Join us for a night with FBA winner Jason Vuic in conversation with Sally Bradshaw as we discuss his newest release The Swamp Peddlers.
Florida has long beckoned to retirees seeking to spend their golden years in the sun, but for many the American dream of owning a home there was financially impossible. That changed in the 1950s, when the so-called "installment land sales industry" appeared out of nowhere to hawk billions of dollars of Florida residential property, sight unseen, to retiring northerners.
For only $10 down and $10 a month, working-class pensioners could buy a piece of the Florida dream: a graded homesite that would be waiting for them in a planned community when they were ready to build. The result was Cape Coral, Port St. Lucie, Deltona, Port Charlotte, Palm Coast, and Spring Hill, among many others--sprawling exurban communities with no downtowns and little industry but millions of residential lots.
As Jason Vuic recounts in his raucous new history, these communities allowed generations of northerners to move to Florida cheaply, but at a price: high-pressure sales tactics begat fraud; poor urban planning begat sprawl; developers cleared forests, drained wetlands, and built thousands of miles of roads in grid-like subdivisions, which, fifty years later, played an inordinate role in the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis.
About the author:
Originally from Punta Gorda, FL, Jason Vuic is an award-winning author and historian based in Fort Worth, Texas, who specializes in creative nonfiction.
A skilled lecturer and speaker, Jason has appeared on NPR’s "Weekend Edition," APM’s "Marketplace," "Fox and Friends," CBC’s "The Current," and C-SPAN’S "Book TV."
Jason is a graduate of Wake Forest University, and holds an M.A. in history from the University of Richmond and a Ph.D. in history from Indiana University Bloomington. He was named both a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar and a Fulbright Scholar, and has given invited talks at such prestigious institutions as the Ohio State University and the Harvard Business School.
Sally Bradshaw is the owner and operator of Midtown Reader, the only neighborhood bookstore in Tallahassee selling new books in all genres. She opened Midtown Reader in 2016 after a 30 year career in the political arena including a stint in the White House and the Florida Governor’s office. Midtown Reader’s mission is to create a community space providing wide-ranging content and programs – a place where all are welcome to read, think and share.