Sun, Sand and Serpents,By David Goudsward
It seems in modern cryptozoology the lion’s share of the focus is on Bigfoot, Skunkape and all the other hairy hominid types who may or likely may not inhabit the jungles, forests, swamps and plains of countries all over the globe. It gets sort of tiring and one longs for the days of the more exotic or interesting cryptids, in some ways the original cryptids, the sea and lake monsters. David Goudsward delivers just that in his book “Sun, Sand and Sea Serpents” published originally in 2020. Goudsward’s book offers a fairly comprehensive look at dozens of different sea and lake monster stories from Florida and the Caribbean and does so in a way that is fun, entertaining and educational.
Sun, Sand and Sea Serpents has something for everyone, including everything from so called living fossils to the famous St. Augustine Blob to more recent flaps like “Pinky” the dinosaur. It really seems like there is something for everyone in this book as far as cryptids go, some famous, some not so much, but each one has an interesting story behind it, along with robust research and analysis for each story, in reading one never gets the feeling that the author just sort of phoned it in and regurgitated what he found in a primary source for his own book.
For me what really shines in this book is the level headed, non sensational way that Goudsward approaches the stories he tell. Goudsward’s book does not come across as the Cryptid love fest that blindly accepts the existence of such creatures and takes all witnesses at their word. Instead Goudsward approaches the animals with a keen and sometimes skeptical bent, offering reasonable explanations for the creatures that have been sighted. The other major strength of the work is its robust bibliography, most of the chapters and sections have dozens of citations that are primary or secondary sources. Most of the citations are old newspapers, but many are academic works and papers as well as secondary sources from reputable sources a well as citations from other major cryptozoological authors.
Famed Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman puts it best in his forward for the book where he writes “As opposed to merely retelling stories, or rewriting others studies of specific cases, he is one of the best researchers I know for digging up original sources.” Sun, Sand and Sea Serpents is a great read, reference book, and a worthy addition to any ones library who is interested in the history of Florida and the surrounding areas and the strange stories that so often come out of our state.