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Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost and Found in the State of Dreams Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida (April 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813035775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813035772
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #939,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"There's still enough real Florida left in Florida to wow even the most attention-addled imagination. All it takes are a few left turns. Just ask Bill Belleville, who's gotten off on more unnamed exits than anyone I've come upon in quite some time. In his delightfully meandering Salvaging the Real Florida,  Belleville will not only tell ya which turns to take, he'll let you know what goes down once you get [there]. And trust me, once you've gotten a gander at Belleville's Real Florida you will wanna be hitting the low road--or at least a wild waterway. Taking a page from ol' Henry David Thoreau . . . Belleville begins his sauntering series of journeys by explaining just what sauntering really meant to the infamous Transcendentalist. Belleville is encouraging us to adapt 'a behavior that sets you squarely in the moment.' And to 'retrieve the real Florida from those who would turn the Land of Flowers into one giant, giddy corporate amusement park.' Most remarkably perhaps is that no matter where Belleville goes, he sinks into what he calls 'gator time,' and he achieves a oneness with the world that would surely please a saunterer such as Thoreau. That Belleville does so with a naturalist's eye and a historian's attention to detail only makes this rich appreciation of a largely forgotten Florida all the more rewarding."--Miami Sun Post Weekly



"Salvaging is the kind of book that will enthrall devotees of Henry David Thoreau and Ed Abbey. Reading [it] is a bit like going on a field trip with your favorite science teacher : fun because you get to be outside and get your hands dirty, and wholesome because, despite your best efforts, you end up learning something. . . . It's impossible not to soak up Belleville's concern for a sustainable, healthy environment. . . . In appreciating natural places, we become better observers, Belleville says, and his essays are a relaxed study in observation."--Orlando Weekly



"[Belleville's] essays in the new Salvaging the Real Florida are an immensely readable introduction to his conservation philosophy and respect for nature."--Orlando Sentinel



"In Salvaging the Real Florida essayist Bill Belleville saunters through pine and palmetto country, fins deep down into artesian springs, visits shipwrecks off Key Largo, and kayaks through the densest gator populations in Florida. He treks off the map and close to home, seeking not only 'the real Florida,' but a 'chance to rediscover [him]self-the chance to be found.' . . . This is a smart, knowing collection that sheds light on Florida's lesser known natural wonders. Belleville takes the reader to places that most people figure are already gone. He reminds us that all is not lost; there are places worth being found. We only have to know where and how to look."--Florida Book Review



"People who spend their lives marching in the parade of progress need passionate artists like Bill Belleville to help us see---or see again---the natural world. Not just see it, but to feel and respect it . . . to blend into it, to merge our souls into a wilderness landscape. . . . I love pondering with him the untamed yet harmonious and efficient compositions of nature. I revel in his respect for those who have made their mastery of language a vehicle for Salvaging the Real Florida, and I revel in his own spectacular gifts of expression--especially his ability to conjure the quietly epiphanic close."--Phil Jason, Naples Florida Weekly


"Reaffirms that [Belleville's] poetic work belongs with a class of Florida writers that includes Al Burt (too often forgotten), Archie Carr, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Sidney Lanier, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and William Bartram. . . . He still turns a cold eye on the trampling, gouging, lacerating, scorching, mauling, draining, and eradicating that lies behind a perverted notion of progress. But he does not allow the conceit to get him down as he crisscrosses the state in search of the 'real Florida,' an expression Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings usd more than six decades ago to distinguish to indigenous landscape from the developed."--Jack Davis, Tampa Bay History

 



"...Longtime Florida author Bill Belleville takes a personal approach to sharing his love for wild places in his latest book “Salvaging the Real Florida” (University Press of Florida, 240 pages $24.95).This work is a collection of writings about Belleville’s travels around Florida...The point of Belleville’s writings is that getting outside is the point. You learn about nature by getting inside habitats. You get scratched up and sunburned. You have muck on the outside of your shoes and sand on the inside. You may, like Belleveile... have minor misadventures of being temporarily lost in the woods or trying fruitlessly to paddle down an unwelcoming creek.

It’s the kind of experience that makes you look back and laugh at your temporary folly, but it’s also the antidote to the scripted experiences that await you in the unnatural entertainment venues that increasingly dot this part of Florida today, leaving tourists with the impression that that’s all there is to the Florida experience....Belleville’s book also puts Florida’s nature in historical and cultural contexts when the occasion calls for it-he quotes early Florida naturalist William Bartram a lot-and suggests some other books that anyone interested in Florida’s natural history might enjoy...."--Lakeland Ledger



"Belleville is the sort of guy that you'd want as a companion on an outdoor trip. . . . HIs writing is an absolute pleasure to read. This collection of essays, full of hidden gems and wonderful insights, never disappoints."--National Outdoor Book Awards (Winner, Natural History Literature)

Book Description

A ramble through the wild backyard of Florida

"Bill Belleville writes gorgeously and straight from the heart." --Carl Hiaasen, reviewing Losing It All to Sprawl

