A Land Remembered
After reading A Land Remembered, you can never again drive through Florida without thinking of its rich history, thanks to Patrick Smith’s vivid imagery. If we take the time to listen, we discover our heritage through his stories. Patrick Smith is in the same league as Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and others who have written so insightfully of the human condition.
Warren Resen, Travel Writer – Greenacres, Fl
This book should be required reading as you cross the state line into Florida. It is truly a rite of passage for Floridians and any one who loves history.
Camille – Jupiter, Florida A Land Remembered
Voted Best Florida Book Again For the 10th Year In A Row!
The story opens with a rich but despondent Solomon Macivey as he cruises along Biscayne Bay in his silver Rolls Royce, then jumps back in time to 1858, when his grandfather, Tobias MacIvey, arrives in the Florida wilderness to start a new life with his wife and infant son. The sweeping story that emerges is a rich, rugged Florida history featuring a memorable cast of crusty, indomitable Crackers battling wild animals, rustlers, Confederate deserters, mosquitoes, starvation, hurricanes, and freezes to carve a kingdom out of a swamp. They survive and prosper, but at a high cost.
Here is how they start their humble trek into the Florida wilderness: “Tobias MacIvey was thirty years old and had been in the Florida scrub for five years. He had come south out of Georgia in 1858. In his horse-drawn wagon there was a sack of corn and a sack of sweet potatoes, a few packets of seeds, a shotgun and a few shells, a frying pan, several pewter dishes, forks, and a cast-iron pot. There were also the tools he would need to clear the land and build a house: two chopping axes, a broadaxe foot, crosscut saw, auger bit, a fro and drawing knife.”
So begins the story of Tobias, his wife Emma and son Zechariah in the Florida wilderness in the mid 19th century. This is the story of three generations of a pioneer family in Florida and a story portraying the tenacity of American pioneers: how they survived and prospered in an often hostile environment. There are those still around today in Florida who sat across the dinner table from grandparents and heard first hand similar stories from those who where there when it happened.
Best Florida Book Award … Again and Again and Again!
This is the novel for which its author, Patrick Smith, is probably best known. A Land Remembered vividly demonstrates his keen and penetrating eye as a gifted observer of the human condition. Not a word is wasted in what many believe is the definitive story of Florida’s emergence into modern day history. ~ Warren Resen
A Land Remembered was winner of the Florida Historical Society Tebeau Prize as the Most Outstanding Florida Historical Novel. In 2009 it was voted Best Florida Book for the 9th year in a row by readers of Florida Monthly Magazine.
Whether you are a Florida native, a newcomer to the state, a student of history or simply looking for an unforgettable book to read, you will love A Land Remembered. Don’t even hesitate – purchase A Land Remembered now.
Every Floridian should read A Land Remembered. I am a native Floridian and this book as well as all Patrick’s other books have touched me and my family. To see the way we have destroyed our state and all its special places is gut wrenching. At least there is someone who has brought back to life in print everything that made this a paradise of wildlife and nature. Our copy of A Land Remembered has been read so much the pages are falling out. Thank you for remembering!
~ Bill Elliott, Haines City, FL
Patrick Smith Answers Common Questions About A Land Remembered
EXCLUSIVE BONUS – Every hardbound copy of A Land Remembered includes a FREE copy of the DVD, Patrick Smith Answers Common Questions About A Land Remembered, normally sold for $12.95. It’s yours free, only available here at PatrickSmithOnline.com.
You can read the entire 1st and 2nd chapters right now, for free. Click here!
You can order an original, Patrick Smith Autographed Bookplate personally signed “With Best Wishes, Patrick Smith” archival bookplate to be placed in your books for $15.00 each. We’ll go ahead and place it in your book unless you specify otherwise. (You may want to purchase and place them in existing books.) Sorry, personalization of the bookplate is not available at this time due to Mr. Smith’s health.
