Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday Intro: Finding Florida


1
BELIEVE IT OR NOT
You don't need a GOS to search out the meaning of Florida, though it helps. To get started, tap in the following address: 11 Magnolia Avenue, St. Augustine. You'll know you're drawing close to the wellspring of Florida's identity when you reach the intersection of Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Matanzas Avenue. Those names mark a traffic intersection. They also describe an intersection of myth and reality. Generations of Americans have grown up believing Ponce de Leon discovered Florida while searching for eternal youth, but what does "Matanzas" mean? As they drive along Matanzas Boulevard or power-boat along the Matanzas River, few understand that this mellifluous-sounding Spanish name means "slaughter" or "massacre." Thus, in English, St. Augustine's marina-fringed harbor, Matanzas Bay, could be rendered "Slaughter Bay."
Finding Florida
by T.D. Allman

I started listening to this audiobook because we plan to spend much of the winter in Florida and I want to learn a little more about the state's history. What I'm learning from this book is that many of the lessons taught to local school children may, in fact, by myth. So far, this relatively controversial book has been quite interesting.

Here's the goodreads summary:
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 nineteen 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.
What do you think of the opening? Would you keep reading?


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

25 comments:

  1. This book looks fascinating. I'd keep reading!

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    1. Monica - Florida has had a very colorful history!

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  2. Sounds interesting. Since I really don't know much Florida history at all, I wouldn't notice when something was found to be a 'myth'. But I guess I'd also be reluctant to accept this version as the 'truth' since it overturns the 'myths'. I guess I'd have to read his research notes...lol. Hope you enjoy!

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    1. Kim - I'll definitely be checking his notes and delving deeper into the controversy.

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  3. Florida is the "other sunshine state" that I would love to explore someday. This one sounds like a good introduction. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I think the author is ruffling a few feathers with this book, but it sure is interesting.

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  4. I would keep reading. This sounds fascinating. I lived in Florida when I was a child but don't really know anything about its history. This would be a good book for me. Thank you!

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    1. Sunday - I'll reserve judgement until the end, but it's quite entertaining.

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  5. When we were kids we often had field trips or family visits to the Mark Twain House in Hartford. When we were older and some of my siblings had kids, we made a return visit, and wondered why the guides weren't telling some of the stories we remembered; it turned out that they were now trained to only tell true stories!

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  6. Sounds like a great read...and/or listen. I've spent my share of time in Florida and would definitely keep reading.

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  7. This sounds like a good diversion from fiction. Enjoy

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  8. Smart idea to spend some time now thinking and reading about your new environment. A smart idea to spend the winter there in the first place.

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    1. Margot - We've been vacationing in SW Florida for 20+years, but I'm really looking forward to spending a larger block of time there this winter!

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  9. This sounds interesting. I'm guessing it was not a civilized as it is today but, it is amazing that you can still run into an alligator once in awhile. I hope you enjoy your winter months in Fla. I hear so many positive comments from friends and family who live part time and full time there.

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    1. Pat - It's pretty amazing that Florida was such a wilderness not all that long ago...

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  10. Sounds like a good read! We used to live there, on both the east and west coast of it, for many, many years when my kids were growing up. My eldest child still lives there with her own family, as well as a brother of mine and my aunt.

    We are quite familiar with the lore of the state, and have seen & petted gators and even tried eating (alligator meat) at a restaurant--tastes like chicken, ha.

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    1. Rita - The tone of this book seems rather angry, but it is very interesting. I've tried gator...it kind of does taste like chicken ;-)

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  11. I might read it if it were the true History of Utah :D Have a nice week. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

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    1. Kelley - Now that would be an interesting book!!

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  12. This sounds interesting! I've read a few books that talked some about the history of Florida but nothing that just focused on Florida itself. Hope you're enjoying it!

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    1. Katherine - This book is very interesting and I'm enjoying it, but feel like I might need to check out some of his notes afterwards!

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  13. This sounds fascinating. And I'm with you. If I were planning on spending a chunk of my year in a new state, I'd want to know more about it too.

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    1. Beth F - Florida certainly has a wild and colorful history... almost wondering what we're getting ourselves into ;-)

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