Unlike other southern states, no definitive chronicle exists about Florida’s governors. That inspired Robert Buccellato to put together a first of its kind book about the governors – Florida Governors Lasting Legacies (Images of America) which will be released next week. In this day and age where institutional knowledge of Florida’s history and political culture has been largely lost, this book will serve as an important quick history lesson for everyone from new residents, to political activists, to legislators. Many of the photographs are from private collections and are being seen publicly for the first time in this work.
The book gives a rapid pictorial tour through Florida since the territorial days. From statehood through the Civil War, the reactionary post-reconstruction period, the populist era, the land boom, the roaring 1920’s and World War II, the book gives a visual and written journey through the changes and explosive growth Florida experienced. Every single Governor is discussed in the book and often used as a frame of reference to describe events throughout the state. The growth of cities in Florida is chronicled through photographs as are the tourist attractions and environmental features that attracted people to the state prior to World War II.
Buccellato also takes the reader on a photographic tour throughout the state to places such as Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa to discuss how the development of each of those major cities was intertwined into Florida’s politics of the era.
The postwar period when Florida emerged from sleepy backwater to mega-state is chronicled in great detail both through photographs and a narrative. Florida’s transformation from largely southern and rural state where most new residents came from Georgia or Alabama to cosmopolitan and urban state where migration from the north, Midwest and abroad were commonplace is expertly chronicled through photographs and words. The emergence of the titans of Florida politics – Leroy Collins, Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, Lawton Chiles, Buddy MacKay and Jeb Bush are all covered in the book thanks in large measure to the authors conversations with former Governors and families of former Governors. NASA and Disney played a key role in Central Florida’s growth and they are covered extensively.
The forward to the book is provided by former State Representative, Lt. Governor and Governor Wayne Mixson, who is the subject of a biography being written by Buccellato for release later this year. This book is highly recommended for all readers of this site. So much of what we cover at TFS involves an understanding of Florida’s past and the challenges for the future. Educating a generation of young Floridians and interested transplants is so critical to all we hope accomplish and making this a better state for all our citizens.
You can pre-order a copy of the book here or purchase it at a bookstore anywhere in the state beginning February 3rd.
Tomorrow, we will have an exclusive interview with the author of this outstanding book, Robert Buccellato.