Totch: A Life in the Everglades

Totch A Life in the Everglades Totch Brown s memoirs of vanished days in the Ten Thousand Islands and the Everglades the last real frontier in Florida and even today the greatest roadless wilderness in the United States are invalu

  • Title: Totch: A Life in the Everglades
  • Author: Loren G. "Totch" Brown
  • ISBN: 9780813012285
  • Page: 426
  • Format: Paperback
  • Totch Brown s memoirs of vanished days in the Ten Thousand Islands and the Everglades the last real frontier in Florida, and even today the greatest roadless wilderness in the United States are invaluable as well as vivid and entertaining, for Totch is a natural born story teller, and his accounts of fishing and gator hunting as well as his life beyond the law as gator Totch Brown s memoirs of vanished days in the Ten Thousand Islands and the Everglades the last real frontier in Florida, and even today the greatest roadless wilderness in the United States are invaluable as well as vivid and entertaining, for Totch is a natural born story teller, and his accounts of fishing and gator hunting as well as his life beyond the law as gator poacher and drug runner are evocative and colorful, fresh and exciting from the foreword by Peter MatthiessenIn the mysterious wilderness of swamps, marshes, and rivers that conceals life in the Florida Everglades, Totch Brown hung up his career as alligator hunter and commercial fisherman to become a self confessed pot smuggler Before the marijuana money rolled in, he survived excruciating poverty in one of the most primitive and beautiful spots on earth, Chokoloskee Island, in the mangrove keys known as the Ten Thousand Islands located at the western gateway to the Everglades National Park Until he wrote this memoir recollections from his childhood in the twenties that merge with reflections on a way of life dying at the hands of progress in the nineties Totch had never read a book in his life Still, his writing conveys the tension he experienced from trying to live off the land and within the laws of the land Told with energy and authenticity, his story begins with the handful of souls who came to the area a hundred years ago to homestead on the high ground formed from oyster mounds built and left by the Calusa Indians They lived close to nature in shacks built of tin or palmetto fans they ate wild meat, Chokoloskee chicken white ibis , swamp cabbage, even when they were desperate manatee and they weathered all manner of natural disaster from hurricanes to swarms of swamp angels mosquitoes In his grandpa s day, Totch writes, outlaws and cutthroats would shoot a man down just as quick as they d knock down an egret, especially if he came between them and the plume birds His grandparents were both contemporaries of Ed J Watson, the subject of Peter Matthiessen s best selling Killing Mr Watson, and Totch is featured in the recent award winning PBS film Lost Man s River An Everglades Adventure with Peter Matthiessen He also appeared in Wind Across the Everglades, the 1957 Budd Schulberg movie in which Totch and Burl Ives sing some of Totch s Florida cracker songs.Loren G Totch Brown was born in Chokoloskee, Florida, in 1920 After purchasing his first motorboat at the age of thirteen and retiring from formal schooling after the seventh grade he worked as an alligator hunter, commercial fisherman, crabber, professional guide, poacher, marijuana runner, singer, and songwriter.

    One thought on “Totch: A Life in the Everglades”

    1. If you're spending time in the Everglades this is pretty much a must read. That and a visit to the Smallwood Store to gather a bit of history. There you'll find a video playing with Totch himself telling some of his stories. The story is written in a "down-home" way, with Totch giving a glimpse into the life of an fisherman and an alligator hunter, first legal, then illegal and an eventual drug runner, who was trying to make a living as the designation of the Everglades as a National Park change [...]

    2. the reason that I picked this book was I didn't have anything to read. My grandmother went to his homestead that Totch the main charter is from. When my family went down to vist her she gave my this book. I ended up picking up the book and I did not think it would be that good but it was very good. the book takes about life growing up in the everglades and I found it interesting that this was a real book and the main was still alive but he lives with almost no technology and has no connection to [...]

    3. "Totch" is the autobiography of a man who spent nearly his entire life in the Ten Thousand Islands region of SW Florida. He talks about life in the Great Depression, hunting, fishing, poaching, and pot-hauling. Brown seems remarkably candid, although not particularly introspective. He gives the impressive of a simple, but cunning man who knew a certain way of life and kept on maintaining it without much regard for changing times or laws. He does show a thrillseeking streak. The book is very well [...]

    4. This autobiography illustrates the lifestyle of a young man in Southwest Florida during the 1920's. The rural self-sustaining way of being was all that Totch knew however as the area industrialized Totch fell behind. His way of making an income became outlawed which didn't stop him but certainly stopped producing a profitable life. This novel was relatable because on a different spectrum this character reminded me of my own father. A "set in his ways" "can't teach and old dog new tricks" type of [...]

    5. My mama read this book, loved it, and got me a copy, though I'll be damned if I can remember where she ran across it. The autobiography of a second generation Florida man, a gator hunter raised in the Everglades long before the goant theme parks came along. Born in the 20s, he tells about life in the swamps, trapping, moonshining, running a little pot, poling flat-bottomed boats around the grassy islands. Good Florida storytelling.

    6. I have mixed feelings about this book. I found it interesting to read about life in the Everglades before all the tourists arrived, but I found the hunting and illegal activities disturbing. Breaking the law is nothing to be admired.The book is written just as the author would talk.t very well!

    7. Totch : A Life in the Everglades by Loren G. "Totch" Brown (University Press of Florida 1993)(Biography) is the story of one who spent his whole life in the Glades. The book features a foreword by Peter Matthiessen and fits right in with Matthiessen's "Killing Mr. Watson" stories. My rating: 7/10; finished 2010.

    8. Not written by a professional writer but a very enjoyable and interesting book! A fascinating story of an alligator hunter and marijuana smuggler trying to make a living in the Everglades.i enjoyed it immensely!

    9. "Totch" gives a compelling story of life in the Everglades in the early and middle 20th century. How people survived, what paths they choose to survive, the hard life with its dignities. A hardy breed of people.

    10. Anyone who's interested in knowing what it was like to grow up in the Ten Thousand Islands has to read this book. Totch was a character and tells it like it was, with no regrets. Eventhough it was a tough place to be back then, part of me wishes it was still like that today. A great book!

    11. Peter Matthiessen provided the forward and I suspect the editor. The authors older brother was a friend of Lucious Watson. Talks of exploits in illegal operations in the Everglades, like drug running, gator hunting, and moon-shining.

    12. Fascinating accounts of life in the everglades. Having been there on several occasions, it's amazing people can survive under those circumstances.

    13. Fascinating perspective on the 10,000 Islands and Everglades from a great story-teller who lived it. Great read!

    14. Easy to read and full of excitement. A good old fashioned fun book. Makes me proud of my Florida heritage!

    15. I'm not a huge fan of non-fiction but did find the life of this gentleman to be interesting especially as I have just moved to Florida, northern Florida, but none-the-less Florida.

    16. This man lived an interesting life during an interesting time. A fun and great read. If you want to read a cool story check it out.

    17. Good stuff. An insider's view of the Florida Everglades from the gulf coast side from the late 1800s until today. If you like A Land Remembered, you should read this.

    18. What a wonderful read. A personal memoir of a man who was raised in the Everglades (botn in the late 20s). great adventure, grit, humor & determination. entertaining read.

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