DREAM STATE: Daughters of the Confederacy, Dangling Chads, Banana Republicans, Swamp Lawyers, and Other Florida Wildlife

Diane Roberts, Author . Free Press $25 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7432-5206-5

With hurricane-force prose, journalist and Florida native Roberts hits the land of orange groves, theme parks and mobile homes with a torrential outpouring of love and hate, affection and disgust. Weaving her own family history into that of the state—she's related somehow or other to many of Florida's pioneering families—she chronicles the greed, political corruption and deceit that turned the swamps of the Sunshine State into a haven for retirees, wealthy or otherwise. She provides colorful sketches of the denizens of Florida, from the land-grabbing railroad tycoon Henry Flagler Jr., who turned South Florida into a playground for the rich and famous, to Gov. Claude Kirk, who tried to make the lowly mullet the state fish. Roberts reminds us that, despite Disney's glitter, Florida's backwoods and side roads reveal its true character as a Southern state still marked by racism and Confederate pride. In hilarious and touching sketches, Roberts nostalgically carries readers back to pre-Disney Florida while admitting that even then the state played by different rules than the rest of the country. If there was ever any doubt about the true nature of the Sunshine State—where "what people think happened is always more important than what really happened"—Roberts puts it to rest in this splendid unofficial history. Agent, David McCormick. (Nov. 1)

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 355 pages - 978-0-8130-3036-4
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4165-8957-0
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