Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to learn more about the Sunshine State with writer T.D. Allman.
About the Book
“FINDING FLORIDA is an immense and important work, an overdue survey and indictment of the Sunshine State – and of the way Americans increasingly live now.” –Bookforum
“A rich and lively history of Florida, minus the Disney gloss. . . . [Allman] shatters five centuries of mythmaking to tell the real story . . . A splendid rendering of the messy human story of our fourth-most populous state.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The True History of the Sunshine State
At once an exuberant media dream and the political pivot of the nation, the state of Florida plays an essential role in 21st century America. Taken in the grips of multiple conquests and then sold as a resort paradise, Florida has emerged as a multicultural mirror of our nation as we know it today. In FINDING FLORIDA: The True History of the Sunshine State (Atlantic Monthly Press; March 5, 2013; 978-0-8021-2076-2) T.D. Allman reassembles the extraordinary story of Florida that has suffered distortion throughout decades of rupture and healing. As provocative as it is genuine, this fascinating, comprehensive history of our fourth most populous state takes us from its Eden-like beginnings to the sidewalks of today’s South Beach and everything in between.
Like much of America, Florida is a dynamic byproduct of invasion, rich with 500 years of secrets. After the loss of Florida’s 925,000 natives to early Spanish expeditions, the state underwent years of power politics, racial violence, and the squandering of wealth. The once pristinely isolated territory, blessed by geography, was transformed by the tugs-of-war between the Spanish, French, and British. American maneuvers followed, introducing Florida to slavery, racism, and violence as a result of Andrew Jackson’s military campaign. Reframed over the years as a righteous defeat of villains, Allman reveals the true story of Jackson’s 1816 attack on the peaceful Negro Fort, which killed hundreds of civilians. The following Seminole Wars were shockingly explosive, bloody conflicts. Political corruption followed Florida into the 19th century as racist rule prevailed even after the Confederate defeat in the Civil War.
Thanks to revolutionaries like Harriet Beecher Stowe and Joseph Kittinger, Florida has become one of our most diverse states and now perhaps our most influential. In chronicling Florida’s transformative past, Allman unapologetically tackles issues of native genocide, slavery, racial violence and politics that retain a timely importance. He shows Florida as a state of rapid adaptation, an example of this country’s battle through years of hardship and endurance and, at the same time, sets the stage for its prosperous future.
FINDING FLORIDA has a myth-busting spirit that promotes honesty and gumption, rather than the sugarcoating that has left cracks in Florida’s, and our nation’s history.
T.D. Allman is the author of bestseller Miami: City of the Future. A native Floridian, Harvard graduate, and former Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, Allman was for many years the foreign correspondent of Vanity Fair, and is credited with uncovering the CIA’s “secret war” (a phrase he coined) in Laos. He has written about Florida for Esquire and National Geographic, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The New Republic, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Le Monde, and The Economist, among other publications. He divides his time between Miami, New York, and the south of France.
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