The best books for Florida-philes

Bruce Hunt Author Of Visiting Small-Town Florida, 4th Edition
By Bruce Hunt

The Books I Picked & Why

The Everglades: River of Grass

By Marjory Stoneman Douglas

The Everglades: River of Grass

Why this book?

Miami Herald columnist and author Marjory Stoneman Douglas can rightfully be described as the woman who saved the Everglades. The Everglades: River of Grass was published in 1947, the same year Everglades National Park opened. For over fifty years Douglas fought tirelessly against human encroachment on the Everglades and devoted nearly all her time to explain how vital it was to the entire state of Florida. In the 1960s (while in her late seventies) she became involved with the Audubon Society of Miami’s efforts to halt the building of an international airport in the Everglades. She also formed the Friends of the Everglades, an organization that is still today one of the most powerful voices for the area’s preservation. Proving that good people do not always die young, Marjory Stoneman Douglas passed away in 1998 at the age of 108.


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The Wilder Heart of Florida: More Writers Inspired by Florida Nature

By Jack E. Davis, Leslie K. Poole

The Wilder Heart of Florida: More Writers Inspired by Florida Nature

Why this book?

The Wilder Heart of Florida is a marvelous collection of essays on wild and natural Florida, selected and edited by Dr. Leslie Poole, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and History at Rollins College, and Dr. Jack Davis, Professor of History at the University of Florida. It is a second volume to the renowned 1999 The Wild Heart of Florida, and features insightful chapters penned by experts on real Florida, like Cynthia Barnett, Lauren Groff, Totch Brown, Lars Anderson, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Clay Henderson, as well as Jack Davis, and Leslie Poole, among others.


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Cross Creek

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Cross Creek

Why this book?

Marjorie Rawlings is best known for The Yearling, but her autobiographical Cross Creek paints a vivid picture of rural north/central Florida in the 1920s and 1930s. It describes both her hard-scrabble life and her endearing connections to the people who live in the quiet back-woods hamlet of Cross Creek. Remarkably, even today this area is sparsely populated. Rawlings’ circa-1890 home and the surrounding property are now the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site.


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Mile Marker Zero: The Moveable Feast of Key West

By William McKeen

Mile Marker Zero: The Moveable Feast of Key West

Why this book?

William McKeen’s account of the evolution of 1960s–1970s Key West reads like a novel. Based largely on his interviews with Tom Corcoran (who was there then and knew everybody), McKeen tells the wild tales of some of Key West’s most eccentric and now famous characters from that era, like Tennessee Williams, Thomas McGuane, Margot Kidder, Jim Harrison, Hunter Thompson, and Jimmy Buffett.


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Florida Place Names: Alachua to Zolfo Springs

By Allen Morris

Florida Place Names: Alachua to Zolfo Springs

Why this book?

Allen Morris’s compilation of Florida places, by name, tells the stories of each—the origin of their names, their histories, and who settled them. It was published in 1995 but all the information is just as current today. It is a fascinating read and has been an invaluable history research tool for every one of my Florida books.


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