The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise
by Michael Grunwald, a review from The New Republic Online by Gregg Easterbrook.
"It seems hard to believe that South Florida, home to more than six million people, some exceedingly desirable real estate, and a striking percentage of the world's best-looking sunbathers, was considered a hellhole only a little more than a century ago.... The world's largest marsh, the Everglades were defined by an enormous expanse of very slow-moving water at barely above sea level, which caused the Everglades to exist in a condition of perpetual flooding. This made the region close to worthless to people, but an ideal habitat for many plants and for wading birds; the old Everglades offered an Edenic profusion of iridescent flocks of herons, egrets, spoonbills, gallinules, ospreys, and ibis rising together toward flight in scenes whose glory might have been an argument for intelligent design, until representatives of the supposedly most intelligent of animals dedicated themselves with singular purpose to making the whole thing into a colossal mess." Read the entire New Republic review.