Bubble in the Sun

Bubble in the Sun

Full Name
Bubble in the Sun: The Florida Boom of the 1920s and How It Brought on the Great Depression

The Bubble in the Sun takes an in-depth look at the spectacular Florida land boom of the 1920s and shows how it led directly to the Great Depression. The 1920s in Florida was a time of incredible excess, immense wealth, and precipitous collapse. This book examines the grand artistic and entrepreneurial visions behind Coral Gables, Boca Raton, Miami Beach, and other storied sites, as well as the darker side of the frenzy. It breathes dynamic life into the forces that made and wrecked Florida during the decade: the real estate moguls Carl Fisher, George Merrick, and Addison Mizner, and the once-in-a-century hurricane whose aftermath triggered the stock market crash. This essential account is a revelatory—and riveting—history of an era that still affects our country today.

Recommended by Jim Chanos

"The story of the 1920s real estate bubble in Florida has been told before, but Knowlton brings to it a vivid, spirited style and a colorful cast of characters who made quick fortunes and lost them just as quickly."

New York Times

"A lucid account of the human and economic factors that drove a notorious land rush.”

Kirkus Review

"Knowlton delivers a vibrant, eminently readable cautionary tale about business and cultural history."


"Knowlton successfully captures the vibrancy and mixed legacy of Florida’s boom years and makes a for the state as an economic bellwether."

Publishers Weekly

  “Knowlton delivers a captivating story, bubbling with colorful anecdotes and surprising research. As the triumphs and follies unfold, the narrative takes on a Canterbury Tales quality, drawing us into the turbulent lives of the real estate kings, crime bosses, cynical hucksters, and romantic visionaries who laid the foundation of modern Florida….[Knowlton] does vividly remind us that the metabolism of regional real-estate markets can affect the health of the overall economy. That timely lesson, one we forget at our peril, has rarely been taught with such panache.” 

Diana B. Henriques, AIR MAIL

“It is difficult to go wrong when writing of questionable behavior and wretched excess in Florida, a fact that is borne out yet again in Christopher Knowlton’s colorful Bubble in the Sun, a wide-ranging treatment of the ill-fated South Florida land boom of the 1920s.”

Les Standiford, The Wall Street Journal.

“Knowlton...has produced a lively and entertaining chronicle of the visionaries, rascals and hucksters who transformed Florida.”

Manuel Roig-Franzia, Washington Post