Nick Wynne's Book Reviews 


REVIEWS FOR COOT (Taken from Amazon.com)

Guy P. Harrison "author of 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think are True" reviewed Coot
March 27, 2012
Coot is a hoot! This is weird and wonderful tale from the American South. It's pure fun, a joy to read. Wynne says he met all sorts of characters growing up in Georgia during the 1950s. If this book is a refleciton of his encounters then the state of Georgia is far more interesting than the rest of America might ever have imagined! If you are looking for a funny read, this is it.

Marilyn G. Stevens  November 22, 2011
I really enjoyed this book as well as Wynne's first book, Pirkle Hall. They are both light, enjoyable reads that will keep you smiling when you are not laughing out loud. Coot is especailly good to have on a Kindle or Kindle app because each chapter is a short story in itself. It is easy to pick up and read while waiting at a doctor's office or something. Although each tale is tied together with this crazy group of characters, each chapter makes a good short story. So if you enjoy well written humour and like to have something you can pick up and put down without losing your place in the plot, Coot is a good book for you.
Vero Beach, FL

Dan S. reviewed Coot September 21, 2011
COOT'S A HOOT! I met Nick Wynne and his traveling companion when they were on a recent trip trhough the western part of the States. He told me about "Coot" and I downloaded it. Two days later, my new wife and I went camping near Bear Tooth Lake. She had never been camping in the wilds and recent stories about grizzly attacks made her nervous. In order to get light in our tent, I pulled out my Kindle and fired up "Coot." For the rest of the night, we read that book (with occasional breaks for other things). It was a hoot! She forgot about bears. I don't know if the book has other mystical powers, but I'm thinking I might send copies to Obama, Boehner and Reid--maybe its magic can bring our political system back in balance. I also understand that "Coot" can cure cancer. Who knows?

ABS reviewed Coot September 20, 2011
Authentic Southern story that demands to be told...and read! You cannot read this book and not realize that the author based Coot on real stories, real people and likely real experiences. The character development is excellent. You root for these people, you want to know them. I was on a great adventure with an ending I did not expect. Meet Coot. You'll not regret it! To add one thing...this is a screen play must. I would love to meet Coot on the big screen.

Mary A. reviewed Coot September 20, 2011
Awesome! Perfect picture of small southern town! Couldn't put this book down. Had to get to the next adventure! I'll be waiting for the next book from Nick! The ending of this book was not expected! Had no hint of what was to come! Awesome!

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, September 20, 2011
By Mary A.
This review is from: Coot (Paperback)
Perfect picture of small southern town! Couldn't put this book down. Had to get to the next adventure! I'll be waiting for the next book from Nick! The ending of this book was not expected! Had no hint of what was to come! Awesome!

5.0 out of 5 stars COOT'S A HOOT!, September 21, 2011
By Dan S.
This review is from: Coot (Paperback)
I met Nick Wynne and his traveling companion when they were on a recent trip trhough the western part of the States. He told me about "Coot" and I downloaded it. Two days later, my new wife and I went camping near Bear Tooth Lake. She had never been camping in the wilds and recent stories about grizzly attacks made her nervous. In order to get light in our tent, I pulled out my Kindle and fired up "Coot." For the rest of the night, we read that book (with occasional breaks for other things). It was a hoot! She forgot about bears. I don't know if the book has other mystical powers, but I'm thinking I might send copies to Obama, Boehner and Reid--maybe its magic can bring our political system back in balance. I also understand that "Coot" can cure cancer. Who knows?

5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Southern story that demands to be told...and read!, September 20, 2011
By ABS
This review is from: Coot (Paperback)
You cannot read this book and not realize that the author based Coot on real stories, real people and likely real experiences. The character development is excellent. You root for these people, you want to know them. I was on a great adventure with an ending I did not expect. Meet Coot. You'll not regret it! To add one thing...this is a screen play must. I would love to meet Coot on the big screen.

 

REVIEWS FOR PIRKLE HALL (Taken from Amazon.com)

Dan S. reviewed Pirkle Hall: Sister Mary Magdalene and The Church of The Archangel Rodney September 21, 2011
MARVELOUS What a great read! Nick Wynne has captured the essence of southern Georgia from a by-gone time. Let's hope he keeps writing. After reading "Coot" I couldn't wait to read this.
Dan S.

