Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Good Read

This is an excellent book. Anyone with an interest in Florida history, development, environment and politics should read this book. It is available at the library and book stores. The author, Michael Grunwald, will be featured at the upcoming Sarasota Reading Festival.

Some reviews:

The New York Times: "Mr. Grunwald, a terrific writer, moves along at a cracking pace. The Swamp abounds in rascals, visionaries and visionary rascals. One of Mr. Grunwald's virtues is his clear-eyed refusal to impose present-day standards on past behavior. The dredges dig, the railroad advances, the politicians scheme and the dreamers paint their Technicolor fantasies. The Everglades, Mr. Grunwald writes, was always too subtle to command love and respect, "less ooh or aah than hmm." In his hands, the ooh and aah come to life." --March 8, 2006

The Washington Post: "In recent years, writers have devoted a lot of ink to the tortured history of south Florida's Everglades. But no one has nailed that story as effectively, as hauntingly and as dramatically as Michael Grunwald does in The Swamp , a brilliant work of research and reportage about the evolution of a reviled bog into America's -- if not the world's -- most valuable wetland." --March 30, 2006

New York Times Sunday Book Review: "Michael Grunwald, a talented Washington Post reporter, understands that South Florida is South Florida because so much miscreancy has gone into the making of it. His first book, "The Swamp," a biting, exhaustively reported work of environmental history, tracks the story of the central "obstacle" in the development and settlement of the peninsula, namely, its water. The Everglades were hostile to settlement. For that effrontery, the United States decided to wring this wilderness dry.

Grunwald's point is that this battle has never really stopped. "The Swamp" is a sort of tapestry, or a really long W.P.A. mural, with a cast of characters whose extreme labors yield a grand, violent, picaresque history of the southern tier of this state. This book serves up 500 years of bloody, mostly foolish, rarely noble, but always entertaining human antics executed by legions of capable (but really nutty) conquistadors, generals, engineers, mobsters, politicians and rich-boy developers as they hacked at each other and the swamp." --April 8, 2006

Palm Beach Post: "Magnificent. Michael Grunwald, a reporter for The Washington Post , accomplished in two years what the rest of us scribblers have been dithering over for a decade or more. His definitive history reads as quickly as a good magazine article. Best of all, The Swamp is up-to-the-minute...Among the book's strengths are Grunwald's pen-portraits of the characters whose careers intertwined with the Everglades, a kind of Madame Tussaud's waxworks of rogues and saints."--July 30, 2006

1 comment:

Gator said...

I read and enjoyed Grunwald's book.

Some of his historical facts are a bit off, but the substance of his work is on the mark.