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As stories about "Florida Man" inspire wild headlines in the news, Florida's most beloved chronicler is here to show that the state is more than the stereotypes. Award-winning journalist Jeff Klinkenberg has explored what makes Florida unique for nearly half a century, and Son of Real Florida is a compelling retrospective of essays on the state he knows so well.
Klinkenberg tells what it was like growing up in pre-air conditioning Florida and becoming a newspaper reporter in mid-century Miami. He introduces us to the stout-hearted folks who have learned to live and even prosper among the insects, sharp-toothed critters, and serious heat. We meet beekeeper Harold P. Curtis and his prized orange blossom honey; frog whisperer Avalon Theisen; Sheepshead George of St. Petersburg; and Miss Martha, the oyster-shucking queen of Apalachicola.
This book also takes us to some of the most interesting, little-known places in the state. We travel to Solomon's Castle of reclaimed materials, the neighborhood of "Rattlesnake, Florida," and the smallest post office in the United States. Along the way, Klinkenberg stops to impart true Florida wisdom, from how to eat a Key lime pie to which writers and artists every Floridian should know.
Above all, Klinkenberg portrays Florida's people, places, food, and culture with a deep understanding that does not relegate them to cliche. He writes with warmth and authenticity of a state he still sees as wondrous in its own ways. Though some may think the real Florida is a thing of the past, he says, "Do not tell me Florida is no longer a paradise."
"A skilled writer, he knows when to listen and when to nudge each short story along."--Publishers Weekly
"Klinkenberg uncovers the beauty and mystery of his home state."--Southern Living
"Reminds you of hopping in the back of a friend's truck for a ride. But this one takes you beyond the sunny skies and high-rises and into the past."--Miami Herald
"Klinkenberg explores what's left of the Florida that existed before it was invaded by Disney and developers. . . . His beautifully crafted sentences--this is not mere journalism--astutely evoke people and places."--Tampa Tribune and Times
"If Jeff Klinkenberg isn't careful," says Carl Hiaasen, "he might give journalism a good name."
Pilgrim in the Land of Alligators provides a welcome opportunity for readers to discover the character--and characters--of "real" Florida. In this compilation, drawn in part from his award-winning columns, Klinkenberg celebrates some of the Sunshine State's most distinctive personalities, including the original Coppertone girl and the actor who played the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Along the way, he travels to swamps, rickety piers, and Florida's only cook-your-own pancake restaurant.
Ranging from light and comical to wistful and nostalgic, Klinkenberg roams the state from panhandle to the keys, looking to answer the question, "What makes Florida Florida?" Pilgrim in the Land of Alligators will be a welcome addition to the bookshelves of longtime fans or readers new to his work.
The University of Florida has an ambitious goal: to harness the power of its faculty, staff, students, and alumni to solve some of society’s most pressing problems and to become a resource for the state of Florida, the nation, and the world.
In 1958, a panel funded by the Office of Naval Research initiated the formation of the International Shark Attack File, the first comprehensive documentation of shark attacks on a global and historical level. In 1988, the file was transferred to the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. It is part of the Florida Program for Shark Research, directed by George H. Burgess, the planet’s expert on shark attacks, and staffed by a world-renowned team of research scientists and educators.
Travel the globe with Burgess, the Sherlock Holmes of shark attacks, as he studies mauled remains and the scars of the lucky survivors. His most famous case took him to an idyllic Red Sea resort where panic had set in after five attacks occurred in a single week. The attacks were carried out by Oceanic White Tips and a Mako, deep-water species that had no business being so close to the beach. Following the clues--dive-boat operators feeding sharks by hand to entertain tourists, the disappearance of the yearly tuna catch, and the dead sheep New Zealand cargo companies had been tossing overboard--Burgess solves the mystery of the shark attacks for Egyptian tourism officials and offers a list of best practices.
But not all cases end with an easy prescription. In St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, he visits a recent shark-attack victim, bitten just off her dock on Boca Ciega Bay. While the victim would prefer to forget the fateful day the sharp-toothed jaws of the Bull Shark latched onto her leg just below the knee, Burgess gently coaxes the story from her. It will go in the file, to educate other shark researchers and educators and help us better understand the world’s most feared predator.
The stories chronicled in Gatorbytes span all colleges and units across the UF campus. They detail the far reaching impact of UF’s research, technologies, and innovations--and the UF faculty members dedicated to them. Gatorbytes describe how UF is continuing to build on its strengths and extend the reach of its efforts so that it can help even more people in even more places.