Mary A. reviewed Pirkle Hall: Sister Mary Magdalene and The Church of The Archangel Rodney September 20, 2011
"Great" Throughly enjoyed this book. Nick really picks up on the old southern culture! Love Nick's style of writing. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to more books by Nick.

Durwood Kershaw reviewed Pirkle Hall: Sister Mary Magdalene and The Church of The Archangel Rodney January 16, 2011
"Great Book" Nick Wynne has put together a wonderful story that is a romance, a mystery and a social commentary--all at the same time. In Metterville, a small town in rural Georgia, characters come together to set into motion chains of events that produce unexpected results. The central character is Pirkle Hall, a shell shocked World War II veteran and Sister Mary Magdalene, a self appointed agent of God, whose life is transformed after a later night episode at a local bootleggers. This book humorously deals with a number of self-serving individuals, whose efforts to get something for nothing through religion compare unfavorably to the childlike purity of the actions of Pirkle Hall and Sister Mary Magdalene. An exciting new southern regional author and a real contribution to southern literature. I give it five stars!

5.0 out of 5 stars MARVELOUS, September 21, 2011
By Dan S.
This review is from: Pirkle Hall: Sister Mary Magdalene and The Church of The Archangel Rodney (Paperback)
What a great read! Nick Wynne has captured the essence of southern Georgia from a by-gone time. Let's hope he keeps writing. After reading "Coot" I couldn't wait to read this.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great, September 20, 2011
By Mary A.
This review is from: Pirkle Hall: Sister Mary Magdalene and The Church of The Archangel Rodney (Paperback)
Throughly enjoyed this book. Nick really picks up on the old southern culture! Love Nick's style of writing. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to more books by Nick.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, January 16, 2011
By Durwood Kershaw
This review is from: Pirkle Hall: Sister Mary Magdalene and The Church of The Archangel Rodney (Paperback)
Nick Wynne has put together a wonderful story that is a romance, a mystery and a social commentary--all at the same time. In Metterville, a small town in rural Georgia, characters come together to set into motion chains of events that produce unexpected results. The central character is Pirkle Hall, a shell shocked World War II veteran and Sister Mary Magdalene, a self appointed agent of God, whose life is transformed after a later night episode at a local bootleggers. This book humorously deals with a number of self-serving individuals, whose efforts to get something for nothing through religion compare unfavorably to the childlike purity of the actions of Pirkle Hall and Sister Mary Magdalene. An exciting new southern regional author and a real contribution to southern literature. I give it five stars!

 

REVIEWS FOR Florida Civil War Blockades: Battling for the Coast (Taken from Amazon.com)

Robert Redd "Confederate Book Review" reviewed Florida Civil War Blockades: Battling for the Coast, September 24, 2011
Was the Union Blockade Successful? While being the third state to secede from the Union, Florida played a fairly small and limited role in the Confederacy in terms of men. With a population of less than 75,000 free citizens the state contributed only around 15,000 soldiers. In addition, being removed from the major theatres of battle little fighting took place in the state. While this makes it appear that the state was an unimportant one that is hardly the case as authors Nick Wynne and Joe Crankshaw attempt to show in their new work discussing the Union blockade of Florida's coastline.

When the Union blockade of the Confederate coast was instituted in early 1861 it seems that little thought was given to how this was going to be carried out. The Union navy at the time consisted of less than 100 ships with only a dozen or so being ready and available to cover more than 3,000 miles of coast with half belonging to Florida. In addition to a lack of ships there was also the issue of supplying the blockaders with training, food and water, and medical supplies. In addition the 1856 Treaty of Paris, which stated that for a blockade to be legal it must be effective, was a concern. With the effectiveness of the blockade in question the Union had to be concerned about the Confederacy being granted European recognition.

Wynne and Crankshaw discuss the state by geographic region. On the east coast the Union established control at Jacksonville, Fernandina, and St. Augustine forcing blockade runners to use smaller ports such as New Smyrna. The problem with such small ports was theft. This was the case with a shipment of shoes and guns that arrived via the Kate in 1862. While some of the guns were recovered the majority of supplies vanished into the hands of locals or into the interior wilderness of the state.

The west coast of the state was led by the port at Tampa. Tampa Bay proved difficult to patrol due to the large entry way. This along with the Hillsboro River that emptied into the Bay made this an attractive target for blockade runners. Charlotte Harbor and Punta Gorda also became important for Confederates.

