The Florida Handbook 2005-2006 (Book Review)

 


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There is so much to learn and to know about Florida that even the not-so-recent newcomers and residents of several years like me rejoice when they find “The Florida Handbook 2005-2006" in their hands. This book's 820 pages have been compiled by Allen Morris (now deceased) and Joan Perry Morris, both Florida historians and authors.

From the members of The Executive Branch of the State of Florida to noted residents and people who wrote or had anything to do with the history of Florida, all biographies and photographs are meticulously put together throughout the book. In addition, information on major state agencies and Florida's budget are offered in detail. I was surprised to read the clearly written main points of the Sunshine Amendment and the Sunshine Law.

For those who may be curious, Sunshine Amendment provides a right of access to governmental proceedings at both the state and local levels. It gives a constitutionally guaranteed right of access to residents and the Sunshine Law applies to all discussions or deliberations as well as the formal action taken by a board or commission. Almost all state and local public bodies are covered by the open meetings requirements with the exception of the judiciary and the state Legislature.

After the Executive Branch, the book continues with the Judicial System and the local governments of the state, followed by Artists Hall of Fame, Great Floridians, Symbols of the State, Florida forts, Native Americans, Early Florida Cemeteries, Floridians at War, Florida Counties, Florida Literature, Everglades, Exotic Plant and Animal Species, Climate and Weather, Sports in Florida, Florida Forests, State Parks, Citrus Production and Processing, Florida Mineral Industry, Fish and Wildlife, General Farming (Trucking, Crops, and Livestock), Public Education, Highways (Trails to Turnpikes), Notable Bridges, Scenic Drives, Size and Structure of Florida, People, Economy, Utilities, Motor Vehicle and all related services, Elections and a few lists and charts.

To the end of the book, Florida's Constitution with all its articles and amendments are added. The book has an index as well.

It was interesting to read that Florida became a state on February 11, 1845, and the county I live in-St. Lucie-was accepted as the 25th county on March 14, 1844. Then it was accepted again, after its creation for the second time, as the 46th county on May 25, 1905. Floridians, surely, have a special way of doing things.

Inside the book, all the noted individuals of the state are given detailed biographies with photographs. As a bonus, some wonderful old and new photographs decorate the book in black and white.

From a personal standpoint, my attention was directed to the section on Florida literature written by Helen Muir. The first known work written in Florida is “Fontaneda's Memoir" in fifteenth century. In this section, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Hemingway, Audubon, John Muir, Henry James, Stephen Crane, W. C. Bryant, J. F. Cooper, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Kirk Monroe, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Zola Neale Hurston, Michael Shaara, Joy Williams, Laurence Shames and the writers and journalists who came after them and who have had anything to do with Florida are given their places. In 1994, Robert Frost Poetry Celebration was established, and The International Book Fair in downtown Miami is celebrating its 23rd opening in November 2006. As the writer says, “As Florida grows, so grows its literature. "

I came across this book in a Borders bookstore. When I wanted to send it as a Christmas Gift to a friend from online, I couldn't find it in Amazon or in another online bookstore. The book as the 30th Biennial edition is published by Peninsular Publishing Company with ISBN 0976584603.

The Florida Handbook 2005-2006 can be a fine edition to any school, home, or public library because of its meticulously compiled information and priceless photographs.

Joy Cagil is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Writers . Her education is in linguistics. She is an avid reader.

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