Elizabeth's Reviews > Miami Babylon: A Tale of Crime, Wealth, and Power

Miami Babylon by Gerald Posner
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May 08, 11

bookshelves: 52-in-2011
Read in May, 2011

Miami Babylon: A Tale of Crime, Wealth and Power by Gerald Posner (pp. 320)

A fascinating 100 year history of Miami Beach, Florida through the lens of power and corruption. Posner relates the many boom and bust cycles that have defined the now, hugely popular vacation destination. Miami Beach’s history is the story of many men with aspirations of personal fiefdoms and urban planning of personal playgrounds.

The various waves of controlling parties and interests from the 1920s Members Only Northern Whites to the aged Jewish population, the cocaine smugglers, the Cuban immigrants, the foreign money men, and the Hollywood excess paint a fascinating picture of what a plurality of minority groups with special interests can do when there are few laws being enforced and fast money to be made.

The book is both sad and amazing. The lax view of corruption is stunning and makes New York and Chicago politicians look boring.

Highly recommended for people in architectural planning: the history of styles built, razed, renewed and built fresh again with such speed is worth the read. Those expecting a parade of celebrity escapades to amuse will be very disappointed. Well researched, well told. The book could only be made better with photographic history alongside the words.

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