Alligators in B-Flat: Improbable Tales from the Files of Real Florida

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Overview

Florida is a civilized place with eighteen million residents and all of the modern amenities one might expect: fine universities, art museums, world-class restaurants, and luxury accommodations. It is also home to panthers, bears, rattlesnakes, and alligators. In this collection of essays about Florida culture—the things that make Florida “Florida”— Jeff Klinkenberg sets his sights on the contradictions that comprise the Sunshine State.

With a keen eye for detail and a lyrical ...

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Alligators in B-Flat: Improbable Tales from the Files of Real Florida

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Overview

Florida is a civilized place with eighteen million residents and all of the modern amenities one might expect: fine universities, art museums, world-class restaurants, and luxury accommodations. It is also home to panthers, bears, rattlesnakes, and alligators. In this collection of essays about Florida culture—the things that make Florida “Florida”— Jeff Klinkenberg sets his sights on the contradictions that comprise the Sunshine State.

With a keen eye for detail and a lyrical style, Klinkenberg takes us meandering through the swamps and back roads of Florida, stopping to acquaint us with the curious and kooky characters he meets along the way. These sometimes hilarious, sometimes reminiscent stories are as strange and mesmerizing as the people inhabiting this wacky peninsula. Klinkenberg is a journalist who conveys a deep fondness for his state and the curiosity behind his ongoing explorations in each story. Who else would engage a symphony orchestra tuba player to determine if bull gators will thunderously bellow back in a low B-flat during mating season (they do, but they only respond to that pitch).

Readers will join Klinkenberg as he roams through the twisted roots of past and present, describing a beautifully swampy place that is becoming increasingly endangered. The traditional ways of the scallop shuckers, moss weavers, and cane grinders in his stories are now threatened by corporate greed, environmental degradation, and mass construction. From fishing camps and country stores to museums and libraries, Klinkenberg is forever unearthing the magic that makes Florida a place worth celebrating. Join him in contemplating Florida, both old and new, a place that is as quirky and enigmatic as it is burgeoning.

 

Jeff Klinkenberg grew up in Miami, began working in newspapers at age sixteen, and has been writing for the Tampa Bay Times since 1977. He is a two-time winner of the Paul Hansell Distinguished Journalism Award, the highest honor given by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors.

 

A volume in the Florida History and Culture Series, edited by Raymond Arsenault and Gary R. Mormino

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
05/06/2013
Klinkenberg's Florida is concurrently an unapologetically kitschy tourist trap where ‘tacky' is considered a gift shop virtue," a sunny retreat luring retirees and transplants, and a mysterious wilderness that make residents realize their Florida, "deep down, is Jurassic Park." Represented by an array of eccentric and memorable characters, Klinkenberg, journalist for the Tampa Bay Times, depicts Florida culture and profiles its colorful personalities. To investigate an obscure study claiming that captive alligators respond to "auditory stimulation," particularly to the "key of B flat", Klinkenberg enlists Florida Orchestra tuba-player Mickelsen to test the patience of the beasts. Other interviewees include a famed photographer who claims that his idyllic promotions convinced many hopeful transplants: a flip-flop man, a female alligator trapper, a barefooted man living outside modernity in his "Huckleberry Raft", and a talented fish artist battling cancer. Klinkenberg illustrates traditions like cane grinding and worm grunting, the life-threatening hazards of a golf ball diver, and shares the strange anecdotes of many a store-owner, all with a good dose of iguanas and rattlesnakes. Floridians are a charming, talented breed, and this humorous, honest, and often touching collection of tales exhibits the melting pot of traditions and lifestyles from a journalist's eye. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813044507
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 4/16/2013
  • Series: Florida History and Culture Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 700,917
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 26, 2013

    A must read

    Love how Jeff tells a story and love that he writes about Florida and the people. He sure meets some interesting people and opens you up to places in Florida that you never thought about. It's a joy to read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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