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The Swamp

The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise
Narrated by: Adam Verner
Length: 16 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (98 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Everglades was America's last frontier, a wild country long after the West was won. In this book Michael Grunwald chronicles how a series of visionaries tried to drain and "reclaim" it and how Mother Nature refused to bend to their will; in the most harrowing tale, a 1928 hurricane drowned 2,500 people in the Everglades. But the Army Corps of Engineers finally tamed the beast with levees and canals, converting half the Everglades into sprawling suburbs and sugar plantations. And though the Southern Everglades was preserved as a national park, it soon deteriorated into an ecological mess. The River of Grass stopped flowing, and 90 percent of its wading birds vanished.

Now America wants its swamp back. Grunwald shows how a new breed of visionaries transformed Everglades politics, producing the $8 billion rescue plan. That plan is already the blueprint for a new worldwide era of ecosystem restoration. And The Swamp is a cautionary tale for that era. Through gripping narrative and dogged reporting, Grunwald shows how the Everglades is still threatened by the same hubris, greed, and well-intentioned folly that led to its decline.

©2006 Michael Grunwald (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Grunwald brings the zeal of his profession - and the skill that won him a Society of Environmental Journalists Award in 2003 - to this enthralling story." ( Publishers Weekly)

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

Great listen

I learned so much about the Everglades ecosystem and history of environmental activism. Highly recommend!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Better come take a look at the Everglades more they're gone

I live near the Everglades and this book really opened my eyes. Mandatory reading for those who care

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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This is not Jiminy Cricket's river

The performance is pretty good, but there is one enormous flaw. Adam Verner pronounces the Kissimmee River as if it were the Kissiminy River. He adds a syllable, "in," so that it rhymes with Jiminy Cricket's first name. Kiss-IM-ee does not have an "in" in it. Since the Kissimmee River is the headwaters of Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, the name is ubiquitous in the book, and the strange mispronounciation gets more and more annoying each time it is used.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful Book with Glaring Narration Problem

This is fascinating story about the history of the everglades from the time of the earliest white settlers until the early 21st century. It's meticulously researched, well-written and interesting from beginning to end. The quotation from primary sources I found particularly helpful, as they provide a window into how people thought about South Florida over the last 250 years or so. The narrator, though, has likely never been to Florida - at least he's never heard the word "Kissimmee" (pronounced, "kis-SIM-mee) before. Throughout the entire book, he pronounces it as "Kissimminnee." It's terribly distracting, especially in the latter parts of the book where restoring the Kissimmee River becomes a major theme.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great book, bad narration ...

The only problem with the book is that it could have used more frequent reminders of years along the chronology (e.g.., “by 1989 ...”) Otherwise, excellent.

The narration wasn’t all that bad but for the repeated mispronunciation of Kissimmee - the guy actually adds a syllable(!), and it occurs well over a hundred times in the book. It really kills it.

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Pronunciation

Please do justice to our Central Florida area. The town/river is pronounced Ki-sim-me, not Ki-sim-a-knee.

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Great book!

Very informative and well written book! The only downfall is the narrator mispronounces "Kissimmee" throughout most of the book. Otherwise the author did an excellent job!