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Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida (Florida History and Culture) Hardcover – June 30, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Florida History and Culture
  • Hardcover: 484 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida; 1st edition (June 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813028183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813028187
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #657,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A carefully researched and thoughtful examination of Florida, past and present. -- Bradenton Herald, Jan. 1, 2006

A compelling story. -- Orlando Magazine, September 2005

An entertaining, fact-filled account of how life has changed in the Sunshine State...Mormino’s account is a must-have. -- Lakeland Ledger, October 16, 2005

Captures the astonishing growth of Florida. -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/20/2005

Explores the daring, heroic, complex, ever-changing, sometimes humdrum, sometimes crooked people and events that created today’s [Florida]. -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 7/24/05

Florida is America a little ahead of itself. This book explains how it got that way. -- Anniston Star, 9/11/2005

If you suspect that beaches...have more to do with what Florida is today than battles...Mormino has written [this] for you. -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Mormino has produced a well-written and superbly researched volume on the Sunshine State... -- Choice, June 2006

Perhaps Floridians will realize we’re in this together, that we live in a land worth saving. -- Orlando Sentinel, 7/3/05

Rich and vivid detail. -- Forum: Magazine of the Florida Humanities Council, Fall 2005

Book Description

From New Spain, to Old South, to New South, to Sunbelt, the story of how and why millions have come to Florida and created a megastate of constant social, cultural, and economic change.
 
“This path-breaking book brilliantly explains the explosive growth of Florida from 2.7 million inhabitants in 1950 to 15.9 million in 2000. It focuses on the diverse people who migrated here; the developers of tourism, beaches, shopping malls, and gated communities; new technology (from air conditioning to the space age); and the impact of this growth and development upon the environment.”—James B.Crooks, professor emeritus, University of North Florida
 
“This is the first comprehensive social history of Florida in any of its epochs. A brilliant compilation of data, it will be the standard against which all future such efforts in Florida will be measured.”—Michael Gannon, professor emeritus, University of Florida
 
Florida is a story of astonishing growth, a state swelling from 500,000 residents at the outset of the 20th century to some 16 million at the end. As recently as mid-century, on the eve of Pearl Harbor, Florida was the smallest state in the South. At the dawn of the millennium, it is the fourth largest in the country, a megastate that was among those introducing new words into the American vernacular: space coast, climate control, growth management, retirement community, theme park, edge cities, shopping mall, boomburbs, beach renourishment, Interstate, and Internet. Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams attempts to understand the firestorm of change that erupted into modern Florida by examining the great social, cultural, and economic forces driving its transformation.
Gary Mormino ranges far and wide across the landscape and boundaries of a place that is at once America’s southernmost state and the northernmost outpost of the Caribbean. From the capital, Tallahassee--a day's walk from the Georgia border--to Miami--a city distant but tantalizingly close to Cuba and Haiti--Mormino traces the themes of Florida’s transformation: the echoes of old Dixie and a vanishing Florida; land booms and tourist empires; revolutions in agriculture, technology, and demographics; the seductions of the beach and the dynamics of a graying population; and the enduring but changing meanings of a dreamstate. Beneath the iconography of popular culture is revealed a complex and complicated social framework that reflects a dizzying passage from New Spain to Old South, New South to Sunbelt.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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And what a last sixty years!
andrew huse
Illustrations are delightful and plenty of good documentation and footnotes.
Lynn S. Harding
Required reading for a class... ended up really enjoying the book.
KJW

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By andrew huse on September 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Gary Mormino's ambitious book Land of Sunshine... is an artful contribution to the thin historiography of modern Florida. Picking up after the end of World War II, Mormino shows how new technology and cultural trends shaped the history, population, and land of Florida.

Unlike most academic writers, he employs an eloquent but casual style free of jargon and mind-numbing analysis. Thankfully, this important book is written for laymen, but provides just as many insights for academics and officials. Equally welcome is a focus upon the "people" over the "politicians." It could easily be argued, even today, that developers, businessmen, visitors, and citizens play a more important role in the life and mythmaking of the Sunshine State than political operatives, especially when one takes into account the Florida Legislature. The research itself is superb, and I am in a position to know-I sometimes helped him in his sustained effort.

If the U.S. is relatively uninterested in scrutinizing its own history, Florida hardly seems to have a history at all. In a state full of unconcerned Snow Birds, oblivious tourists, and new immigrants, Florida's history seems to have started when Disney World opened in 1971. Thanks to Mormino's work, the last sixty years of Florida's amazing history are illuminated.

And what a last sixty years! Although a comprehensive review would take too much space here, the subjects of the book's chapters tell a story in themselves. The first, "Look away Dixieland," provides a fine introduction to the places that make Florida unique.

The next tackles the "new land boom" of the 1950s and beyond (did it ever really end?), when common folks from the northeast and Midwest could afford to move to and/or retire in Florida.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Retail Man on June 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a new resident of Florida, I wanted to "get up to speed" on the history of Florida, specifically since 1950. This book covers modern Florida's history very well. I liked the book so much, I am half-way through my second read of it. Very highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Demersseman on September 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A relatively new Florida resident of 8 years, I have been intrigued with the state since my first vacation to Daytona Beach in the 1950's. This is where I wanted to retire - my husband did retire, and loves the easy, warm days of golfing, swimming and hobbies. I am still working, so I see a different side of Florida than he does. Interested in learning more about how this unique peninsula of sand became such a traffic jam, I chose this book, and it did not disappoint me. Informative, entertaining, and eye-opening!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Allain on November 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"...a fascinating, original, and lucid history of the nation's fourth largest state...essential reading for anyone interested in past and present Florida." - Merle Black, co-author of The Rise of Southern Republicans

"...the first comprehensive social history of Florida in any of its epochs...the standard against which all future such efforts in Florida will be measured." - Michael Gannon, professor emeritus, University of Florida
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Osborne on February 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book: Land of Sunshine--- was a real eyeopener on the reasons for Florida's extreme population surge in the second half of the 20th Century.
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By Janet on March 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having lived here for almost 40 years, I am enjoying the interest value of the hows and whys of our state's evolvement.
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