'Finding Florida' author T.D. Allman at Orlando Public Library today

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T.D. Allman, whose book Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State ruffled a lot of historians' feathers last year, speaks at the Orlando Public Library (101 Central Blvd.) at 6 p.m. today. Allman has written for the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, National Geographic, Vanity Fair and many other publications, reporting from Cambodia, El Salvador, Laos, Tiananmen Square and other far-flung locations.

Finding Florida kicks off by smashing the myth (still generally subscribed to and taught in schools) that Ponce de Leon was the first European on Floridian land, then proceeds to tick off the history of violence and corruption that has shaped the state since. (Like I said: ruffled feathers.)

Our 2013 review of the book said:

T.D. Allman's Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State (Atlantic Monthly Press, 528 pages) weaves our legacy of racism, white supremacy and terrorism at times bordering on genocide together with newer threads of greed, corruption and disingenuous boosterism. No one and nothing escapes his withering, deeply researched account of the state, from land fraud to theme parks to NASA. Ponce de Leon, Henry Flagler and Walt Disney all take a pounding.

This is Allman's take on Orlando:

"Fell that pine barren; build a theme park; construct your gated community. Then watch as the sinkholes swallow up your Florida fantasy, an alligator devours your fox terrier, and the palmetto bugs – Floridaese for giant cockroaches – infest your life.

Disney World today is but one nodule of an immense glob-like conurbation of theme parks and trailer parks, gated communities and broken-window slums where vast cookie-cutter suburbs are interspersed with corporate-logo skyscrapers."

"One nodule of an immense glob-like conurbation"! There's no denying the man's got a way with words. Whether you're engaged or enraged, tonight is your chance to see Allman face to face and hear what he has to say a year after publication.

 

 

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