Books: Sunstrokes Up for Grabs By John Rothchild

Viking; 212 pages; $15.95

John McPhee's and Joe McGinniss's books on Alaska appealed to the national myth of God's country and the manly fantasy of Huck Finn's flight from Aunt Sally and her civilizing ways. In the 49th state, one confronted a mystical vastness in which solitude is often confused with freedom. John Rothchild is drawn to a less awe-inspiring part of America: Florida, where the descendants & of the King and the Duke turned swamp into playgrounds and retirement pastures.

Up for Grabs is a story of rapacity and gall told with bemused admiration for the waves of visionaries and scamps who have left...

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