Some Kind of Paradise: A Chronicle of Man and the Land in Florida

Mark Derr, Author William Morrow & Company $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-07359-6
Ambitious, comprehensive and generally successful, Derr's study of the country's most-visited state combines ecological, demographic, economic information with political and cultural history. In his account of the area's exploration, colonization and development, the author also portrays the developers, migrants and foreign laborers who shaped the state, primarily for the benefit of winter residents, retirees and tourists. Chief among the 19th-century entrepreneurs were friends and rivals Henry Plant and Henry Flagler, master builders of cities and resorts, whose vast rail systems opened up the peninsula and fostered exploitation of all kinds, including plantation slavery. The panoramic narrative is animated by anecdotes, novel details and flavorful images of Florida's motley settlers. Freelance writer Derr cautions that the outcome of the current war between developers and environmentalists will depend on ``controlled'' growth and wise administration of the state's resources. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-8130-1629-0
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