The Extraordinary Life of Jane Wood Reno
Miami's Trailblazing Journalist
Journalist, activist, and adventurer, Jane Wood Reno (1913-1992) was one of the most groundbreaking and colorful American women of the twentieth century. Les mer
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Journalist, activist, and adventurer, Jane Wood Reno (1913-1992) was one of the most groundbreaking and colorful American women of the twentieth century. Told by her grandson, George Hurchalla, The Extraordinary Life of Jane Wood Reno is an intimate biography of a free thinker who shattered barriers during the explosive early years of Miami.
Easily recognizable today as the mother of former attorney general Janet Reno, Jane Wood Reno's own life is less widely known. Born to a Georgia cracker family, Reno scored as a genius on an IQ test at the age of 11, earned a degree in physics during the Depression, worked as a social worker, explored the Everglades, wrestled alligators, helped pioneer scuba diving in Florida, interviewed Amelia Earhart, downed shots with Tennessee Williams, traveled the world, and raised four children. She built her own house by hand, funding the project with her writing.
Hurchalla uses letters he unearthed from the family homestead and delves into Miami newspaper archives to portray Reno's sharp intelligence and determination. Reno wrote countless freelance articles under male names for the Miami Daily News until she became so indispensable that the paper was forced to take her on staff and let her publish under her own name. She exposed Miami's black-market baby racket, revealed the abuse of children at the now infamous Dozier School for Boys, and supported the Miccosukee Indians in their historic land claim.
Reno's life offers a view of the Roaring Twenties through the 1960s from the perspective of a swamp-stomping woman who rarely lived by the norms of society. Titan of a journalist, champion of the underdog, and self-directed bohemian, Jane Wood Reno was a mighty personality far ahead of her time.