In January 1992, articles in the National Geographic, Esquire, and New York magazines converged on a single theme. The topic was not the country's economic troubles or the political battles of an election year but the remarkable events taking place in an American city. The city is not one of the nation's largest or one of the most centrally located. For many years, its familiar profile was that of a semitropical playground with southern-style race relations. But in the last quarter of a century, Miami has been transformed in ways never before experienced by an American city, and journalists and literati elsewhere have taken note.