American Beach

( 1 )


Critically acclaimed author Russ Rymer interweaves three contemporary true stories from northeast Florida, to provide astonishing insights into American race relations. Abridged.
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Audiobook)
  • All (8) from $2.44   
  • New (2) from $60.81   
  • Used (6) from $2.44   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.


Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:


Condition: New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by
Sending request ...


Critically acclaimed author Russ Rymer interweaves three contemporary true stories from northeast Florida, to provide astonishing insights into American race relations. Abridged.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
Journalist Rymer acknowledges the difficulty of a white man recording black history: the reluctance and suspicion of interview subjects and the writer's concerns about the history not being accorded its due consideration. But Rymer overcomes those suspicions and delivers a fascinating account of the economic and social development of two black communities in Florida: American Beach and Eatonville. Rymer emphasizes the development of American Beach and the wealth accumulation of its most prominent family, all at a time when blacks were subjected to stifling discrimination in the U.S., particularly in the South. His focus is the fascinating family of Abraham Lincoln Lewis, Florida's first black millionaire, developer of the resort community, and a founder of the businesses that supported the community for so long. Chief among the family "characters" is MaVynee Betsch, a spectacle with overgrown hair and nails, very aggressive notion
Library Journal
American Beach, near Jacksonville in northern Florida, was founded in the early part of the century as a resort for blacks by Abraham Lincoln Lewis, president of the African-American Insurance Co. It catered to the black elite during the days of segregation; now it is being encroached upon by the golf courses and retirement homes of Amelia Island. Journalist Rymer explores the past and present of American Beach and in particular the woman who wants to preserve it--MaVynee Betsch, Lewis's great-granddaughter. Trained as an opera singer, Betsch gave up her singing career and came home to the beach. Rymer also recounts the effect that integration had on this place, on Jacksonville, and on black entrepreneurship. This is a thoughtful study, ably read by its author, but the abridgment is missing details that might have better rounded out the story.--Nann Blaine Hilyard, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A perceptive, occasionally slow-reading mix of history, personal narrative, and cultural criticism tries with great (though not complete) success to analyze the role race and money play in America's most intractable social problems. Researching the history of his adopted northeast Florida home, Rymer (Genie: An Abused Child's Flight from Silence, 1993) encounters suspicion as a white journalist interested in black history. His interest is largely explained by the fact that he sees the rise and fall of American Beach, one of the country's few black resorts, as exemplary of the problems faced by American society as a whole. The longest of the three overlapping stories, "Ancestral Houses," examines the life of A.L. Lewis, Florida's first black millionaire and a towering example of a type long disappeared from the American scene: a businessman who melds morality and commerce. As the founder of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company and the architect of the planned community of American Beach, Lewis was the moral and financial pillar of his community. After his death, both company and community disintegrated. Rymer, who sees this sad tale as an example of the tragic arc of US (rather than exclusively black) history, brackets that story with two related narratives. The first details the death of a troubled black man at the hands of white policemen, and the tensions it causes. The second contrasts Disney World's nostalgic Celebration community with the real-world battle for autonomy waged by Eatonville, the nearby hometown of Zora Neale Hurston. Throughout, Rymer's conviction is that American society has been rent by a central problem throughout history: our ability to"dichotomize" our lives between business and morality. He's at his best as a reporter, allowing his subjects to spin their own tales. At times his social commentary (his comparison of Disney's utopian Celebration community with the ideals of the Harlem Renaissance, for example) overreaches.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780694520701
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/1998
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged, 2 Cassettes
  • Product dimensions: 4.54 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Russ Rymer is a journalist who has written for The New Yorker, Harper's, and the  New York Times. His first book, Genie, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in Los Angles.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)