Maximum Vantage
New Selected Columns

Bill Maxwell

Foreword by Tim Nickens

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A veteran journalist speaks truth to power on issues that matter to the nation  
Florida Book Awards, Silver Medal for Florida Nonfiction
“A retrospective of stellar journalism, the impactful collection Maximum Vantage tackles some of society’s biggest issues with insight and incisiveness.”—Foreword Reviews
“Maxwell’s voice was among the most recognizable on the Times’ pages, not only for his clear and powerful writing but for his direct attack. He did not dance around issues, even the most contentious ones. . . . He’s a reporter of voracious curiosity.”—Tampa Bay Times
“Maxwell’s lived experience is invaluable; his voice is inimitable; and his courage is unequaled. Reading this priceless collection, you will undoubtedly agree that the people and causes for which he writes have no better advocate, nor will they likely have one again like him in our lifetimes. Bill Maxwell is a Florida—and national—treasure, and we are all fortunate to have shared this precious state with him for so many years.”—Greg Asbed, co-founder, Coalition of Immokalee Workers
“This is one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read. It really is accountability journalism at its best. Maxwell writes boldly and with ruthless honesty and empathy about persistent racial inequities, environmental degradation, and much else.”—Amy Green, author of Moving Water: The Everglades and Big Sugar
“A must-read that will touch your heart and inspire a more thoughtful approach to very challenging societal issues. Maxwell’s words remind me personally, in most vivid terms, of the importance of being human, giving back to your community, and never settling for less than the truth.”—Linda Friar, deputy chief of public affairs, Bureau of Reclamation
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Maximum Vantage. Maxwell’s advice on how others may or should think about these issues is thoughtful and personal to him. I felt better informed after reading his stories.”—Bettye A. Grable, Florida A&M University School of Journalism and Graphic Communication  
“Maxwell’s social and cultural commentaries provide prescient wisdom and insight into many controversial issues within Florida and our nation as a whole that flow from his own unique and varied life experiences. The collection highlights the essence of one of Florida’s greatest writers and thinkers whose perspectives are exceedingly relevant to the issues our society and state continue to grapple with today.”—Patrick Ferguson, organizing representative for the Sierra Club, Florida Chapter  
In this collection of columns spanning the years 2000-2019, veteran journalist Bill Maxwell tackles important issues faced by Florida and broader American society that remain as relevant as ever. Demonstrating the courage to take on controversy and the signature pithy style that have won him a nationwide readership, Maxwell offers his opinion on a wide variety of questions with a focus on race, agricultural labor, education, and the environment.            
Maxwell writes from the vantage point of a Florida native who grew up as a migrant farmworker at the end of the Jim Crow era; a Black man who participated in the civil rights movement to help make the state more equitable; a college professor who lectured about the harms of racial discrimination; and an environmentalist who has lived in the Everglades as artist-in-residence. Grounding his social criticism in firsthand knowledge of the contradictions of life in the American South, Maxwell uses reason and research to highlight uncomfortable realities and injustices that persist in the twenty-first century.
Believing that informed citizens will make decisions that positively impact society, Maxwell prompts readers to examine their own perspectives, question their assumptions, and come to a deeper understanding of their state and nation.  
Bill Maxwell wrote a syndicated column for the Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times) from 1994 to 2019. His columns appeared in 200 newspapers worldwide and received many writing awards, including the Florida Press Club’s award for general excellence in commentary and the Community Champion Award from the American Trial Lawyers Association. Maxwell taught journalism and English for eighteen years at colleges in Illinois, Texas, Alabama, and Florida. He is the author of Maximum Insight: Selected Columns.  
Publication of this work made possible by a Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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