"Grand reading. Rothchild’s scenario deliciously underscores the bizarre quality of Florida."--Publishers Weekly
"A story of rapacity and gall told with bemused admiration for the waves of visionaries and scamps who have left their mark on the Sunshine State . . . a tale of the wild, wild South in which motives, loyalties, and identities are lost in a tangle of crime and counterinsurgency."--Time
A wandering Floridian who made his way home in the early 1970s, John Rothchild writes about the state with the savvy of a native and the perspective of an outsider. His personal and historical travelogue reads alternately like a litany of 20th-century ills and a Monty Python rendering of the Great American Dream. In Florida, both versions are true.
Settled through the chicanery of a few enterprising brokers and real estate wizards, Rothchild’s Florida is a civilization built from scratch, out of the most unusual ingredients. While much of the state seems younger than many of its inhabitants, he observes, it hosts all the modern demographic, economic, and social problems. Still, those ills don’t dispel the magic of its sunshine, beaches, and exotic fauna or undermine its status as a great American myth.
Told within the framework of Rothchild’s travels from Miami to the Everglades, around the state and back again, Up for Grabs is part history, part travelogue, part journalism, part autobiography--a humorous and appreciative tour of a society fabricated from a state of mind and erected on land that was "ninety percent underwater ninety percent of the time."
John Rothchild , a former editor of Washington Monthly, columnist for Time and Fortune, and contributor to Esquire, Rolling Stone, Harper’s Magazine, and the New York Times Magazine, is author or coauthor of nine books, including A Fool and His Money and Voice of the River, the autobiography of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. He lives in Miami Beach, Florida.