Bubble in the Sun is a work of non fiction which details the Florida land boom that took place about 100 years ago. It’s an age old story of rich men behaving badly. Something that doesn’t surprise us today. Greed, status, wealth, power. Florida has seen it all. This is the story of the real estate moguls Carl Fisher, George Merrick and Addison Mizner. While they helped to create South Florida, their ambition ultimately led to their ruin. Not one of the men profiled survived the boom with his fortune or health intact.
I found this book absolutely fascinating. The era was post World War I and people were looking to invest. Americans had money and many had cars. Buying land in Florida became a sure-fire way of getting wealthy. Credit was easy to get. Prices continued to rise. The developers were getting very rich and living lavish lifestyles. These men didn’t just create developments, they were creating new towns such as Coral Gables. “Binder boys” helped serve as selling agents. But then came the bust. Land prices rose too high. People became sellers, no longer buyers. The Hurricane of 1928 and news that South Florida was essentially wiped out destroyed any lingering desire for people to invest in land. The Great Depression soon followed.
While the developer kings were ruined, their legacies remain. They helped to create now vibrant cities, which would end up growing and becoming successful in the decades to come. Architect Addison Mizner’s influence in Palm Beach and Boca Raton are still very visible. This is where I live and his style continues to define much of the area.
A hero in this tale of excess is Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the other environmentalists who stopped ill-conceived developments in the Everglades and elsewhere. Stoneman Douglas was a true pioneer. At age 103 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She lived to age 108.
If you live in or enjoy visiting South Florida, you might find Bubble in the Sun as engaging as I did. You'll never look at the Boca Raton Resort & Club the same way again.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Non Fiction / History.
Publication Date: January 14, 2020.
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