Friday, November 6, 2015

For Sale American Paradise


Far too many real estate books are just plain boring.  Perhaps it is necessary sometimes given the nature of the subject matter---but not always.  Most times boring books are explained away by the simple fact they were written by boring authors.

FOR SALE AMERICAN PARADISE by author Willie Drye is about as far away from dull and sleep inducing as any book could possibly be.

This is the amazing story of real estate investment and speculation in Florida during the 1920s.  From the boom to the inevitable bust.  It reads like a Who's Who of America during the Roaring Twenties as everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, flocked to the Sunshine State to make some money.  The list includes The Marx Brothers, Al Capone, Thomas Edison, and even political firebrand William Jennings Bryan.  And, of course, there were the millions of little people, the average citizens all over the country who believed the sky knew no limits and everyone could cash in on this new glorious frontier.

I could not put this book down.  The author's research is exhaustive and this work does not read like a novel.  Instead, the facts and details simply overwhelm the reader into thinking "How could anyone ever have thought any of this was really true?"  A truly unique writing style.  The author's extensive notes on sources run from pages 236 to 281, in other words, 45 pages of footnotes.  Put another way, nearly 20% of this entire book is detailed research for the other 80%.

This book is fun, exciting, sad, thought provoking, unique, and most of all from a real estate perspective, educational.  You see how real estate bubbles are born and die.  The spirit of innovation which gives rise to them, the greed which ultimately seizes control and spins them into chaos, and the financial carnage and destruction which is left in their wake.

A MUST READ real estate book.  Just awesome.  As a real estate writer I applaud Mr. Drye for his extensive research and how well he used it all.

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