The Swamp by Michael Grunwald
The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise

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The Everglades was once reviled as a liquid wasteland, and Americans dreamed of draining it. Now it is revered as a national treasure, and Americans have launched the largest environmental project in history to try to save it. The Swamp is the stunning story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades, the saga of man's abuse of nature in southern Florida and his unprecedented efforts to make amends. Michael Grunwald, a prize-winning national reporter for The Washington Post, takes readers on a riveting journey from the Ice Ages to the present, illuminating the natural, social and political history of one of America's most beguiling but least understood patches of land.

The Everglades was America's last frontier, a wild country long after the West was won. Grunwald chronicles how a series of visionaries tried to drain and "reclaim" it, and how Mother Nature refused to bend to their will; in the most harrowing tale, a 1928 hurricane drowned 2,500 people in the Everglades. But the Army Corps of Engineers finally tamed the beast with levees and canals, converting half the Everglades into sprawling suburbs and sugar plantations. And though the southern Everglades was preserved as a national park, it soon deteriorated into an ecological mess. The River of Grass stopped flowing, and 90 percent of its wading birds vanished.

Now America wants its swamp back. Grunwald shows how a new breed of visionaries transformed Everglades politics, producing the $8 billion rescue plan. That plan is already the blueprint for a new worldwide era of ecosystem restoration. And this book is a cautionary tale for that era. Through gripping narrative and dogged reporting, Grunwald shows how the Everglades is still threatened by the same hubris, greed and well-intentioned folly that led to its decline.

About Michael Grunwald

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Michael Grunwald is a Time senior correspondent. He has won the George Polk Award for national reporting, the Worth Bingham Award for investigative reporting, and many other prizes. The Washington Post called his first book, The Swamp, “a brilliant work of research and reportage,” and The New York Times called him “a terrific writer.” He lives in Florida.
Published October 31, 2006 by Simon & Schuster. 480 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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A lively appreciation of the Everglades as an ecosystem worthy of care and protection--quite a turnaround in attitude, as Washington Post reporter Grunwald reveals.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Swamp: The Everglades, Fl...

The New York Times

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An ecological history of Florida's Everglades and their continuing fight for survival.

Apr 09 2006 | Read Full Review of The Swamp: The Everglades, Fl...

The New York Times

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Michael Grunwald chronicles the transformation of the Everglades from one of the country's great natural wonders into an ecological disaster area.

Mar 08 2006 | Read Full Review of The Swamp: The Everglades, Fl...

Bookmarks Magazine

A few thought that Grunwald paid too little attention to current controversies, did not adequately explain today’s Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, and assumed a condition of ecological purity to pre-European contact Florida.

Aug 28 2007 | Read Full Review of The Swamp: The Everglades, Fl...

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