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Covington, Dennis. Redneck Riviera: Armadillos, Uutlaws, and The Demise of an American Dream.

COVINGTON, Dennis. Redneck Riviera; armadillos, outlaws, and the demise of an American dream. Counterpoint. 182p. c2004. 1-58243-296-1. $13.00. SA

In a combination of the story of his childhood, his relationship with his father and his desire to reclaim his inherited 2.5 acres of worthless land in Florida, Covington describes his own feelings about his Southern roots. The book begins with his childhood family trips from Alabama to Florida, which culminated in his father's purchase of land in Central Florida. Unwittingly, his father had become part of the famous "swampland in Florida schemes" of the 1950s and '60s that went from bad (Cape Coral) to worst (River Ranch). As an adult, Covington hopelessly tried to save his inheritance as part of his homage to his father, but he ran into legal, but mostly illegal, roadblocks to the privileges of ownership. His pursuit ended with a hilarious, but dangerous, night raid through barricades put up by squatters and co-opters. In telling his own story, he illuminates the values and lifestyle of the typical "redneck" that, while having some of the cliched characteristics we all know, has other attributes as well, including a love for the land, family and one's right to one's own property. Covington occasionally wanders away from his topic, as in the case of the story of his childhood venture into armadillo sales, which he writes in a funny, self-mocking style, but even the diversions add to his brightly painted picture of life on the Redneck Riviera. Nola Theiss, Sanibel, FL

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Author:Theiss, Nola
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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