Dreams in the New Century
Instant Cities, Shattered Hopes, and Florida’s Turning Point

Gary R. Mormino

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Florida Book Awards, Gold Medal for Florida Nonfiction
Florida Historical Society Charlton Tebeau Book Award 
A leading Florida historian explores one of the state’s most consequential eras  
“Provides a window into the state’s politics, people and patterns of life.”—The Economist
“Fascinating. . . . [Mormino’s] knowledge of the state is encyclopedic, and he has included an astonishing amount of it in this book. . . . Dreams in the New Century is both important history and a glimpse into our future.”—Tampa Bay Times
“Mormino’s latest book reads like fiction but isn’t. . . . A must-read. . . . Takes readers on the 10-year bumpy ride that begins in 2000 with Florida at the millennial crossroads of America’s political destiny.”—Paradise News
“Gary Mormino is one of the finest writers in Florida. His eye for irony and poignancy is strong, and its power is on full display in these pages. Dreams in the New Century makes sense of the state in a period of rapid growth and change.”—Evan P. Bennett, author of When Tobacco Was King: Families, Farm Labor, and Federal Policy in the Piedmont  
“A thorough, entertaining, and often moving reflection on the history of modern Florida. Mormino convincingly and rightfully situates the history of turn-of-the-twenty-first-century Florida at the forefront of American political, economic, and cultural history.”—Peggy Macdonald, author of Marjorie Harris Carr: Defender of Florida’s Environment    
“You need to read this book if you live in Florida, have ever visited Florida, or hope to move to Florida. Read it as a wake-up call, an entertainment, and a history written by a master.” —Jeff Klinkenberg, author of Son of Real Florida: Stories from My Life  
“Gary Mormino has skillfully engaged his readers in an entertaining narrative of the continuing saga of the state we love . . . the land of dreams for the most diverse population in America!"—Adelaide "Alex" Sink, former chief financial officer of Florida  
“Telling the story of Florida’s manic decade between 2000 and 2010 is particularly difficult because we lived through these times and hold dear to our own memories. Mormino challenges and expands our perspectives by brilliantly telling the backstories which created modern Florida. As the wise always do, he helps us to see through others’ eyes.”—Steve Seibert, former executive director, Florida Humanities
It was a time of stunning episodes of boom and bust, an era of extremes, a decade of historic changes that point to Florida’s future. In this book, eminent historian Gary Mormino illuminates early twenty-first-century Florida and its connections to some of the most significant events in contemporary American history.
Following Mormino’s milestone work Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, which details the dynamic history of Florida from 1950 to 2000, Dreams in the New Century explores the state’s tumultuous next chapter, a period that included the Bush v. Gore election, 9/11, the housing bubble and Great Recession, and the election of Barack Obama. During these years the Elián González story engrossed the country, Tim Tebow rose to football fame, and Donald Trump became a Florida celebrity. From hurricanes to Ponzi schemes, red tides, climate change, “Stand-Your-Ground” gun law, demographic diversity, and more, Florida offered nonstop news fodder that reflected its extraordinary internal trends and its importance in the nation.
As Mormino shows, Florida is a place of deep conflicts—North and South, liberal and conservative, newcomer and local, growth and conservation—with histories that can be traced back centuries. In 2000-2010, Mormino argues, these tensions collided to produce a “Big Bang” that will continue to resonate in years to come. Mormino takes stock of this crucible of change and explains the social, cultural, and political intricacies of a state the world struggles to understand. Dreams in the New Century unravels Florida’s complicated recent history in a gripping, informative, and fascinating narrative.  
Gary R. Mormino is the Frank E. Duckwall Professor of History Emeritus at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. He is the winner of the Florida Humanities 2015 Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing and serves as Florida Humanities scholar in residence. His many books include Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida.
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