New to DVD this week:
American Experience (January 2019)
The history of Florida’s shifting relationship with the Everglades.
While “draining the swamp” has taken on a different meaning in more recent years, this installment of the long-running PBS series American Experience focuses on an earlier, more literal instance: the drive to reclaim land from the Florida Everglades in the early 20th century. Viewing wetlands across the nation as disease- and vermin-ridden habitats that interfered with manifest destiny and the all-important profit motive, efforts were undertaken to literally drain the swamps, tame the land, and expand mankind’s footprint. While not straying from the PBS storytelling template, Randall Maclowry succeeds in laying out a compelling tale of greed, creative/duplicitous salesmanship, and environmental shortsightedness that would radically transform the biologically diverse and ecologically essential Everglades for decades, until keener minds would recognize the need for their preservation.