Rain; A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett. Broadway, 2016 paper. The long history of rainfall and our persistent, sometimes desperate effort to control and redirect it for our needs. Florida Book Award.
Defining Duty in the Civil War; Personal Choice, Popular Culture, and the Union Home Front by J. Matthew Gallman. University of North Carolina Press, 2015. How civilians in the North understood the meaning of duty and citizenship in this “people’s conflict.” Florida Book Award.
Coming to Pass; Florida’s Coastal Islands in a Gulf of Change by Susan Cerulean. University of Georgia Press, 2015. The ancient formation of these coastal islands, inextricably linked to the Apalachicola River. They are now threat from coastal development of second (third?) homes. Florida Book Award.
George Merrick; Son of the South Wind by Arva Parks. University of Florida Press, 2015. Merrick transformed his family’s citrus grove into a planned community, Coral Gables. He adopted the then popular Mediterranean Style, built infrastructure, and left room for the site of the University of Miami. An achievement, but a happy ending? Florida Book Award.
Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home by Tameka Hobbs. University of Florida Press, 2016 paper. A dark period in the state’s history. Why lynchings of African American males during the Jim Crow era continued in Florida when they were declining elsewhere in the South. Florida Book Award.
Dispatches from Pluto; Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant. Simon & Schuster, 2016 paper. A couple settles near a small town in the Delta and learn lots about rural poverty and the region’s lingering racial tensions. Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.
The Home Place; Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham. Milkweed, 2017 paper. A meditation on nature, of belonging to a place in the rural South and its contradictions with his strong sense of black identity. Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.
The Book of Isaias; A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America by Daniel Connolly. St. Martin’s Press, 2016. For those who wish to build a wall, metaphorical or real, around a phenomenon that is a rich benefit to our country. Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.
Jacksonland; President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab by Steve Inskeep. Penguin Press, 2016 paper. Andrew Jackson – war hero, populist political, however, was a massive expulsion of Native Americans, known as the “Trail of Tears”. His opponent John Ross, a mixed Cherokee politician and diplomat. Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.