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Seasons of Real Florida (Florida History and Culture) Hardcover – April 8, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to St. Petersburg Times writer Klinkenberg, there are no cartoon mice, art deco dance clubs or exclusive golf courses in "Real Florida." For him the Sunshine State's essence lies in its hidden swamps, forests, rivers and caves and in the forgotten characters and creatures that inhabit them. In this collection of his Times columns, Klinkenberg seeks out these people and places to document their stories before they are overrun by high-rise hotels and sunburnt tourists. Organizing the columns (which were reworked) by the four seasons, Klinkenberg lets readers into the secrets of Florida's fall (stone crabs, flamingos), winter (orange blossoms, manatees), spring (alligators, hurricanes) and summer (heat, mosquitoes). Whether he is visiting a Florida institution (the Yearling Restaurant) or telling the story of Florida's artists (photographer Clyde Butcher, painter Christopher Still), writers (Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Hemingway) and local personalities (LoinclothMan, Shell Woman), Klinkenberg has the enviable task of telling stories about storybook places and gifted storytellers. A skilled writer, he knows when to listen and when to nudge each short story along. While the vignette structure allows for quick and easy reading, Klinkenberg doesn't always succeed in making readers feel as if they are traveling with him on his Florida journey, from beginning to end. Still, this collection of close to 50 examples of real life from the Keys to the panhandle gives readers a jumping-off point to find their own path. Photos.
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Review

"He writes about the kind of Florida characters we never even knew existed." -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, April 25 2004

...these 47 vignettes will inspire you 'to get out and discover Real Florida on your own.' -- Tallahassee Democrat, November 28,2004

[A] splendid collection....Indeed, what Klinkenberg calls the real Florida is a state on the verge of extinction. -- St. Petersburg Times, April 25, 2004
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Product Details

  • Series: Florida History and Culture
  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida; 1st edition (April 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813027136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813027135
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,704,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By CJ on August 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is one of several great collections of award-winning St. Petersburg Times writer Jeff Klinkenberg's columns about some of the most interesting people and places in the remaining pockets of Real Florida. A master wordsmith, Klinkenberg brings eccentric individuals, wild locales, and local history to life with deft skill. He looks beyond the big cities, theme parks, and cookie-cutter suburbs that define modern Florida. His interviews, vignettes, and anecdotes are delightful -- alternately funny, strange, bittersweet, or all three.

This book is hard to put down. Though I'm a native Floridian and, for all but two years of my life, have been a life-long resident of the Sunshine State, and though I have traveled through almost every corner of it, I still found myself discovering new places and stories that I didn't know about, and becoming reacquainted with old ones and seeing them in a new light. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a taste of Real Florida!
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Format: Hardcover
The interesting Florida history written about in Peter Matthiessen's book, Killing Mr. Watson prompted further reading on the subject. Jeff Klinkenberg's stories capture that wonderful Florida background. Each chapter describes a different and quite unique Floridian person, place or thing, all spun into delightful true tales. Mr. Klinkenberg aptly chooses Florida history that displays "sense of place" so well. Like another reviewer, I'm a hard to please reader too. I couldn't put this book down, and I've never been to Florida. The cover photograph, "Loxahatchee River #30" by Clyde Butcher is so haunting, lovely and appropriate for this book. Fortunately Mr. Klinkenberg devotes an entire chapter describing the one-of-a-kind Clyde Butcher. This book is funny, very interesting and highly educational.
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By A Customer on June 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you want to know what real Florida is like, what it looks like, feels like, smells like and even tastes like -- fall through summer -- this is the book for you. Klinkenberg is a true original, a natural resource as valuable as the panther, manatee and black bear.
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By A Customer on June 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The book's editors (Mormino & Arsenault) invite us to sit down with Florida delectables, like orange juice, to read this book. My plan was to snag some recipes from Randy Wayne White's "The Fishing Guide's Guide to Tropical Cooking." Alas, Klinkenberg's book was in my custody for only a day when relatives spotted it on my table top and hauled it away for their reading pleasure. My half-a-book review: gimme my book back, I love this author!
"Seasons" real value is in the future when we read its stories of people and places and look back wistfully at Florida as it was. And it reminds me that Florida today is still full of charm. And charming writers like Jeff Klinkenberg.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jeff Klinkenberg has been out in his car on the back roads and he's found the reason everyone moved to Florida in the first place. When my great aunt moved to North Miami in 1927 her house was on stilts (floods and alligators); now it is surrounded by 6 foot chainlink fence topped with barbed wire (urban animals!). Jeff talks to people who tell him the stories in between those extremes. Excellent read for anyone who wonders what was there besides the weather.
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Format: Hardcover
I spent Winter '08 visiting my dad in urban Tampa, and looking for Old Florida, decidedly hard to find. Jeff's terrific narratives about so many interesting people and places augmented and often replaced my futile search.
I'm a hard-to-please reader, and this one completely satisfied.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book several years ago when we spent winters in Florida and I gave it away. But Jeff Klinkenberg is a wonderful writer and I missed his wonderful "Florida" stories so I bought another copy and this time I'm keeping it so I can read it again when I get homesick for that beautiful state...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author tells the reader about a lot of places and people here in Florida that he has known or written newspaper articles about. It is a good way to see how and what folks have done while living here.
Plus it let me go back in time to places I have been and to read about folks that I had meet years ago.
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