Miami Babylon: Crime, Wealth, and Power—A Dispatch from the Beach

Gerald Posner, Author . Simon & Schuster $27 (454p) ISBN 978-1-4165-7656-3

Miami Beach proves a multilayered topic for Posner: investigative journalist, bestselling author (Case Closed ) and denizen of America's most “decadent” city. Posner examines how Miami Beach turned from a quiet resort into the interconnecting site of crime, finance and politics (which one mayor described as “a blood sport”). The author gives a penetrating look at the sun-drenched history of South Florida, the swampland and scoundrels, rumrunners and smugglers in speedboats from Prohibition on, a major military training center during WWII and the glitzy playground of mobsters. The book comes alive from the start with an account of South Florida overwhelmed in 1980 by the influx of 125,000 Cuban refugees, followed by gritty segments on the coke wars, South Beach fun and frolic, the gay glam party life and the revitalization of key areas of the Beach. Corruption in City Hall and immoral real estate moguls conclude this thoroughly entertaining analysis of one of the original American pleasure domes and the good times that continue to roll. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Oct. 13)

Reviewed on: 08/24/2009
Release date: 10/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
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