E. Lynne Wright’s It Happened in Florida: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened In Series) is a collection of largely untold short non-fiction stories about Florida’s rich history. The well-researched and written book is presented in a chronological order. Whether it is Ponce De Leon’s near landing on the present day Space Coast, Henry Flagler’s reputation, the Barefoot Mailman, the betrayal of Chief Osceola or the first scheduled air flight many accounts of Florida’s pre- World War II history are told. In the postwar era Florida was a fundamentally different place and those stories are described in even richer detail. Beginning with the “Nazi Invasion of Florida” during World War II, some familiar stories are told with a descriptive richness you cannot get from Wikipedia or online sources.
For example, the decision of Disney World to set up shop in Central Florida, the invention of Gatorade and living in Key West during the Cuban Missile Crisis are described with vivid detail not found in many other books about the state or online sources. Other less-told stories about the women’s liberation movement, the space program, Art Deco on Miami and the “Conch Republic” are laid out brilliantly.
This book is a must buy for any Florida history buff.