Student Edition of A Land Remembered
A Land Remembered ls available in specially edited student volumes, available in both hardbound and softbound editions. These are very popular among younger readers and many schools use them to teach about Florida history.There are also very handy teaching guides available for elementary and middle schools. Get the youngsters in you life out from in front of the TV or the video game and let them learn the joy of reading with A Land Remembered. Read more about the student editions and teaching guides by clicking here.
Following are some reviews and descriptions of A Land Remembered by many people of all ages and backgrounds. This is a long page, so just keep scrolling down. For even more fascinating testimonials, read the Guestbook.
Malcolm Jones is book editor of The St. Petersburg Times in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Patrick Smith’s sad and curious chronicle of Florida’s last century begins in 1858, when Tobias and Emma MacIvey and their son, Zecheriah, abandoned 40 acres of played-out Georgia clay and headed for the wilds of Florida, where they settled in the vicinity of present-day Gainesville and commenced farming.
Before 100 pages have passed, the MacIveys endure the pangs of hunger, a plague of mosquitoes, a ravaging band of Confederate Army deserters and a nocturnal visit from a bear that eats all the meat from their smokehouse. Rattlesnakes, wild boars and alligators are their neighbors in this desolate country; so far from civilization, there is just one law, and that is Murphy’s.Pioneer Family PhotoDespite adversity, the MacIveys manage to build a considerable kingdom out of ranching and orange groves over the next half century.
Mr. Smith’s little band all but invent pluck, thrift and human kindness. When mosquitoes destroy a herd of cattle, the MacIveys dust themselves off and start over. When two-fisted varmints burn their cabin, they move south to a new homestead.
Freezes, tick fever, hurricanes – all these things and more they endure somehow, with time left over to make friends and keep up good relations with the Indians down in the swamp.
Much more happens to three generations of MacIveys than ever could have happened to a genuine Florida family; they are the prototypical settlers, the personification of frontier life. Mr. Smith is not much interested in the peculiarities of character, and as a consequence his tale is short on the sort of human conflict that occupies most novels. In its stead, however, is the elemental struggle of man and nature.
Zech MacIvey builds upon what his father, Tobias began, and as he builds, he changes. In his grandson’s words, Tobias ”never owned so much as a grain of sand. He was a squatter. He believed that no man can own the land.” Zech, on the other hand, not only buys and fences what he farms but dabbles in the sort of land speculation that his son, Sol, will use to make a fortune during the real estate boom of the 1920′s.
Each generation learns from the one before, but for each in its turn, life’s inevitabilities and necessities are different. Sol MacIvey, the last – and by his own account the least – of his line, is no less concerned with combat and survival than were his father and his grandfather; but he has forgotten what they fought for, and he uses their skills with a feckless resolve in a lifetime spent affixing the MacIvey name to countless hotels, banks and property deeds, thereby effecting the final and irreversible transformation of a wilderness of wolves, panthers and wild parakeets to one of high-rise condominiums, drained swamps and polluted bays.
This is a success story gone curiously sour. By the end of ”A Land Remembered,” it is hard not to like the MacIveys for their winning ways; but at the same time it is impossible not to see how their industry, which was once a boon, has managed to implicate them – and thousands like them – in an environmental disaster so vast that it affects virtually an entire state.
Thus does this novel distinguish itself from mere off-the-rack generational sagas, for while we come to its elegaic story knowing the sad ending, we have to finish it in order to comprehend how such good people could perpetrate so much sorriness.
My family just loves this book. Being 5th generation Floridians, we can really embrace the characters, way of life, and its locations. The characters are particularly endearing and really draw you into the story, making this book hard to put down, and a little sad when you finally finish.
I particularly love how the book goes through three generations of the McIvey clan. It is hard to decide which character is your favorite. Even the animals have a special place in your heart while reading it.
I really think this book should be required reading in all Florida history classes around the state. Although it is a work of fiction, there is much truth in the words and it is rich in history. It is a great way to learn about a time past with this great read.This book is one I have read many times over and over, and will continue to cherish for years to come.
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading A LAND REMEMBERED. My ancestors (Mom’s side) came to Florida around the turn of the century, and I have heard many of the kind of “tales” told in the book all my life. But Mr. Smith REALLY brought everything to life through this incredible, absorbing story. I STILL think of the characters every now and then. Kinda “wonder what they are doing!!”
