There are a number of political biographies recently out or soon to be out that rehash the old days in Jacksonville.
Former State Rep. John Forbes produced his autobiography with Susan Brandenburg, titled “Unlikely Partnership,” referring to the union of Forbes and his wife Marie Adams Forbes. They own and operate U.S. Legal Services, a national company with headquarters in Jacksonville.
I knew Forbes going back to the time he worked as a public defender before running for the Legislature in 1970, and I covered his activities in the Legislature during the 1970s. As head of the House Commerce Committee, he had influence over a lot of important issues.
The big book a lot of people are waiting to see is a biography of former mayor Jake Godbold. It was written by former reporter and political actor Mike Tolbert, and I expect it to be a highly readable account of the colorful mayor.
Another one that has been in the works for years covers the life of former mayor Lou Ritter, who probably was more knowledgeable of local politics in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s than anyone. Ritter left tape recordings and a wealth of written records, but whether it will ever make it into print is uncertain.
The same is true of a biography of the late U.S. Senator George Smathers, father of Bruce Smathers, former legislator and Florida secretary of state. It has been in the works for some 25 years.
Former City Council president Homer Humphries, now deceased, wrote a brief account of council history and consolidation some years back.
Non-politician and lawyer Tracy Danese also wrote a book years ago about Ed Ball, containing many stories of the colorful billionaire banker who dominated Florida politics for many years.