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Bubble in the Sun: The Florida Boom of the 1920s and How It Brought on the Great Depression

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Christopher Knowlton, author of Cattle Kingdom and former Fortune writer, takes an in-depth look at the spectacular Florida land boom of the 1920s and shows how it led directly to the Great Depression.

The 1920s in Florida was a time of incredible excess, immense wealth, and precipitous collapse. The decade there produced the largest human migration in American history, far
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Simon Schuster
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David Wineberg
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It all started with Standard Oil money. Henry Flagler, Rockefeller’s partner (who John D. called the brains of the Standard Oil Trust) retired from the company and discovered the new frontier – Florida. Like a Jeff Bezos pushing into outer space, Flagler spent what today would be billions developing land in Florida and building a railway to and through it. This opened the state to freight and passengers, and the madness of the bubble began. Where mere mortals saw swamps, clouds of mosquitos and ...more
Michael Perkins
I've done a bestseller on the tech stock bubble, so the dynamic of this bubble, especially the irrational psychology behind it (FOMO) was very familiar.

The book really has no story arc. It's largely episodic, full of a lot of detail, which makes for a choppy read. But I think the formula was clear. The tycoons were selling average people something that was too good to be true. They were told there was a chance you could "flip" the "land" you bought to someone else and pocket the gain. Too much
Amy Robertson
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for an advance of this title in exchange for my honest review. Bubble in the Sun, by author Christopher Knowlton , was like reading about the Gold Rush, of the West, but rather the land rush of the state of Florida. From early discovery of Florida's beaches, to the purchasing of land, through the industrialization of the state, to development, and marketing, Knowlton creates a picture of wealth and glamorous living. We learn of the railroad expansion ...more
Rita Ciresi
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
For fans of Florida lore. Of special interest to me were the stories of architect Addison Mizner and the mysterious disappearance at sea of D.P. Davis, founder of Davis Islands.
S. Smith
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The author's lively style matches the exuberant tempo of the times chronicled in this well-documented social, economic, and environmental history of boom and bust in Florida. His intriguing analysis of the Sunshine State's real estate craze during the 1920s and his memorable prose portraits of the wild, risk-taking characters who drove the development of South Florida will interest both general readers and specialists. Note: The publisher supplied an advance reading copy via NetGalley in ...more
Sue Fernandez
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for an advance of this title in exchange for my honest review. I didn't know what to expect from this book, but it looked interesting. I wanted to see where it was going. I'll warn you that the foreward/beginning of the book is a bit slow, but once you get past that the book is so very interesting. Florida was a swamp, and it became a place for the elite to play.
One thing I loved was the author's ability to describe the people, the place and the
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Bubble In The Sun is a thoroughly researched and engagingly written history of the Florida land boom in the 1920s. The book focuses mainly on four real estate speculators: Carl Fisher in Miami Beach, Addison Mizner in Palm Beach and Boca Raton, George Merrick in Coral Gables, and David Paul D. P. Davis in Tampa and St. Augstine. But other important individuals such as Henry Flagler (investor) and Marjory Stoneman
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When a book is written this well history comes alive, in technicolor. It has it all - huge fortunes, huge homes, huge dreams and it all comes together to create the Florida we know today. Billions and billions of dollars spent by today's values and nothing was thought to be impossible. Family fortunes had been made in oil and sewing machines, chemicals and lumber and now that money was being spent to build a tropical playground for America. What a playground it turned out to be. From Flagler ...more
O Prism
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a GREAT read! One of the best mystery/thrillers I’ve read recently! A tale of two sexual assaults, 25 years apart, woven together by a podcaster who inadvertently connects the two when a relative of the former crime anonymously contacts her pleading for her to investigate during her coverage of the present one. And how, does she connect! This story will make you think, and question what you believe wrt morals, ethics, and sexual assault/rape. This book had everything - who to trust or ...more
Cian O hAnnrachainn
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How appropiate that I chose this for my beach read on a sun holiday?

The premise for the book, that land speculation run amok caused the Great Depression, may be a bit of a stretch, but the book itself is fascinating. Quite a cast of characters went south and started selling bits of Florida, creating a cycle of buying and selling in a frenzy of speculation. Everyone wanted to strike it rich, but reality has a most unpleasant habit of inserting itself when least welcome. Mr. Knowlton takes the
Dale Dewitt
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I found myself comparing the Florida land rush to the 2008 financial crisis and how uncontrolled greed in real estate effected every aspect of our economy. The cast of characters that basically created the Florida that we know today is amazing. These visionaries took what was swampland and converted into a state that is now the fastest growing in the country. I am a recent Florida transplant myself and you hear people lamenting the disappearance of "Old Florida" but in reading ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Bubble in the Sun by Christopher Knowlton is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late November.

Chapters on the huge amount of housing and resort construction in Florida during the 1920s & 1930s, sprawling exploits and naughtiness, crime, racist violence, stormy weather, collapse of the stock market, and gambling amid quantitative (versus biographically qualitative) introductions to Floridian barons, mostly having to do with who can do what for how much and how fast; some dainty and prim,
Rachel Sharf
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of research went on in the writing of this book (The bibliography list takes almost 1/3 of the book). As a Floridan, who does not know much about the beginnings of the current day S. Florida, I found the book illuminating. I also never connected Florida and the bubble it created, with the 1929 Depression. All in all interesting and enlightening.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and A MUST READ

An extraordinary trip back to the 20’s .
A tremendous read so insightful as to the flavor and excitement of the frenzy that enveloped the FLORIDA boom .
I could not put it down
Barbara vdM
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So very interesting to learn, how all these situations, people & events interlink to go from mesmerising to causing such a mess.
Review to come.
Xavin Daniels
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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