OH, FLORIDA!

HOW AMERICA'S WEIRDEST STATE INFLUENCES THE REST OF THE COUNTRY

An inviting tour through Florida’s personality and the colorful characters that make it up.

A chronicle of the eccentric, enigmatic nature of the state of Florida.

The history, culture, and citizenry of the Sunshine State have a less-than-savory reputation. Referred to by W. Somerset Maugham as “a sunny place for shady people,” Florida is a land of contradiction, a home to every variety of hustler, player, and exploitation artist, as well as Disney World. As Tampa Bay Times reporter, author, and native Floridian Pittman (The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid, 2012) points out in his unique and charming book that is part history, part travelogue, and part memoir, Florida is truly a one-of-a-kind state whose eccentricities can at times seem like parody. (There are innumerable anecdotes and factoids provided by the author to quote from, but perhaps it’s easier to mention the popular Twitter handle “Florida Man,” which shares bizarre news stories that capture a slice of the state’s oddball flavor.) However, Florida’s rakish reputation belies the state’s cultural and political clout. For every story like the naked man high on “bath salts” who brutally attacked a homeless person on a Miami highway in 2012, there are others like the case of Florida resident Terri Schiavo, whose medical condition sparked a national debate on end-of-life care—not to mention Florida’s infamous role tipping the 2000 presidential election. Pittman is smart to trace these extremes through Floridian history without making claims to a cause or common character trait that could explain away the strangeness that binds them. Like any good journalist, the author allows his deeply researched collection of Floridiana, which covers real estate, guns, politics, tourism, the elderly, and much more, to speak for itself. Though Pittman’s argument of Florida’s singular importance is disputable, he provides ample evidence to prove that the history of Florida’s endearingly cavalier spirit continues to live on.

An inviting tour through Florida’s personality and the colorful characters that make it up.

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-07120-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2016

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


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  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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