Thanks for making my ancestral history take on flesh and bones!!! I am an amateur genealogist, and I LOVE to find books that paint this kind of a picture for me.
Patti Jones Schacht
I just finished reading Patrick’s book, “A Land Remembered,” that was given to me on my birthday last week. I have laughed and cried as I read the sweeping story and have to honestly say it is probably one of the best books I have read in years. I would have never thought that a story about pioneers would have interested me but I was sucked in after reading the very first chapter. I loved the characters and I loved reading about my great state (I was just in Punta Rassa last month).
I would just like say to Mr. Smith – “Thank you for writing and sharing such a heartwarming story that can be passed on for generations to come.”
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Sometime in 2002, someone advised me to read “A Land Remembered”, since my heritage is deeply rooted in Florida. I was spell bound.
My mother was born on Merritt Island in 1911, I find it ironic that is where your father lives now. Both of my parents were born in Florida in 1911. My parental grandfather was considered one of the major founders in Miami, as he paved the first streets on Miami Beach.
Times and things have changed so much over the century. My mother in 2003 was 91 and of good mind. She was living in an assisted living in Alabama close to my brother. He called to tell me she wasn’t feeling well, so I got in my car and decided to drive there. I truly wasn’t expecting anything more then a hospital stay. When I arrived, I learned she had had a serious heart attack. When I entered the room she was in good spirits and telling jokes. After my brother left to go home, because he had been there all night, I was there alone with my Moma. I was extremely tired after driving all night, but felt I needed to converse with my mother until she fell a sleep. I told her about your Dad’s book, and I had brought it along to read to her.
I started reading the first chapter, where MacIvey was going to see Toby Cypress before he died. As I was reading, she often remarked I remember that. Solomon MacIvey was the male version of my mother. As I was reading the final paragraphs of the first chapter, my mother had another heart attack and died. It was almost as if she was waiting for me to get there and then by reading that first chapter and that MacIvey was saying his final goodbyes, it was okay for her to pass on. Maybe I am reading too much into it, because it was quite difficult to see her pass on. But it made an indelible mark in my heart.
Jill McGahey Tuminello
I have recommended this book to dozens of my friends and every one said it was the best book they have read. I have read it four times and probably will do so again.
My husband’s grandfather lived close to the life pictured in the book because he arrived in Florida (Narcoosee) in the late 1800′s.
I cannot imagine why this book has not been made into a movie!
Thanks for the joy it brings me.
I don’t write fan mail…this is a first. I did want to tell you, however, that in the past month I have purchased and re-read Forever Island, Allapattah and Angel City. My husband says that the autographed copy of The White Deer is one of the best gifts I’ve ever given him. The “Sense of Place” DVD is beautifully done and will be watched over and over again. After praising A Land Remembered to my grandson and best friend I purchased copies for them since I’ve found that it’s easier just to gift them instead of loaning out my own and then having to replace it when it never finds it’s way home.
Tropical Storm Hanna hit our coast a few weeks ago and we lost our electric for a couple days. While the rain poured outside my husband and I read by lantern light in different corners of our living room as we reread (for the umpteenth time) our own copies of Land Remembered. It was a delightful journey.
I just had to write and tell you how much I LOVED reading A LAND REMEMBERED!
Honestly, I would have never even known about it, or been interested, had it not been for my son, who is in 4th grade. They are reading the student version in class. He is a HUGE history lover and we went to the library, he looked up the book for me and MADE ME CHECK IT OUT.
It’s been so fun discussing it with him. I just finished, and he’s asleep. Darn it, we’ll have to discuss tomorrow.
What a wonderful , educational book. I’m telling everyone to read it.
I don’t even like history, and I loved it.
Thanks for a great read.
It was so sad, too!