The final area of the state was the area between Cedar Key and Pensacola, probably the most heavily populated area of the state at the time. While both areas were controlled by Union forces small ports at places such as St. Andrews Bay and Apalachee Bay allowed a continued flow of supplies in and out of the state.

The Union blockade could point to other areas of success in addition to preventing transport of goods and supplies. Salt was a valuable commodity whose price rose considerably during the war. Saltworks were vulnerable to Union blockaders on several fronts. Many saltworks, which were located near the coast, were manned by slaves. Being close to the Atlantic or Gulf made saltworks prime targets of destruction for Union troops. Former slaves or "contraband" as they were known were dealt with in a couple of different ways. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles had authorized using the contrabands as sailors if they could be useful. Most however were taken to collection points that would serve as prime recruiting grounds later in the war. By destroying two economic drivers at once the blockade helped further pinch and already cramped state.

So do Wynne and Crankshaw think the Union blockade was effective? In their own words "Yes and no." The blockade was leaky at best. Small ports allowed quick moving runners entry into the vast array of waterways leading to the interior of the state. Despite this however around 1,500 blockade runners were stopped. These shipments prevented much needed supplies from entering the state and being shipped over land northward. It also prevented outgoing freight that was bound for ports further north to supply troops or from going to overseas ports that could have provided much needed capital. The success in lowering the production of salt and stopping of fishing vessels put a crimp in the daily lives of many Floridians. Floridians also had to be concerned about the possibility of invading troops coming from blockaders. These factors help push the scales toward a Union success.

This is a quick reading book that provides a good introduction to the topic. It is however far from definitive. Due to space constraints the book does not contain an index, proper bibliography, or notes making it difficult for future researchers to use the book. There is a small essay of suggested reading but this is really of limited value. A few minor typos, including a wrong date of secession for South Carolina, would show a need for a further proof-reading. These issues aside if you are looking for an introduction to the subject this is a book that will fit your needs until a more complete coverage is released.

 

REVIEWS FOR Florida in World War II: Floating Fortress (Taken from Amazon.com)

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating overview of WWII's impact on Florida, March 8, 2012
This review is for: Florida in World War II: Floating Fortress (The History Press) (Paperback)
As a native Floridian, I was continually surprised and amazed by the revelations in this outstanding book. I knew WWII was a major historical event that reshaped the modern world, of course, but I had no idea how deep and long term the local impact was throughout my home state. For example: prior to WWII nearly 80 percent of Florida's population lived in small towns or rural areas. Post WWII, just 19 percent lived in rural areas.

The writing is excellent. Readers will find this book to be enjoyable and entertaining. It is not dense or tedious. I loved several side-stories about dramatic events in Florida. They would fascinate the state's current residents, particularly high school and college students. Most Floridians probably don't know, for example, that a German U-boat put four saboteurs ashore in 1942. Their plan was to attack war factories with high explosives but they were betrayed by the leader of the mission.

I was also surprised to learn about the large number of military bases, aircraft and personnel in Florida during the war. Florida really could be called "a floating fortress--the biggest damn aircraft carrier in the world".

*Highly recommended for fans of World War II history and Florida history.
-Guy P. Harrison, author of "50 Popular Beliefs That People Think are True" and other books.

 

REVIEWS FOR Paradise for Sale: Florida’s Booms and Busts

John Hood reviewed Paradise for Sale: Florida's Booms and Busts, September 25, 2011
There is no shortage of good books about what makes the Sunshine State so great. Hell, the SunPost's very own Seth Bramson has himself written a small library full of them. There's also a large barrage dedicated to what makes our state not-so-great, from the flimflam artists that first staked claim to this tropical paradise, to the politicos that have made their careers out of fleecing the very people who voted `em into office.

Paradise for Sale: Florida's Booms and Busts (The History Press $21.99) is a bit of both. On the one hand, authors Nick Wynne and Richard Moorhead cite the more benevolent barons of our collective past, the Flaglers and Deerings and Merricks and Mizners. On the other, the two go to some length to get with the shadier elements that helped propel us into the current cauldron, the con artists and the hucksters and the carpetbagging fly-by-nights.

It's a colorful story, all right, and no less so in the retelling. Then again, you knew that already. You live here. And you see firsthand what all the hot fuss has made of us.

