Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State

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$27.50  $25.58
Atlantic Monthly Press
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.1 X 2.0 inches | 0.02 pounds

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About the Author

T.D. Allman is the author of Miami: City of the Future, and Rogue State: America at War with the World. A native Floridian, Harvard graduate, and former Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, Allman was for many years the foreign correspondent of Vanity Fair, and is credited with uncovering the CIA's secret war (a phrase he coined) in Laos. He has written about Florida for Esquire and National Geographic, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper's, The New Republic, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Le Monde, and The Economist, among other publications. He divides his time between Miami, New York, and the south of France.


"A take-no-prisoners account . . . extremely timely and relevant."--New York Times Book Review


"A magisterial rip at the state's invaders, conquerors and rulers."--Orlando Magazine

"A rich and lively history of Florida, minus the Disney gloss . . . [Allman] shatters five centuries of mythmaking to tell the real story. . . . A splendid rendering of the messy human story of our fourth-most populous state."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Allman's engaging, eye-opening, and heavily researched history of Florida spans half a millennium, from the myth of Ponce de León's Fountain of Youth to the 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, and it is a fulsome cavalcade of would-be conquistadors, epically corrupt and racist politicians, and oligarch wannabes."--Booklist

"An immense and important work."--Bookforum

"I loved Allman's extraordinary book. . . . Almost every county in Florida bears the name of a butcher, a slavedriver, a madman, a scoundrel or a thief, in a state where for half a millennium the governing mandate seems to be Defeat the Truth, Triumph over Reality. T.D. Allman's counter-narrative to all the pretty lies is a scouring hurricane of research, investigation, and soul-cleansing wrath, and I doubt there has ever been a better, or more important, book written about the Sunshine State, the birthplace of imperial hubris, American-style."--Bob Shacochis, author of The Immaculate Invasion and The Woman Who Lost Her Soul

"Equal parts social analysis, historical review, and jeremiad, Finding Florida is a passionate, often scathing, and remarkably comprehensive encounter with a confounding, contradictory, and ever-elusive place. If your idea of hell is being chained to a galley oar between a politician and a Chamber of Commerce exec, then you are likely to love this book."--Les Standiford, author of Last Train to Paradise

"Manuscripts repeatedly find their way into print that ignore the reality of Florida's past and, in so doing, skew our understanding of what Florida has been, what it is now, what it's likely to become, and what that means for everyone. T. D. Allman's book turns all that on its head. It directly challenges the existing historiography with highly intelligent insight and crafting of narrative in a way that permits the reader to immerse himself in a world far from the expected one. Finding Florida is provocative to the point of daring. Thomas Jefferson claimed a little revolution was needed about every twenty years. Florida and its historiography is long overdue for one."--Canter Brown, Jr., Professor of History, Fort Valley State University

"An extraordinary tome . . . Finding Florida offers a history lesson that is long overdue."--Birmingham Times

"For the general reader, Finding Florida is a catalyst for hearty discussions and more reading."--Authentic Florida

"Finding Florida is fascinating, comprehensive, and accessible to the non-specialist reader. While Allman covers an enormous amount of material--taking Florida from uninhabited swampland to the sidewalk culture of South Beach--he does so in such engaging ways that the reader is never overwhelmed. Indeed, each chapter is in itself a satisfying and illuminating narrative, stock full of vivid characters. Somehow he has managed to pull together a compelling read without sacrificing historical substance, a feat to which many professional historians aspire. His wry voice conveys a point of view that gently pushes readers to understand Florida as an American synecdoche."--Glenda Gilmore, Peter V. and C. Vann Woodward Professor of History, Yale University

"Allman provides connections between events, trends, individuals, cultures, geography and geology that all worked to shape Florida's past and our future. But the real reason to pick up this book is that it's a ripping good read; with its fast pace, wry humor, polished prose, and compelling story, I just could not put it down."--Thomas Van Lent, senior scientist at the Everglades Foundation

"[From] a raconteur of rare qualities . . . [one] of the fiercest and most prescient nonfiction books written about the Sunshine State in the past 40 years."--Palm Beach Arts Paper

"Finding Florida is a must-read for any Florida resident who is interested in the state's history."--EU Jacksonville Magazine