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Over the centuries, Florida has been many things: an unconquered realm protected by its geography, a wilderness that ruined Spain’s mightiest conquistadors, “god’s waiting room,” and a place to start over. Depopulated after the extermination of its native population, today it is home to nineteen million people. The site of vicious racial violence, it is now a diverse state—a dynamic, multicultural place with an essential role in twenty-first-century America.
However, the turbulent story of Florida has been distorted and whitewashed. In Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State, journalist T. D. Allman reclaims this remarkable history from the mythologizers, apologists, and boosters. Allman traces the discovery, exploration, and settlement of Florida and its transformation from a swamp to “paradise.” Florida became a state in 1845; sixteen years later it would secede. Palm Beach, Key West, Miami, Tampa, and Orlando boomed, fortunes were won and lost, land was stolen and flipped, and millions arrived.
The product of a decade of research and writing, Finding Florida is a highly original, stylish, and masterful work. Shedding new light on the meaning of America, it’s the first modern comprehensive history of this fascinating place.