Paging Florida Classics

Pratt-MailmanIf you’re searching for classic books about the Sunshine State, as a holiday gift or any time, the Florida Classics Library is a great place to start.

Now based in Port Salerno, this publisher and small-press distributor has been making fine Floridiana available for more than 50 years.

Offerings include paperback editions of titles by Theodore Pratt – The Barefoot Mailman, The Big Bubble, and The Flame Tree – and many other must-reads about old Florida, ranging from the lesser known (Florida Cow Hunter: The Life and Times of Bone Mizell by Jim Bob Tinsley) to the famous (The Everglades: River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas). See

By the way, Florida cow hunter Bone Mizell (born 1863) was immortalized in 1895 by artist Frederick Remington in Harper’s magazine as the archetype of the “Cracker Cowboy.”

Bone Mizell as depicted by Remington

Bone Mizell as depicted by Remington

Bone was related to Orange County Sheriff David Mizell — the sheriff whose shooting death in 1870 inspired the bloody Barber-Mizell feud and is buried on the grounds of what’s now Harry P. Leu Gardens.

The sheriff’s colorful cousin inspired many moonshine-fueled legends on Florida’s wild frontier. Tinsley’s biography of him is excellent.

Another of my favorites on the Florida Classics list is The Other Florida – sketches from the Panhandle country by Gloria Jahoda, a superb writer who died long before her time.

Florida has inspired or been a “character” in so many great books; it will be great fun to think and write more about them in the future.