Synopses & Reviews
Likely to raise hackles among Democrats and Republicans alike, this dynamic history of modern Florida argues that the Sunshine State has become the political and demographic future of the nation. David Colburn reveals how Florida gradually abandoned the traditions of race and personality that linked it to the Democratic Party. The book focuses particularly on the population growth and chaotic gubernatorial politics that altered the state from 1940, when it was a sleepy impoverished southern outpost, to the present and the emergence of a dominant Republican Party. In the twenty-first century, Colburn says, Florida is a dynamic, highly partisan, largely conservative state at the cultural, social, and economic intersection of the Western Hemisphere. But the transition hasn't been entirely felicitous. Allegations abound that the state is a "banana republic" favoring the wealthy, a piece of paradise that embraces "immigrants, natives, seniors, rednecks, evangelicals, and yes, flim-flam artists and mobile home salesmen. All of whom came to the state looking for ways to improve their lot in life." Colburn depicts the state's colorful governors at the center of every postwar development from Cracker to Sun Belt politics, from segregation to integration, from boosterism and modernization to economic and environmental crises. As the story of one of the most influential states in the nation, the book redefines Florida politics.
About the Author
David R. Colburn, professor of history and director of the Askew Institute at the University of Florida, is the author, coauthor, or editor of thirteen books, including Florida's Megatrends and Government in the Sunshine: Florida Politics Since 1845. Colburn served as provost and senior vice president of the University of Florida for five years.