The authors' focus is on the boom years of 1925 and `26, "when millions of dollars were tossed around like so much confetti"; the two years it took the boom "to get started" (`21-`23) and the two that it took for it "to die" (`27-`28). To them no book besides David Nolan's 1984 Fifty Feet in Paradise has told the whole story, and backed by some recent archival unearthings and a keen sense of the time, they've vowed to do just that.

And they succeed. The twin pillars of Florida's robust boom were -- and remain -- myth and industry. Ponce de Leon got the mythic started with his so-called "Fountain of Youth," and four centuries later dime-a-dozen hucksters duly followed suit. Then there was the industry of Flagler and Plant, who had to find a way to unload the large tracts of land they were awarded by the state for every mile their railroads laid waste.

Piggybacking on the legitimate -- albeit cutthroat -- efforts of Flagler and Plant was a more immoral band of "adventuresome rogues and visionaries" who "came with schemes" that would eventually make the notion of "buying Florida land" about as viable as "buying the Brooklyn Bridge."

But not before the boom would blow up the entire Sunshine State. From Chicago widower Bertha Palmer's buying up of Sarasota (at her death she held some 160,000 acres) to Indiana-born Carl Fisher's dredging up of bay bottom to make Miami Beach, the `20s roared in Florida as much if not more than anywhere else in the country.

Like I -- and the authors -- have said: Much of the story has been told, but mostly in bits and pieces. For anyone with any interest in how we got here, however, this retelling is an eye-opening delight. What makes it even more delightful are the many period photographs, be they depicting bathing beauties on some dubious land-sale circular, or the shot of perpetual presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan hawking parcels of Coral Gables from the front of a streetcar. There's Babe Ruth teeing off, the Venetian Causeway just rebuilt, Addison Mizner's Boca Club in all its opulence, and a Mrs. A.O. Weeks of Dania sitting in the bathtub of the home the hurricane of '26 robbed of its walls.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Paradise for Sale, though, isn't that the story has been told and retold, but that we continue to live it, boom to bust and boom again. And oh, how we live it well.

From Bound: SunPost Weekly April 2, 2010

 

REVIEWS FOR Florida in the Civil War

D. Scott "Scotty to Travel" reviewed "Florida in the Civil War" March 21, 2006
A very informed book that keep me intrigued, a good history lesson on floridas part in the civil war, such as a state that supplied the confederates with food and many good men. Good book to read on a cold winter nite.

John P. Richardson "reverendlinux" reviewed "Florida in the Civil War", August 25, 2003
As the preface to the book states, the authors intended for it to be an overview of the Civil War in Florida. And in this it succeeds. However, some glaring oversights by the book's editors/proofreaders and some repetitious narration mar an otherwise good book.
The Good:
As stated above, this book aims to be an introduction to the complicated history of the the Civil War in Florida. The authors did an outstanding job of covering the many aspects of war time Florida, from participation by Florida units in far off battles to the struggles of the populace on the home front. They managed to delve deep enough into the events and issues to keep the reader interested while not going so deep as to unbalance the coverage. Also, the extensive bibliography at the end of the book gives the reader a great source for more detailed information on the many topics covered in this book.
The Bad:
The intent to make the book an overview of the war in Florida also serves as a drawback. The flow of the book is a bit uneven with the some chapters repeating too much of what had been stated in earlier chapters. It seems as if the authors each wrote certain chapters but did not read what the other wrote in an effort adjust their own portions to keep the narrative smooth. This occurs throughout the book in almost every chapter. Some glaring errors appear in the book, all but one of which are grammatical in nature. Several times throughout the book there are sentences that have extra words or phrases in them; almost like they were taken from a rough draft and never finalized. Also, one date regarding events surrounding the aftermath of Gettysburg is wrong. This does not reflect highly upon the publisher, Arcadia, and does much to question the justification for charging $29.95 for the book.
Overall this is a good book for anyone who wants a quick reference or a springboard into learning about the Civil War in Florida. With the grammatical and factual mistakes corrected, this would be a perfect book for any school library. As it stands now, it's not a particularly good value but worth reading regardless.

 

REVIEWS FOR Tin Can Tourists in Florida 1900-1970

pattyp. reviewed Tin Can Tourists, January 15, 2007
Great book for a peek into how Florida used to be. Brought back memories in each chapter and highly recommend this book to nostalgia buffs.