Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife (Google eBook)

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Simon and Schuster, Nov 1, 2007 - History - 368 pages
5 Reviews
Part family memoir, part political commentary, part apologia, Dream State is all Floridian, telling the grand and sometimes crazy story of the twenty-seventh state through the eyes of one of its native daughters.
Acclaimed journalist and NPR commentator Diane Roberts has many family secrets and she's ready to tell them. Like the time her cousin state Senator Luther Tucker wrapped his Caddy around a tree, allegedly with a jug of moonshine on the seat next to him. Or how cousin Susan Branford was given an African girl for her eighth birthday. Or the time when cousin Enid Broward was made the May Queen of 1907, even though her daddy the governor shocked the state by trying to drain the entire Everglades. Roberts' ancestors helped settle Florida, kill off its pesky Indians, enslave some of its inhabitants, clear its forests, lay its train tracks, and pave its roads, all the time weaving themselves into the very fabric of this dangling chad of a state.
With a storyteller's talent for setting great scenes, Roberts lays out the sweeping history of eight geberations of Browards and Bradfords, Tuckers anf Robertses, even as she Forest Gumps them into situations with more historically familiar names. Whether it's the American court of Catherine de Médicis, the Tallahassee court of Katherine Harris, Henry Flagler's boardroom -- not to mention his bedroom -- or Jeb Bush's statehouse, you're likely to find a branch or a root of the Roberts family growing entangled nearby.
Starting in the recent past with the botched presidential election of 2000, Roberts introduces the many sides of the debate, coincidentally peopled with cousins both kissing and close. She then goes back to Florida's first inhabitants, showing how this alluring peninsula many called a paradise played a role in the destiny of those who settled there. Following their colorful progress up to the present, she renders them all with a deep, familial affection.
Florida has forced itself into the collective American unconscious with its messed-up elections, anthrax scares, shark attacks,boat lifts, snowbirds, and the Bush dynasty. While exposing the real people whom Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard have been fictionalizing for years, Dream State ultimately reveals the cogs and wheels that make the state tick.
  

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Review: Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife

User Review  - David Ward - Goodreads

Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors,, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife by Diane Roberts (Free Press 2004)( 975.9) Florida native writes about her home state. My rating: 7/10, finished 2006. Read full review

Review: Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife

User Review  - Dana - Goodreads

If you are at all interested in the peculiar state that I call home then you must read this book. Yes, it is a history book; however it is not written like a traditional monograph. She interweaves her ... Read full review

Contents

Debatable Land
1
Everybodys Magic Kingdom
29
Red Black and White
55
Still Longing for the Old Plantation
78
The Babies Go to Battle
99
Tales of the Reconstruction
123
The Pleasure Dome
153
Bradford Gilbert Sees the World
185
Moonshine
212
Deepest South
260
As Large as Life and Twice as Natural
278
LookingGlass Land
302
The Rules Are Different Here
331
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Diane Roberts, professor of English at Florida State University, is author of "The Myth of Aunt Jemima: Representations of Race and Region" and "Faulkner and Southern Womanhood.

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