A competent addition to the Regions of America series. The author, a Miami Herald reporter from 'way back, contends that the frontier has dominated Florida throughout its history, but she lets her views prove themselves with a minimum of editorializing. Much of the book is devoted to colonial history. The Spanish first failed to gain footholds or treasure, then built mission villages and fought the French and British; the latter colonized Florida in 1763, treating the Indians as customers, making St. Augustine an outpost of busy gentility. When the Americans took possession in 1821 they treated the Indians as ""vicious encumbrances"" --another link in the tradition of violence which runs from slavers and pirates to the Civil War, the ""American Siberia"" of turpentine chain gangs, and the rise of the Klan. The book gets skimpier and duller as the citrus industry and the railroad/hotel developers move in. It ends with a short epilogue on the recent past and a plea to save Florida's resources from engineers and investors. Straightforward style, sound emphasis, special interest for the especially interested.