Anthony Lewis wrote many books, but one was significant for us in Florida. That book is ‘Gideon’s Trumpet’. ‘Gideon Trumpet’ tells the story of Clarence Gideon of Panama City and his battle in court that led to a change in law due to a decision in the case by the Supreme Court. The case made it possible for a poor person to have a lawyer with them in court despite their inability to pay for one.
Wikipedia, despite it’s typical questionable reliability, does have a very good synopsis of the court case story –
‘Florida’s Power Structure’ is solidly planted from the perspective of the publication year, 1976, and those who published the book, pro-business, Florida Trend magazine. Thus tons are ignored. Specifically those pork barrel politicians who still had a strong hold on the direction of Florida. There is a half page mention, but otherwise ignored. Also ignored are the scandals and corruption of the banking community still emanating from the ’26-’28 crash in 1976. Though footnoted, little is examined of the corruption of scores of developers that was dynamically shifting the “Power Structure” in 1976.
Despite the author steering around reality, the overview of the selected “Power Structure”is very good with background of individuals and what they have accomplished. The entire state is well represented. Something collections, almost entirely magazine articles, like this tend not to do. The view point is almost entirely if you are trying to generate money, whether that happened or not, thus you are part of the “Power Structure”.
An important note is this book is the only books I know of that makes this kind of examination of the “Power Structure”, however limited, of the entire state of Florida with this kind of, though limited, depth. There are lots of lists, regional studies, biographies of power brokers, but none, that i can think of now, that is as comprehensive.
The writing is very simple and straight forward. With a very easy to understand layout of the book. To an extent, this book has a feel of a book of history for the primary school population.
Understanding this is a limited view….
Bottom line: I recommend this book. 5 out of 5 points.