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Bad Guys on Bulldozers: The Environmental Voice in Florida-based Crime Fiction [Paperback]

Harry B. Straight

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Book Description

13 Nov 2012
For more than half a century a handful of Florida mystery novelists have raised within their works a clear and consistent environmental voice that tells the continuing saga of a once pristine land nearly loved to death. For them, the Sunshine State itself is just as much the victim as the corpse floating in the bay or a tourist fed to the alligators. In a very real sense, all of their villains are Bad Guys on Bulldozers. The first of these Florida-based authors to have his hard-boiled hero voice concerns about the natural environment was John D. MacDonald, one of this country's most prolific and popular writers and widely recognized as the dean of American crime fiction. Those who followed in his footsteps--most notably Carl Hiaasen, a Broward County native and Miami Herald columnist; Randy Wayne White, a former Sanibel Island fishing guide and columnist for Outside Magazine; and James W. Hall, an English professor at Florida International University have created a substantial body of work in a genre called “environmental noir” or “eco-mysteries.” By raising the voice of environmental concern within the familiar conventions of the mystery genre, these writers have tackled themes typically reserved for more “serious” fiction. Their novels are not just about what Raymond Chandler calls the “simple art of murder.” They are about the not-so-simple art of survival, and not just the survival of the self, but the survival of the community and ultimately the survival of the species. Do a man an injustice—steal his money, destroy his reputation, seduce his wife or even murder him—and you have harmed one man. But poison the air, pollute the water, contaminate the food we eat or otherwise tinker with the essential clockwork of the biosphere and you risk the annihilation of all life. MacDonald was outspoken on the subject. “Think of ourselves as a virulent infection eroding this green planet even wile we use it to sustain our teeming life form” and warns that we cannot “escape the consequences of our own barbarous acts by sailing of into the future. We must guard our environment or we shall all die, sooner than we might care to guess.” This book is a critical examination of MacDonald’s environmentally themed work and its influence on Hiaasen, White and Hall. It explores how the land itself has shaped their works and their lives. These writers are not just using Florida and its ever-present environmental battles as grist for good stories; they are each personally committed to protecting Florida’s fragile ecosystem against the seemingly wanton destruction that has played such a key role in the history of the state.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; First edition edition (13 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1481010514
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481010511
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 15 x 22.5 cm

Product Description

About the Author

Harry Straight is an award-winning author and journalist who currently teaches a class in Environmental Literature at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He spent most of his career as a newspaper reporter, editor and freelance writer for a variety of publications. He was born in Miami Beach, grew up on the Gulf Coast and now lives in Orlando with his wife of 25 years, Kay Wolf.

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3.0 out of 5 stars garbage i landfill 1 July 2013
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I started it and some day I will finish it but it""ll have to get in line when im bored bored bored!
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