed made and then ruined the state in the 1920’s should read this book. Also any one concerned about the Everglades and how we nearly wiped out its wildlife .