"If Bill Belleville were a quilt maker, this book would be his finest spread. It is a mosaic, in fact; a series of essays, each a snapshot of Florida. But pieced together, the collage becomes a kaleidoscopic rendering of our remarkable peninsula. And underlying the whole fabric is a fine batting of philosophy: we are reminded of our spiritual links to such a place, and our obligations to keep it whole."--Archie Carr III

"Get off the interstate, cast a cold eye on the strip mall, eschew the theme park, and come with Bill Belleville to the green heart of the real Florida. He takes you to the secret places in the deep woods, the holy swamps, the springs blue as a sapphire and cold as a January midnight."--Diane Roberts, author of Dream State

"Bill Belleville has earned the respect of just about everyone who cares about the Florida environment and Salvaging can only confirm his reputation. It's a little repast of little essays, replete with delicious revelations, such as the color of apple snail eggs (pink) and what sorts of organisms will grow on a sunken refrigerator (read the book). But it's much more than that. Spend some time with Belleville and he'll show you how much beauty there still is in our flowered state and how much, deeply much, it's worth saving."--Lola Haskins, poet and author of Still, the Mountain

Modern life has a tendency to trap people in cubicles, cars, and cookie-cutter suburbs. Thankfully, someone comes along now and then to remind us of the beauty that presents itself when we turn off the information feeds and turn away from the daily grind.

Bill Belleville’s enchanting Salvaging the Real Florida invites readers to rediscover treasures hidden in plain sight. Join Belleville as he paddles a glowing lagoon, slogs through a swamp, explores a spring cave, dives a "literary" shipwreck, and pays a visit to the colorful historic district of an old riverboat town. Journey with him in search of the apple snail, the black bear, a rare cave-dwelling shrimp, and more. Everywhere he goes, Belleville finds beauty, intrigue, and, more often than not, a legacy in peril.

Following in the tradition of John Muir, William Bartram, and Henry David Thoreau, Belleville forges intimate connections with his surroundings. Like the works of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Archie Carr, his evocative stories carry an urgent and important call to preserve what is left of the natural world.

Bill Belleville is a veteran author and documentary filmmaker specializing in environmental issues. His books include the critically acclaimed Losing It All to Sprawl: How Progress Ate My Cracker Landscape and River of Lakes: A Journey on Florida’s St. Johns River.

 

 


More About the Author

Bill Belleville is an Florida-based author and documentary filmmaker specializing in nature, conservation, and "sense of place." His genre is creative non-fiction, and his latest title is "Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost & Found in the State of Dreams". In November 2011, "Salvaging" won a National Outdoor Book Award for the category of Natural History Literature. (Former winers include Robert Michael Pyle, Farley Mowat, David Attenborough, and Roderick Nash.)

Previous to "Salvaging", his book "Losing it all to Sprawl" was named one of the "Best Books of the Year" by the Library Journal.

In addition to his own six books, Bill's also contributed essays and articles to several national anthologies including "Salon's Wanderlust: Real Life Tales of Adventure and Romance"; "The Best Travel Writing of 2006: True Stories From Around the World"; "Adrenaline 2000: The Year's Best Stories of Adventure and Survival"; "Naked: Writers Uncover the Way we Live on Earth"; "Discovery Travel Adventures: Scuba Diving"; "Discovery Travel Adventures: American Safari"; the Introduction for the updated reprint of the environmental classic "From Eden to Sahara" by John Kunkel Small"; and a chapter/essay for "William Bartram: Bartram's Living Legacy: The Travels and the Nature of the South". An excerpt from "River of Lakes" also appears in the anthology "The Wild Heart of Florida." Although Bill considers himself a nature writer, others have also placed him in the category of "eco-adventure" because he integrates nature and the related culture into his narratives. New York Times Bestselling author Carl Hiaasen has said: "Bill Belleville writes gorgeously and straight from the heart."

Bill's also scripted several films for Equinox Documentaries, Inc., including the PBS documentary "In Marjorie's Wake" and the Emmy-winning "Wekiva: Legacy or Loss?" and has traveled widely overseas for the Discovery Channel. For more complete information, see his Authors' Guild website: www.BillBelleville.com

Customer Reviews

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It's more about love of place than any book in recent memory.
David Lambert
As a librarian, I read a LOT of books, but this is the first title in quite some time, to mesmerize me.
John R. Lightbody
If you are, you will be amazed how he can observe and then translate our state's still wild areas.
Claudia Scott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
by David Lambert

North Florida's St. Johns River is a troubled water. It crawls slowly northward through the top half of a troubled state. The river took shape in the Pleistocene-era Florida, nearly 65 million years ago, but it has taken humans only 400 years to change its nature--to harness its energy, redirect its flow, dredge its depth, widen its banks, pollute it with wastes and runoff, fill its floodplains, and draw down its water. New threats to the St. Johns River seem to pop up daily, so keeping tabs is a full-time job for researchers, enviro groups, scientists, and writers like Bill Belleville.

