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Tales from the Conch Republic

Get Lit

New book chronicling 1970’s Key West tells the secret history of Margaritaville.

If Key West was magical enough to inspire Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Jimmy Buffet, and Tom McGuane to move there, it should inspire you to take the 3-hour jaunt down from Miami.  (Even if you are appalled, as we are, by the Crayola box of daiquiri offerings and the tan-lined parade of neon drunkenness that Duval Street has become, inducing very much the same brand of self-reflexive cultural disgust as Bourbon Street.)
To truly appreciate Key West, you have to know its golden era—and that’s what William McKeen gives us in his new book, Mile Marker Zero: The Moveable Feast Of Key West.
There was a time in the early 1970’s when Jimmy Buffet was cutting his heels on pop tops, sleeping on friends’ couches and playing for loose change on Duval Street. The centerpiece of McKeen’s book is that time in the early 70’s, post- Acid Test/Vietnam/Summer Of Love, in which wandering rebels without a cause made their way down A1A to the island that wouldn’t judge them for free love and reefer, and best of all, it wouldn’t dare ask that horrifying question hanging over everyone at the time: “Now what?”

Mile Marker Zero
By William McKeen
Crown, 306 Pages, $25

Purchase the book here: