Arts & Culture » Books

Book Review



This book is somewhat improperly attributed; although Milanich has done a fine job in collating and contextualizing the material, the "material" is a collection of newspaper articles written by Amos Jay Cummings for the New York Sun between 1873 and 1893. If you think Northerners believe Florida is fucked up now, wait until you read Cummings' wide-eyed tales of alligator-hunting, "music-loving cows" and "weak-kneed Democrats" (some things never change); it's clear that he felt like he had landed on another planet. And indeed he had; the scrub, swamps and groves that defined this state 100 years ago were undoubtedly exotic to the stiff-shirted carriage-riders of New York City, and the oddly dry details of Cummings' reports made it all seem that much stranger.

Frolicking Bears, Wet Vultures, & Other Oddities: A New York City Journalist in Nineteenth-Century Florida
By Jerald T. Milanich
(University Press of Florida, 304 pages)

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.