About the only thing humans haven't managed to spoil is the character of the St. Johns. It's that special character that writer/naturalist Bill Belleville admires, and it's what he writes about with such grace and enthusiasm.

Belleville's 2001 book on the St. Johns, River of Lakes, brought readers a new understanding of Florida's longest river. Others have told us how much North Floridians depend on and love the St. Johns; Belleville's book shows us why. River of Lakes helps demystify, and in fact often clarifies, the interconnectedness of man, land, and water. Its evokative prose derives from the author's special understanding of place.

Belleville's words ring honest and true because he `kens' his subject, understands it at a nearly molecular level. One senses that he uncrated much about himself in the process of writing River of Lakes.

Belleville's newest book, Salvaging the Real Florida, is an equally compellingly read. It's more about love of place than any book in recent memory.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By grendel on May 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The title, Salvaging the Real Florida, is as layered as the collection of experiences contained within its pages. In one deft phrase, Belleville alludes to a diving excursion among the remains of the Stephen Crane shipwreck that inspired The Open Boat, the quest to save the remaining vestiges of the state's natural landscape, and a commitment to rescue the treasures of a dreamscape gone nightmare before it is too late.

His writing is engaging, literate, and steeped in an intimate knowledge of his subject. Belleville has hiked her woods, kayaked her waters, and dived deep into the heart of her springs to bring us these tales. He is informed by a naturalist's commitment to a scientific understanding of Florida's unique environment. Yet it is his heart and his passion for his subject that captivates our imagination.

Come along with a a modern day adventurer as he opens our eyes to the treasures that are literally in our own back yard. The collection of essays in Salvaging the Real Florida celebrate and explore a mythic world that we have the power to preserve. They also lament a world that is sadly passing before our eyes. We, just as the state, hang in the balance. The loss of Florida's wild spaces is in no small part, the loss of our selves. Belleville makes a powerful argument for their preservation through non-argument. He leaves the debating and parsing of words to the politicians. Instead, he takes us on a journey, and we emerge wiser for following his lead.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Hood on June 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
SunPost Weekly April 21, 2011 | John Hood
[....]

Shadows and Shade in the Sunshine State

With all the hoopla about Earth Day, it only seems right we localize the holiday and celebrate what we've got right under our lucky noses. Yes, I mean the beaches and the theme parks (after all they're both as intrinsic to our state as sunshine itself). But I also mean the more off-the-beaten-path kinda places, those that don't boast multi-million dollar advertising budgets and triple-figure family admittance fees. Yes, I know, some of the best of those have gone the way of the dodo. But there's still enough real Florida left in Florida to wow even the most attention-addled imagination. All it takes are a few left turns.

Just ask Bill Belleville, who's gotten off on more unnamed exits than anyone I've come upon in quite some time. In his delightfully meandering Salvaging the Real Florida (University Press of Florida $24.95), Belleville will not only tell ya which turns to take, he'll let you know what goes down once you get wherever it is he suggests you go. And trust me, once you've gotten a gander at Belleville's Real Florida you will wanna be hitting the low road - or at least a wild waterway.

Taking a page from ol' Henry David Thoreau, who he cites as saying "the natural world can be a source of `vigor, inspiration and strength,'" Belleville begins his sauntering series of journeys by explaining just what sauntering really meant to the infamous Transcendentalist.

"[Thoreau] used a superb term to characterize how he moved across the landscape. He called it sauntering, and explained it as a derivative of a word used to describe pilgrims in the Middle Ages who were traveling to La Sainte Terre, the Holy Land.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John the Reader on August 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As I tried to make my enjoyment of Bill's newest book on Florida last as long as possible I saw that the jacket blurb claimed him as "our own William Bartram". Those of us who follow his unceasing effort towards gaining recognition of the importance of our natural world, and the need to "salvage" what is left of it, would agree. But I had a gleeful mental picture of Bill riding his bike down Sanford High Street toward Maya's Books and the Florida locals calling "Puc-puggee"after him, as they did to that other "Bill" in 1774.

This work, as eminently readable as all his others, offers a wide spread of differing essays about our natural word, and the threats that we ourselves pose to its beauty and sustainability. The work draws on the authors wide experience in the outdoors and reflects his love and sincere efforts to protect it by educating his readership to the dangers of development, sprawl and the downright stupidity of ecological abuses by those `boomers', developers, and our `nature-blind' politicos.

Bill dives the wreck of Stephen Crane's, The Open Boat the S.S. Commodore off Ormond Beach, and recounts the adventures of earlier dives in the Galapagos Islands and the Florida Keys. But it is when he is wading through the St. Johns River wetlands, strolling the RiverWalk around Lake Monroe or kayaking the wilder reaches of our waters that he is most `local' and at home. Bill has adopted the St Johns River into his own sense of place, as did Bartram, and is truly now one of the river's Keepers.

This book attempts to salvage our own, perhaps waning, regard for this gorgeous State of Florida and tempts us to engage in the efforts to protect and appreciate what there is left of that 1774 paradise found by the original "Puc-puggee".
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