"What is raw, alive, and essential about Florida is becoming more difficult to find, true; but it's still possible to encounter it, to experience it, and a good place to start is any story or book by Jeff Klinkenberg. . . . Jeff loves Florida. It shows."--Randy Wayne White, author of Shark River and Everglades
"Klinkenberg is a genius reporter and a wonderful writer. I read this book in one gulp, then went outside, looked at that magnificent Florida sky and made myself all sorts of promises."--William McKeen, author of Highway 61: A Father-and-Son Journey through the Middle of America
No wonder Jeff Klinkenberg loves Florida. At any time of year he can find a place in the state that's ripe to enjoy or a person whose story has aged to perfection.
Arranged by season, the book opens in the fall, which Klinkenberg says is like spring in the north--a time of celebration: "Having survived our harshest season, we feel renewed." Fair weather, good food, and the joys of nature lie ahead, described here in essays that are like time capsules of "old Florida values." Preserving the past, they reveal Klinkenberg's waggish appreciation of the state's history, folkways, and landscape, not to mention its barbequed ribs, smoked mullet, stone crab claws, and fresh lemonade.
Many pieces focus off the beaten path and on modern rogues who seem to turn their backsides to the subdivisions and shopping malls that pave the state: Miss Ruby, whose fruit stand features rutabagas, boiled peanuts, and her own brightly colored plywood paintings; an 85-year-old resident of the remote island of Cayo Costa who hums Beethoven while she hunts for shells; the scientists who test mosquito repellent in Everglades National Park; and the unofficial caretaker of Lilly Spring on the Santa Fe River, who greets canoeists wearing glasses, a necklace, and on occasion a synthetic fur loincloth. Other pieces pay homage to Klinkenberg's literary heroes who've written in and about Florida, such as Pulitzer Prize-winner Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Rawlings's companion and memoirist Idella Parker, Everglades crusader Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and novelist Ernest Hemingway. Klinkenberg also revisits an old St. Johns River campsite of 19th-century botanist William Bartram, whose encounters with alligators there were as alarming as Klinkenberg's with beer cans and soda bottles.
For anyone who has a stake in the real Florida--resident, tourist, naturalist, or newcomer--this tour of the seasons will linger in memory like the aroma of orange blossoms on a clear winter night.
Florida can seem like a child's dream of paradise: endless sunny days, trips to the beach to swim and build sandcastles, bike riding without a jacket in the middle of January, and magical themeparks only a short drive away. But what was life really like for those who grew up here?
During a recent reunion, writers Bill McKeen, Tim Dorsey, and Jeff Klinkenberg found themselves lamenting that so many of their childhood memories were fading away. For them, and for many, Florida is not just a place people go to, it’s where they come from.
That can mean many things to many people, as the stellar cast of writers, journalists, and musicians eloquently reveal in Homegrown in Florida. This utterly satisfying and powerful anthology aims at the heart of the glories of childhood and the pain of growing up. Both a celebration of the exotic, untamed wilderness of a youth filled with moss-draped oaks and citrus fields, evergreen winters and palmetto fronds, and a reminder that innocence often gave way to experience as bike paths became private developments, and swimming holes were paved over by interstates, Homegrown in Florida is filled with tears and laughter alike.
Featuring contributions from Carl Hiaasen, Tom Petty, Zora Neale Hurston, Michael Connelly, and many more, this is a book for every child of old Florida, and every child at heart.
The University of Florida has an ambitious goal: to harness the power of its faculty, staff, students, and alumni to solve some of society's most pressing problems and to become a resource for the state of Florida, the nation, and the world.
Hurricanes and tornadoes--and the devastation they leave in their wake--are feared across the globe, but at the University of Florida these natural phenomena are a fascinating research opportunity. At UF's Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment, wind engineers like Forrest Masters and David Prevatt study storm systems and design buildings to better withstand the forces of nature. Follow their stories as they venture inside Hurricane Wilma with wind gauges, travel to Joplin, Missouri to assess the wind-damage from the most powerful tornado in more than a half century, and conduct experiments with the lab's infamous "Multi-Axis Wind Load Simulator," ominously nicknamed "The Judge." Yet the job of the UF wind engineers does not end there. They take their findings to the drafting table, build roofs and walls, and test shingles, shutters, and garage doors. Their goal: to make sure our houses are still standing, and we are safe, after the storm.
The stories chronicled in GATORBYTES span all colleges and units across the UF campus. They detail the far-reaching impact of UF's research, technologies, and innovations--and the UF faculty members dedicated to them. Gatorbytes describe how UF is continuing to build on its strengths and extend the reach of its efforts so that it can help even more people in even more places.
Gatorbytes highlight for the intellectually curious the world of innovative research happening at the University of Florida. Written by professional journalists, Gatorbytes feature the top research and preeminence work being conducted at the University of Florida, written in a way that’s easy to understand.