All Florida kids should read this book. I’m so glad my son loved history and made me read it. Sincerely,
Unforgettable generational tale of settling Florida…, October 7, 2004
Reviewer: jeanne-scott (Tampa , Florida)
A Land Remembered is an amazing book that tells the story of three generations of the MacIvey family. The novel takes place in Central Florida, starting before the Civil War. The first generation arrives in Central Florida with literally nothing but their determination, desperation and their love for each other. Patrick Smith paints a clear and detailed picture of the endurance and sacrifice made by a young couple in order to even just barely get by. The stark reality he portray is extremely vivid.
The hardships that are experienced by the different generations range from natures fury in fires, ice storms, insect swarms covering miles and miles of the grasslands, hurricanes to the emotional hardships of sacrifice, lost love, doubt and loneliness. The MacIvey family looses their footing in several business ventures through the natural disasters and also through the greed of others. The one thing they never loose is their love and caring and determination to take care of their family and to see each other through the difficult times that they are faced with. Each generation must come to terms with what is is truly important in their lives and the simple values that the family began with always seem to come clearly into focus.
The visions of Florida as a raw, unsettled land that tolerates but never encourages those daring enough to challenge her have a unique clarity to them.
Through everything that occurs, this wonderful family pulls together, creating a history that Patrick Smith has crafted into an unforgettable novel.
Popular and accurate view of Florida history, July 15, 2005
Reviewer: James V. Holton “The Ecclectic Professor” (Lakeland, FL United States)
As a history professor, I’ve found numerous people have used A Land Remembered as their introduction to Florida history. I finally gave in and read it myself and can see why this is the case.Patrick Smith compellingly recreates an aspect of Florida history that predates Disney, NASCAR racing, tourism and “God’s waiting room.” He takes the reader on a three-generation journey through Florida history from the Civil War to the 1960s. Told through the experiences of the MacIvey family, it recounts the family’s rise from hardscrabble poverty to wealth and influence.At the same time, we see the evolution of Florida to the state it is today, and laments over its change, a “land remembered.” Along the way the reader will encounter the formative events of Florida history from the Civil War onward.Smith’s portrayal of Florida’s cattle raising history should enlighten many readers of a little known and often neglected part of Florida’s history.The book may be flawed in some of its literary aspects, but for accessible history it has few peers.
This book NEVER gets old…, November 11, 2005
Reviewer: Missy W. “GatorGirl” (Florida)
I’ve read this book MANY times…starting 13 years ago when I was in the 11th grade! Our teacher had Patrick Smith come to our school and we got to meet and talk to him about his book. Let’s just say that this book had such an impact on me that when I became an English teacher I had my students read it! Every student in my class fell in love with it and couldn’t put it down. Even students who proudly declared, “I’ve never read a book in my life,” devoured it. It is easy to read but has such a deep meaning for Floridians.
The MacIveys are amazing…the way they dealt with life in the wilderness is so fun to read about. This book has something for everyone…romance, friendship, war, history, you name it. It portrays a pretty accurate picture of how Florida developed over the years. I highly recommend it for anyone from Florida or anyone wanting to study Florida history. It is one of my most treasured novels that I could read over and over again.
Extraordinary, wonderful page turner, July 15, 2005
Reviewer: Holly Shepherd “Holly” (North America)
So you’ve been to Disney and the beaches and you think you know Florida? This will open your eyes and your mind to the “real” Florida, before theme parks, beach motels, air conditioning and cheap souvenirs. An amazing first-class chronicle of Florida’s land, people, wildlife and wild places. Unforgettable, well-written story of a Florida family and the one of a kind beauty of Florida’s natural habitat.
Fascinating portrait of old Florida, January 20, 2005
Patrick Carlin (Fort Myers, FL United States)
A Land Remembered in on my top ten list of all time greatest novels, which is interesting because I don’t often read or enjoy historical fiction. This moving and epic novel tells the story of three generations of Florida settlers fighting to survive in old Florida. These settlers not only survive but prosper as well. However, with this prosperity comes a human and environmental price.
