Monday, September 15, 2008

Sandler: "A Brief Guide to Florida's Monuments and Memorials"

[A Brief Guide to Florida's Monuments and Memorials by Roberta Sandler (Univ. Press of Florida, 2008). Softcover, photos, bibliography, index. 275 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8130-3258-0 $21.95]

With A Brief Guide to Florida's Monuments and Memorials travel writer Roberta Sandler has selected 82 sites that honor/memorialize the broadest possible range of people, places, and events. Her subjects range from businessmen, politicians, artists, and soldiers to local community leaders and activists. Places include battlefields from numerous wars fought throughout Florida's history, along with forts, churches, parks, and schools.

A sampling of the Civil War-related sites covered in the book are the Confederate and Union soldier memorials, Olustee and Natural Bridge battlefield monuments, Fort Jefferson, Key West, Judah Benjamin memorial, and a monument to Confederate General Evander M. Law.

Each monument or memorial has 2-3 pages devoted to it, with the text providing background information on the subject as well as a brief history of the site itself. The monument inscriptions are also fully reproduced, along with directions to each site and at least one black and white photograph. The book is divided geographically into six sections, ensuring that no particular area of the state was neglected.

It's my feeling that the book will probably appeal most to history-minded Florida residents rather than the casual tourist. It's a well constructed, attractive guide to seeing the full range of Florida's history, from the Spanish exploration to the present day.

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