Saturday, May 5, 2012

Spencer, Donald D.. Greetings from Sarasota, Florida: Bradenton & Surrounding Communities.

Schiffer Publishing Ltd.. 2009. 128p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 978-0-7643-3213-5. $24.99

In this generously- illustrated (375 color images) publication, the base of which was formed from the author’s postcard, photograph, and memorabilia collections, Spencer (Ph.D., Computer Science), a renowned educator and writer, who has written over 200 books, many of which pertain to Florida, takes readers on a predominantly visual tour of Sarasota, Bradenton, and their surrounding communities. In the preface and part one of four, Spencer covers the early history of postcards, Florida, and the Sarasota-Bradenton area. In parts two and three, each of which is comprised of three chapters and forms the heart of the book, the author provides overviews of Sarasota and Bradenton as well as showcases their attractions, beaches, bridges, hotels, parks, public buildings, schools, streets, transportation networks, and more. Featured mostly by means of postcard reproductions and their captions, “places to go and things to do,” many of which still exist, include Braden Castle, Bradenton Beach, Cars of Yesterday (now the Sarasota Classic Car Museum), Circus Hall of Fame, De Soto National Memorial, The Gamble Plantation, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Winter Quarters, Lido Beach, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota High School (the future home of the Sarasota Museum of Art), Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Siesta Key Beach, and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. In part four, consisting of six very short chapters, averaging three pages each, Spencer sets forth descriptions and images pertaining to nearby communities, not limited to Anna Marie Island, Arcadia, Punta Gorda, Sebring, and Venice. Postcard reproductions are captioned, with their dates and values also noted, thereby making this a valuable resource for collectors. Of interest to general readers, residents, tourists, collectors, and others, this colorful, nicely-presented book, with a bibliography, index, and more, belongs in public and special libraries. Review copy. Availability:, Barnes &, Schiffer Books