A Floridian’s History Book, November 29, 2004
Holly Knowles (Orlando)
I’m a fifth generation Floridian. This book made me feel as if I knew the McIvey family, it was as if I was reading about my family’s past. This book shows the reader the beauty of old Florida. We should respect this lovely state and try to preserve it for the future. The author has a meaningful environmental message. I recommend it to anyone–especially Floridians…
A page turner, August 9, 2004
J. Chiappini (Panama City, Fl)
Being a 4th generation floridian, I found this book fascinating, and captivating. Most people coming to florida have no idea of floridas rich and wild history. Patrick Smith brings this out in vivid detail. When the west was won, Florida was not close to being tamed. Those of us who live here reconize the places in the story which adds to the reality of the book.
A Land Remembered truly takes you back in time, August 6, 2004
Reviewer: Bonnie Jane (Sarasota, FL USA)
My husband and I have been enjoying the audio version of A Land Remembered, which we picked up – - luckily – - at our local library. It’s the kind of story you just can’t stop reading. My goodness! What those people went through. It truly makes me appreciate the quality of life we have today vs. yesterday but at the same time, you long to know what it must have been like back then – - A Land Remembered takes you there. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried and we’ve grown to love the MacIveys as if they were kinfolk. It has truly enriched our lives and given us a new appreciation for the settlers who came before us.
A Keeper, January 9, 2004
Reviewer: LeaAnn Childs (Pensacola, Fl United States)
I read anything and everything that hits the shelves. History is one of my favorites. One out of every 100 books that I read make me want more and this is one. Awesome book, great history facts within the story and a truly delightful story it was. Tearjerkers and all. You just have to read it, I’ll be keeping my copy.
You might think that Patrick D. Smith IS Sol MacIvey reincarnated in this tale of Old Florida. How else can you explain his vivid, captivating description of life in early Florida? I am a native Floridian and when I grab my cherished pictures and family mementos to evacuate for a hurricane, you can bet my copies of ALR will be with me! This book is a timeless treasure and not a one-time-read. I had read this book several times and when it became assigned reading for my daughter, we each grabbed a copy and read it ‘together’. During each of the pivotal points in the lives of the MacIveys, we would make eye contact and either smile or wipe away tears. No words were exchanged because the book is filled with emotion and you really ‘feel’ the characters as real people with real pain and sorrow. T
his book should be required reading as you cross the state line into Florida. It is truly a rite of passage for Floridians and any one who loves history. We are blessed to have this account of pioneer life in wild Florida. If I could sit around a campfire and listen to stories told by anyone…..it would be Patrick D. Smith.
I wanted to share with you book worms one of my entire family’s favorites. A Land Remembered by Patrick D. Smith. All I can say is that you will laugh, you will cry, you will love this book. The writing is so vivid it literally carries you back in time to a place in Florida that is still untouched and raw. Almost every member of our family has read it more than once. A great read, especially for native Floridans.
– Lori Ford
If you live in Florida, you have to love a book that tells the right and wrong way to capture a gator or how to build a home from scratch in the wilderness. Patrick Smith’s “A Land Remembered” does that and more.
It traces the struggles and triumphs of three generations of the MacIvey clan who settle in North Central Florida on the eve of the Civil War. We follow Tobias and Emma as they eke out a hardscrabble existence and raise their son, Zech, to learn by trial and error the lessons nature teaches.
The family lives first in a palmetto lean-to in the scrub until Tobias can finish their cypress-shingled cabin. They fight a hostile environment as well as natural predators, fending off bear attacks, panthers and wolves. Trapping small game, they survive on a diet of raccoon, squirrel and the occasional wild hog, supplemented by swamp cabbage and poke greens. The women make flour from cattails and “koonti” roots. Emma wishes only for a Dutch oven, not ribbons or a new dress.
Tobias is recruited to drive wild cattle to the Georgia border to feed Confederate troops. On the drive he learns to wield a rawhide whip, making it crack to guide the herd. The whip also serves as a tool for killing snakes, catching game, and for communication: one snap means dinner, two cracks mean danger. From the pioneers’ skillful use of this whip comes our word for the Florida “cracker.”
