Looking for a good summer read? These ten free eBooks invite readers to explore the Sunshine State, illuminating the inspiration for Disney World and taking readers beyond the Orlando theme parks to learn about Florida’s filmmakers and sculptors, the human heritage of Miami, and even the firsthand experiences of Hurricane Maria refugees.

You can enjoy the digital versions of these ten books for free on eReaders such as Kindle, Nook, and Kobo through July 31, 2021. To access any of these free eBooks, visit our website or your favorite eBook vendor and navigate to the book of your choice. We hope you enjoy these free reads.


Power and Paradise in Walt Disney’s World
Cher Krause Knight

In this fascinating analysis, Cher Krause Knight peels back the layers of Walt Disney’s inspiration and vision for Disney World, exploring the reasons why the resort has emerged as such a prominent sociocultural force. Knight investigates every detail, discussing how each was carefully configured to shape the experience of every visitor.


The First Hollywood: Florida and the Golden Age of Silent Filmmaking
Shawn C. Bean

Jacksonville, Florida, was the capital of the early film industry. Shawn Bean uses first-person accounts, filmmaker biographies, newspaper reports, and city and museum archives to bring to light this little-known aspect of film history.


Highway A1A: Florida at the Edge
Herbert L. Hiller

Highway A1A is the dramatic story of how tourism led to development, how development led to sprawl, and how this coastal corridor, almost out of the blue, created Florida’s original year-round residential downtowns with the power to transform how Floridians live and how the world vacations in the Sunshine State.


Sandspurs: Notes from a Coastal Columnist
Mark Lane

Far from stories of surf, sand, and orange juice, Mark Lane’s snapshots of life in the Sunshine State feature gargantuan insects, notes on gardening in a five-season climate (spring, summer, ultrasummer, fallish, and winterish), and commentary on the two biggest shows in the state: NASCAR and state politics. Sandspurs allows readers to discover one of Florida’s most gifted writers.


High Seas Wranglers: The Lives of Atlantic Fishing Captains
Terry L. Howard

Take to the sea with Captain Terry Howard, who will introduce you to some of the best-known commercial and charter fishing captains in Florida. Their gritty, rich, and astonishing stories will have readers holding fast with each true tale of adventure on the water. This book preserves a thrilling history that would otherwise be lost.


Digging Miami
Robert S. Carr

In Digging Miami, Robert Carr traces the rich 11,000-year human heritage of the Miami area from the time of its first inhabitants through the arrival of Europeans and up to the early twentieth century. This books presents a unique anatomy of this fascinating city, dispelling the myth that its history is merely a century old.


Red Pepper and Gorgeous George: Claude Pepper’s Epic Defeat in the 1950 Democratic Primary
James C. Clark

This book is a fascinating look at the campaign that changed everything in Florida—and the South. The resounding victory of “Gorgeous” George Smathers in the 1950 senatorial election helped set the stage for the complete reversal of the political power structure that had ruled the South since the end of Reconstruction.


Tossed to the Wind: Stories of Hurricane Maria Survivors
María T. Padilla and Nancy Rosado

Framed by the stories of Hurricane Maria evacuees, this book is the gripping account of the wreckage, despair, and displacement left in the wake of one of the deadliest natural disasters on U.S. soil. It is also a story of hope and endurance as Puerto Ricans on the island shared what little they had and the diaspora in Florida offered refuge.


Monumental Dreams: The Life and Sculpture of Ann Norton
Caroline Seebohm

In this first-ever biography of an important twentieth-century artist, Caroline Seebohm tells the inspiring story of how Ann Norton paved her own way to become an artist and sculptor whose work encapsulates and transcends the modernist movement. Today Norton’s sculptures can be viewed at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach, Florida.


Center of Dreams: Building a World-Class Performing Arts Complex in Miami
Les Standiford

Discover how one spectacular building project revolutionized Miami in Center of Dreams by New York Times bestselling author Les Standiford. The inspiring story of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is a testament to the power of the arts to repair and sustain communities.


The digital versions of these ten books can be accessed for free through July 31, 2021.

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