Bubble in the Sun
The Florida Boom of the 1920s and how it brought on the Great Depression
BY JANIE GOULD
The saga of South Florida’s boom and bust during the Roaring Twenties gets a fresh take in this look back at an era of frenzied speculation in real estate that was followed abruptly by lost fortunes, shattered dreams and, the author argues, an early start to the nation’s Great Depression.
Drawing on his background in finance as well as journalism, and utilizing an abundance of sources, Christopher Knowlton makes a convincing case that the boom, which peaked in 1925, and the bust, which followed in 1926, had a far greater impact on the national economy than the 1929 stock market crash, favored by conventional wisdom. He shows that many Northern banks failed, at least in part, because millions of dollars of depositors’ money flowed out of their coffers to ill-fated land buys in Florida.