After their cabin in the scrub is burned by rebel deserters, Tobias moves his family south to a hammock along the banks of the Kissimmee River, 50 miles from the nearest trading post, where they become ranchers. With their marshtackie – a small Seminole stallion – and two gray wolf dogs, the MacIveys succeed in herding the wild “yellowhammer” cattle and drive them across the state to the ports of Tampa and Punta Rassa for shipment to Cuba. As their savings grow, they plant citrus and accumulate large tracts of land.Historical events like the great freeze of 1895 and the deadly hurricane of 1928 form the backdrop as the MacIveys and their descendants struggle for survival. They face drought, floods, plagues of mosquitoes and murdering cattle rustlers. Despite the harshness of nature, they are enchanted by its beauty – by red-orange sunsets illuminating the forests, and egrets and herons gliding above the flowing Pay-hay-okee, the River of Grass.
The early MacIveys are honorable, heroic and self-sacrificing. Although the closeness between friends and partners is idealized, perhaps such sentiment is justified where survival depends on strong partnerships. Innocence is lost, however, when the MacIvey heirs sever their connection with the land, fencing it off, clear cutting and paving.Smith’s message proclaims that the beloved land of wild parakeets and pristine streams has become the victim of greed. It can now only be “remembered” for its rare beauty.
In a recent interview Smith talked about gathering material for the novel by listening to stories from fourth- and fifth-generation descendants of pioneers who settled here. He also spent a year with the Seminoles and was taken with their belief in the sacredness of the land. His characters are symbolic of those pioneer settlers – strong men who fought the elements and strong women who were their partners, holding the family and homestead together.
The importance of preserving the land is a central theme. When Smith wrote the book in 1984, he was worried that Old Florida would disappear if the massive development continued. He is cautiously optimistic about recent efforts of local and state governments to purchase lands for preservation.
” A Land Remembered” has been honored as winner of the Tebeau Prize for the most outstanding Florida historical novel and has been the reading selection for the One Community/One Book program in many counties. For lovers of nature, hunting and “Old Florida” history, this book is a must read.
Lynne Boele is a retired professor of English and humanities at Central Florida Community College.
An Essay by Hailee Chattaway
A Fourth Grade Student at Eisenhower Elementary School
What A Land Remembered Has Taught Me
A Land Remembered has taught me to treasure the land that we’ve got, it has helped out of thinking negative and into thinking positive, and last……. This book has made me feel emotions I have never felt before. Let me tell you more!
This book has taught me to treasure the land that we’ve got. That’s my first reason why I like this book. The land that is free should be for the animals, not for hotels, condos, and mini malls. It should be only for the poor animals digging in the trash for a single scrap of food. Tobias, Zech, and Sol taught me that. The MacIvey’s are a unique, one of a kind, earth living family. I respect that 100%.
This book got me thinking less negative and more positive. That’s my second reason why I like this book. I used to think “Oh. I can’t do this,” Or “He/she is doing better than me, I suck!” Now I think more positive “I know I can!” Or “You can do it! You’re just like any other genius!” It’s hard to think positive because my mom has three diseases, and my brother who knows a lot, isn’t very patient with me. Sometimes I think he buys new patience at the store when he takes his time to help me! But the MacIveys NEVER gave up….So I will try my best to do the same through tough times that I endure!
This book made me feel emotions I have never felt before! This is my third and final reason why I like the book! Soloman made me as furious as a trains whistle blowing! Cutting down trees, draining rivers, building hotels where hammocks once were. When Emma, Tobias, Glenda, Nip and Tuck, Ishmeal, Zech, and Sol died, I was as lonesome as a lone wolf crying in the moonlight sky waiting for an answer of another wolf. The MacIvey clan came slowly and faded away fast. Sadness, and Happiness all emotions I felt reading, A Land Remembered! A story of a family that was beloved and forgotten. For the history that went with this once read book is unexplainable.
In conclusion these are the three reasons why I adore this book, A land Remembered! It really has taught me to treasure the land we’ve got, to stay positive, not be negative, and to feel emotions I’ve never felt before.
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