Published in 1987, this edition is actually two books, Forever Island, published in 1973, and Allapattah, published in 1987.
The book was recommended by a friend who is a lover of the outdoors and can relate even though his perspective is from 50 years ago and north Florida. North Florida has its own 'growth and progress' story but not as stunning as south Florida, although some would argue that point.
My bet is that it's a must read for budding environmentalists and those interested in Florida history.
Both books center on Seminoles families, the gradual loss of the Everglades where they used the land for their food, clothes and shelter. Their loss, of course, was due to the encroachment of land developers in south Florida. The main theme of the books can be summed up by Toby Tiger the main character from Allapattah who said "Soon it will all be ended, and there will be no more. The white men destroy all that they touch."
As a native of north Florida, I've haven't seen the dire results as close hand as native south Floridians, but if there is any question of the damage done, just Google Earth. There is picture proof of the harm done to this once pristine area; encroachment by civilization for the sake of progress. Now we know, too late, the "River of Grass" is an imporant part of much needed water for all of Florida. All for, in a word, greed.
Smith wrote in a very easy and simple manner to tell his point of view. He has lovely descriptions of the landscape and the bond the Seminoles had with Mother Earth and all its animals.
Well worth the time spent in reading these two books.
So sad, the results of encroachment and the books. Sad stories both.
Here's a link to the South Florida Water Management District with information on efforts to restore the Everglades: