Suggested Reading List
The Everglades a River of Grass
Author: Marjory Stoneman Douglass
Description: Originally published in 1947, The Everglades was one of those rare books, like Uncle Tom's Cabin and Silent Spring, to have an immediate political effect: it helped draw public attention to a vast and little-known area that South Florida developers had deemed a worthless swamp and were busily draining, damming, and remaking, and it mustered needed public support for President Harry Truman's controversial order, later that year, to protect more than 2 million acres as Everglades National Park.
Florida Magnificent Wilderness: State Lands, Parks, and Natural Areas
Author: James Valentine
Description: Many years in the making, Florida Magnificent Wilderness is a special visual journey through some of the most precious wild areas in the state, presenting the breathtaking beauty preserved in state lands, parks, and natural areas.
World-famous nature photographer James Valentine has used his camera to record environmental art images of the states remote wilderness places, spectacular sites too often missed by Floridas visitors and residents. Valentine also offers his poetic interpretations of the meaning of his images.
The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise
Author: Michael Grunwald
Description: The Everglades was once reviled as a liquid wasteland, and Americans dreamed of draining it. Now it is revered as a national treasure, and Americans have launched the largest environmental project in history to try to save it. The Swamp is the stunning story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades, the saga of man's abuse of nature in southern Florida and his unprecedented efforts to make amends. Michael Grunwald, a prize-winning national reporter for The Washington Post, takes readers on a riveting journey from the Ice Ages to the present, illuminating the natural, social and political history of one of America's most beguiling but least understood patches of land.
The Everglades was America's last frontier, a wild country long after the West was won. Grunwald chronicles how a series of visionaries tried to drain and "reclaim" it, and how Mother Nature refused to bend to their will; in the most harrowing tale, a 1928 hurricane drowned 2,500 people in the Everglades. But the Army Corps of Engineers finally tamed the beast with levees and canals, converting half the Everglades into sprawling suburbs and sugar plantations. And though the southern Everglades was preserved as a national park, it soon deteriorated into an ecological mess. The River of Grass stopped flowing, and 90 percent of its wading birds vanished.
Now America wants its swamp back. Grunwald shows how a new breed of visionaries transformed Everglades politics, producing the $8 billion rescue plan. That plan is already the blueprint for a new worldwide era of ecosystem restoration. And this book is a cautionary tale for that era. Through gripping narrative and dogged reporting, Grunwald shows how the Everglades is still threatened by the same hubris, greed and well-intentioned folly that led to its decline.
Coral Castle: The Story of Ed Leedskalnin and his American Stonehenge
Author: Rusty McClure and Jack Heffron
Description: Coral Castle is the first book to take an objective, journalistic look at one of America's most intriguing places Coral Castle, located in Homestead, Florida. Edward Leedskalnin, an eccentric Latvian immigrant, built Coral Castle in the 1920s and 30s. Working alone with primitive tools, he quarried, carved, and set in place more than 1,100 tons of coral rock, creating what is commonly known as the American Stonehenge. How he accomplished this amazing feat remains a mystery. Some believe he was simply a talented stonemason and engineer. Many others believe he had somehow harnessed anti-gravity powers. Several books have been written on Ed's otherworldly powers and he has become a cult figure to those who believe in extra-terrestrials and the magnetic grid theory. In Coral Castle, Rusty McClure and Jack Heffron survey the theories and tell the story through journalistic investigation and interviews with experts on all sides of the argument.
Florida's Indians from Ancient Times to the Present
Author: Jerald T. Milanich
Description: When the first Indians arrived in what is now Florida, they wrested their livelihood from a land far different from the modern countryside, one that was cooler, drier, and almost twice the size. Thousands of years later European explorers encountered literally hundreds of different Indian groups living in every part of the state. (Today every Florida county contains an Indian archaeological site.) The arrival of colonists brought the native peoples a new world and great changes took place--by the mid-1700s, through warfare, slave raids, and especially epidemics, the population was almost annihilated. Other Indians soon moved into the state, including Creeks from Georgia and Alabama, who were the ancestors of the modern Seminole and Miccosukee Indians.
Written for a general audience, this book is lavishly illustrated with full-color drawings and photographs. It skillfully integrates the latest archaeological and historical information about the Sunshine State's Native Americans, connecting the past and present with modern place-names, and it gives a proud voice to Floridas rich Indian heritage.