Twenty-five-year-old Seminole Toby Tiger lives in despair in the Florida Everglades. He loves the land and everything that exists in the natural world: the deer and egrets, turtles and herons, cypress trees and sawgrass, ponds and marshes, and, most of all, Allapattah, the crocodile. He watches helplessly as the white man imposes his will on the Seminoles, forcing them either to conform or to eke out a living wrestling alligators and carving trinkets for tourists. According to Toby, the whites “destroy all that they touch." Toby refuses to bend to the white man's will and fights back the only way he knows how. He becomes Allapattah, a creature that earns his respect and protection.
A native of Mendenhall, Mississippi, Patrick Smith earned both a B.A. and a master’s degree in English from the University of Mississippi. He moved to Florida in 1966 and began writing the novels about Florida that would make bring him lifelong recognition: The River Is Home, The Beginning, Forever Island, Angel City, Allapattah, and A Land Remembered. Smith has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize: in 1973 for Forever Island, which was a 1974 selection of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books; in 1978 for Angel City, which was produced as a movie of the week for the CBS television network; and in 1984 for A Land Remembered, which was an Editors’ Choice selection of the New York Times Book Review. In the annual statewide Best of Florida poll conducted by Florida Monthly Magazine, A Land Remembered has been ranked #1 Best Florida Book eight times. In 1985 Smith’s lifetime work was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 1999 he was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, which is the highest cultural honor bestowed by the state of Florida. In May 2002 Smith was the recipient of the Florida Historical Society’s Fay Schweim Award as the “Greatest Living Floridian.” The one-time-only award was established to honor the one individual who has contributed the most to Florida in recent history. Additionally, Smith earned the 2012 Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing presented by the Florida Humanities Council. The judges felt that “Patrick Smith’s books have been hugely significant to the citizens of Florida . . . [and] that A Land Remembered is an iconic Florida book that has resonated with generations of Floridians in helping people understand the history of this remarkable state.”