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In 40 years as a Florida journalist, Craig Pittman has written about mermaids, nudists, python hunters, toilet iguanas, con men, fugitives, roving monkeys, and scientists who discovered a mythical creature was as real as could be. Now, in his new book The State You’re In: Florida Men, Florida Women, and Other Wildlife, he’s collected some of his favorite wild tales about what he calls The Most Interesting State, relating them with a twinkle in his eye and a strong concern for the future of the place he calls home.
For more than 30 years, investigative journalist and New York Times bestselling author Craig Pittman has chronicled the wildest stories Florida has to offer. Featuring a selection of columns that have appeared in the Tampa Bay Times and other outlets throughout Pittman’s career, this book highlights just how strange and wonderful Florida can be.
With a folksy style, an eye for the absurd, and a passion for the history and environment of his home state, Pittman describes some of Florida’s oddest wildlife as well as its quirkiest people. The State You’re In includes a love story involving the most tattooed woman in the world, a deep dive into the state’s professional mermaid industry, and an investigation of a battle between residents of a nudist resort and the U.S. Postal Service. Pittman introduces readers to a who’s who of Florida crime fiction, a what’s what of exotic animals, and an array of beloved places he’s seen change rapidly in his lifetime.
Many of these stories are funny, some are serious, and several offer rare insights into the heart of the Sunshine State. For Pittman, Florida is both inspiring and dangerous–an “evolutionary test” for those who live in it. Together these pieces paint a complex picture of a fascinating state longing for an identity beyond palm trees and punchlines.
Biography: Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. Born in Pensacola, he graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him “the most destructive force on campus.” Since then, he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. His reporting at the Tampa Bay Times won numerous state and national awards. He now writes a weekly column for the Florida Phoenix and is the co-host of the popular podcast “Welcome to Florida.” He’s the author of six non-fiction books about Florida, including the New York Times bestseller Oh, Florida: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, which won a gold medal from the Florida Book Awards. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.
Florida Voices in generously supported by the Fred J. Brotherton Endowment for Literature, established at The Four Arts by the Fred J. Brotherton Charitable Foundation. Fred Brotherton, who died in 2003, was for many years a Benefactor of The Four Arts and a strong supporter of its programs. Florida Voices, featuring the state that was Mr. Brotherton’s winter home, serves as a continuing memorial to this much-respected member of The Four Arts.