The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise

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Simon and Schuster, Mar 27, 2007 - History - 480 pages
70 Reviews
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.

Michael Grunwald is a reporter at The Washington Post. He has won the George Polk Award for national reporting, the Worth Bingham Prize for investigative reporting, and many other awards. He lives in Miami with his wife, Cristina Dominguez.

Visit his website at www.michaelgrunwald.com.
  

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Review: The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise

User Review  - Brandon - Goodreads

This is a book that skillfully weaves together Florida political history, the science of the Everglades and the awakening of the environmental movement in America. Grunwald, as many of the reviewers ... Read full review

Review: The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise

User Review  - Kristen - Goodreads

I really enjoyed parts of this book, and had to skim over other parts. I thought the beginning was really interesting; it discussed the early Indians and the wars between them and the white outsiders ... Read full review

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Contents

Introduction A Treasure for Our Country
1
Part One The Natural Everglades 1 Grassy Water
9
The Intruders
24
Quagmire
40
A New Vision
54
Drainage Gets Railroaded
64
Part Two Draining the Everglades 6 The Reclamation of a Kingly Domain
81
The Father of South Florida
98
Taming the Everglades
216
Part Three Restoring the Everglades 14 Making Peace with Nature
239
Repairing the Everglades
264
Something in the Water
280
Something for Everyone
304
Endgame
333
Epilogue The Future of the Everglades
357
Afterword
371

Protect the Birds
117
Water Will Run Downhill
130
Land by the Gallon
151
Natures Revenge
176
Everglades Permanence Now Assured
197
Notes
377
Acknowledgments
441
Index
443
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About the author (2007)

Michael Grunwald, a Time senior correspondent, has won the George Polk Award for national reporting, the Worth Bingham Award for investigative reporting, and many other prizes. The Washington Post called the first book, The Swamp, “a brilliant work of research and reportage.” He lives in Florida.

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