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Inside the reinvention of Florida politics
If I were asked to recommend just one book about my state that would remind us all of the power of real policy and real leadership, I would recommend this one. This is a fascinating history, with lessons for all of us, written by one of the best journalists this state has ever known. --David Lawrence Jr., publisher, Miami Herald (retired)
Perhaps no one alive has a better vantage point to write this book than Martin Dyckman. As Floridas premier legislative reporter in the 1960s-1980s, Dyckman covered the people and policies discussed here, and his skilled, smooth, fast-paced writing style shines through. --James M. Denham, director, Lawton Chiles Center for Florida History, Florida Southern College
Reubin Askew was swept into the governors office in 1970 as part of a remarkable wave of progressive politics and legislative reform in Florida. A man of uncompromising principle and independence, he was elected primarily on a platform of tax reform.
In the years that followed, Askew led a group of politicians from both parties who soughtand achievedjudicial reform, redistricting, busing and desegregation, the end of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, the Sunshine Amendment, and much more.
This period was truly a golden age of Florida politics, and Martin Dyckmans narrative is well written, fast paced, and reads like a novel. Dyckman also reveals how the return of special interests, the rise of partisan politics, unlimited campaign spending, term limits, gerrymandering, and more have eroded the achievements of the Golden Age in subsequent decades.
Martin A. Dyckman, retired associate editor of the St. Petersburg Times,is the author of Floridian of His Century: The Courage of Governor LeRoy Collins and A Most Disorderly Court: Scandal and Reform in the Florida Judiciary. His series on Florida prison conditions circa 1971 won the Distinguished Service Award of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, the Silver Gavel of the American Bar Association, and the Associated Press Managing Editors Association Public Service Award. In 1984, the Florida Bar Foundation recognized his writing on judicial reform with its Medal of Honor Award.