A Friend of the Earth

Bob's Book Genesis of a Rebel

“A Message to the Future. . .”

"This book is a good read and a powerfully written memoir. Most importantly, Genesis of a Rebel reminds us that it’s never too late to claim our personal freedom and be constructively involved in the issues of life."
    The Right Rev. Robert H. Johnson, D.D.

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"Reading Genesis of a Rebel was like having Bob in the room with me. . .  his voice comes through clearly and with characteristic passion. His struggles with his own character and with society emerge in a crystal clear manner and should help others struggling with the same issues—lack of fellow feeling, disregard for the natural environment, violence, and close-mindedness. His life, only part of which I knew before, has certainly been one of struggle against these impediments to grace. Bob’s eccentricities and character emerge early and repeatedly throughout this substantial volume, to which his poetry and creative writing add a great deal. This book is quintessentially Bob Ragland, and I much appreciate his efforts in capturing some of his interesting life and often novel and inspiring perspectives on issues that are important to all of us."
    Francis E. “Jack” Putz , Ph.D.,
    Botany Professor at the University of Florida

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I first saw Bob Ragland in 1972, riding down Riverside Avenue on his bicycle. He had a long, flowing white beard with a bright red ribbon tied neatly in his whiskers like a New-Age bowtie. “I’ve got to meet that man,” I said to myself.

It was easy to meet Bob Ragland. Everyone in the neighborhood seemed to know him. A child of one the Avondale neighborhood’s prominent families, Bob was born in 1920 and grew up with children who later became the upper crust of Jacksonville’s social circles. Bob was highly regarded by his well-connected peers since, after all, he was a doctor. A little eccentric maybe, but they knew his pedigree. On the other hand, he was much respected by the radical youth of the neighborhood. In those turbulent times of the Vietnam War era, he was looked up to as a wise and sympathetic member of the “older” generation. This bearded, long-haired peaceful man was seen as a guru of sorts, a spitting image of “Mr. Natural.”

As I got to know Bob, I realized he was truly a man of many contrasts. He was not only a pediatrician and a psychiatrist, but an anti-establishment trouble maker of the finest type. He got his early education at Virginia Military Institute (perhaps the nation’s most rigid military educational college), and yet he became a peace activist, staunchly against the war. He had attended Episcopal seminary with hopes of becoming a member of the clergy, but in later years he became a forceful critic of the church for its restrictive attitudes toward gay people and minorities. He was an environmentalist before most people even knew what the word meant.

Bob has spent most of his adult life as a crusader for important causes. He was the founder of the local chapter of the Sierra Club. He single-handedly held up the construction of a poorly conceived Interstate Highway for over five years. Once, while testifying in Tallahassee against the construction of offshore nuclear power plants, he hushed everyone in the room by telling the Governor to be quiet. With great eloquence he has spoken before nearly every local government body from the School Board to the Department of Natural Resources, calling attention to their errors and lack of concern for the natural environment. Hardly any public official has escaped his persistent and articulate letter-writing skills. And he initiated the local gay rights movement before most people even considered the concept of “gay rights” or the need for such a movement.

This book tells the story of the life of a truly wonderful rebel who, for all of his pursuit of leading-edge causes, is at heart a very gentle man and a lover of nature. Although a member of the passing generation, his challenge to change the destructive relationship between mankind and the natural world is a message to the future. The triumphs of love over hate, of understanding over indifference, and of caring for our planet rather than destroying it, are the great themes that resonate through his life and his story. This book is a compelling testimony from a man who is ahead of his time.

        Wayne W. Wood

Genesis of a Rebel is 272 pages hard-bound with dust jacket, 9" x 11".

To order your copy:

Send your check for $24.95 (plus $7.15 shipping) = Total $32.10

to The Robert B. Ragland Foundation, Inc.
P. O. Box 315, 4209 Buckland Trail
Greenwood, Florida 32443


© Robert B. Ragland Foundation, Inc.