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Totch: A Life in the Everglades Paperback – September 20, 1993


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Totch: A Life in the Everglades + A Land Remembered + Tales of Old Florida
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida (September 20, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813012287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813012285
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A commercial fisherman, marijuana smuggler, and alligator hunter and poacher, Totch is a native son of Florida's southwesternmost coast, the Ten Thousand Islands. His natural-style storytelling enlivens his and his family's history of eking out a living on the edge of the Everglades. These memoirs--which begin with his pioneer grandparents in 1880, proceed to his childhood in the 1920s, and end up in the 1990s--give us a glimpse of a hard life of poverty and pride, honesty and crime. Totch lives by his own rules; he doesn't glorify or excuse his lifestyle but lays it out for us so that we can understand the strength it takes to survive on the edge. Recommended for folklore, ecology, and Florida history collections.
- Susan Hamburger, Univ. of Virginia Lib., Charlottesville
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The colorful recollections of an Everglades old-timer, Loren "Totch" Brown, whose father was a moonshiner and who, himself, hunted alligators and smuggled marijuana. It was a hardscrabble life--particularly when it involved farming or fishing on the shell islands. Then again, it was a wonderful life; Totch always had a great time, it seems, hiring out to Hollywood and getting to know Peter Falk and Burl Ives, or running a charter and watching Richard Nixon fall from the boat and Ted Simmons stop to play ball with local school children. Totch was a principal source for Peter Matthiessen's 1990 Everglades novel, Killing Mister Watson, and Matthiessen contributes a heartfelt introduction. John Mort --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 36 customer reviews
What a magical life Totch lived in a VERY magical place.
jaybyrd
Good book about a cool dude who lived in the sticks near me - had to give it a go, and that was a good choice.
Eric Bonneman
Life was hard, really hard physically with few modern comforts.
D. Yackel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Cassandra J. Robison on December 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Totch is a fascinating book written in a natural writer's style illustrating how it really was down in the islands.The chapters not only offer us the life of Totch Brown but share photos and history unmatched in any other source I have found. Any reader interested in Florida history and/or anyone who was mesmerized by Peter Matthiessen's trilogy (Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man's River, and Bone by Bone) will revel in this book's information. The photographs add so much to the story offering a glimpse at this rather mysterious corner of Southwest Florida (where else, for example, can one see a photo of Ted Smallwood's store as it looked at the turn of the century?). I read it cover to cover without putting it down, and I turn to it often for Florida history/environmental/sociology information. A great find for any lover of Florida history! Totch offers us all a real glimpse into the lives and lore of inordinately tough, brave people who were real pioneers in a little known and enigmatic part of America.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Peter Matthiessen, author of "Killing Mr. Watson," and a master in is on right, is definitely on the mark in describing Loren G. "Totch" Brown as "a natural-born story-teller." A wonderful account of yesterday's Everglades & its people, "Totch, A life in the Everglades" is so colorful and entertaining you'll almost feel the need to keep the mosquito repellent handy while reading it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Minnesota O'C on December 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I received this book after a family member visited Totch country. As an avid historian I immediately dived in to this book and never looked back. It was an honest look at a "time forgotten" by a man who presented his life as it was, the good & the bad portions. Don't hesitate to buy this and take a journey with Touch. This is the real Florida & not the Disney version.
I am making a special trip to Florida in January of 2008 just to visit this place with my two young boys!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 1997
Format: Paperback
Totch was a devil most of his life, even by his own standards. It is interesting that he repented and claims to have tried to save the very same Everglades that he harvested most of his life. I do understand the reasons. My family is from Everglades City and did the very same things. They, however, have not tried to explain their way of life away and become one of the Park Service's mouthpieces. The book gives an accurate and in depth look at life as it was in a remote and still wild area of America.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By PC Mountain VINE VOICE on February 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a wonderfully informative and touching story of a great and honorable man. Through Totch we learn of a nearly forgotten way of life and we see the Everglades as it used to be. I appreciate his honesty and plainspokeness and I'm thankful Totch made this book to preserve an important history. I also recommend the three movies made about him: Totch Brown's tales of the Everglades and 10,000 islands, The Everglades outlaw Totch Brown, and Yesterday's Everglades.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JimOsceola on August 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a very readable book for any age group about a lifestyle we'll never see again.

It's considered a memoir, but spares us the personal details of an author's favorite crystal doorknob (Mia Farrow) and other indulgences by self-involved people like Tanya Tucker or Cybill Shepperd. It was really hard to like any of those three after reading their books.

Totch, however, instantly inspired respect and admiration. Like most of the old crackers, he doesn't whine or over-explain, he just tells it like it was. I'm from the region he writes about, and it brought back a lot of memories. Yes, there were illegal activities mentioned in the book. In south Florida? Really?

A reviewer wrote a stinging diatribe about Totch's gator hunting, claiming it was done for meanness or sport. Hunting gators for fun? It's not like playing golf, sport. It's dirty and dangerous work, especially back then. I had friends who caught wild hogs fifty years ago in palmetto scrubs, and believe me, it was nothing like today's reality show where the star wears eighty pounds of Mary Kay make-up and designer jeans.

I would place this book with Patrick Smith's "A Land Remembered" for plain-spoken writing about a resourceful family living in a world now swallowed up by condos and development. At least someone documented what it was like for future generations.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David B on January 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My first impression of Totch after only 10 pages wasn't very good. But I gave it a chance and I am glad I did. I have kayaked/camped at most of the places he lived and visited in the book. Reading about his experiences and how life was back when he was growing up and relating to my experiences was wonderful. His easy way of telling stories reminded me of some of the people I've met and camped with down in the Everglades - possibly one of those strangers was him...

I totally related and understood most of his situations with nature, mosquitoes, and the weather. Yes, he did some illegal things but you would have to have been raised in the area or at least know the area and the people to really understand.

Highly recommend for anyone who has explored the area and for those interested in the history and how life was in the area.
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