A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs of a Wartime Boomtown
by Wilbur D. Jones Jr.
A Sentimental Journey is a social history of the life and culture of the World War II home front in Wilmington and Southeastern North Carolina.
“The Defense Capital of the State,” it became a mighty contributor to the war effort and the country’s unique wartime boomtown, earning it the right to be proclaimed as “America’s World War II City.”
The area had all the armed forces stationed in large numbers, a shipyard producing 243 cargo vessels, the vital state port, industries at capacity, and German prisoner of war camps. Thousands left to fight; 191 New Hanover County boys died. Two high school graduates received the Medal of Honor.
Strategically located, it endured constant civilian defense drills and restrictions, U-boats sinking ships offshore (one fired on a defense plant), and until 1944, the threat of attack.
The population nearly tripled. Demands for goods and services including housing, schools, food, and recreation overwhelmed. How officials managed the social, civic, jurisdictional, racial, and governmental complexities during the city’s economic heyday-while handling huge construction projects, war workers, citizen stresses, black markets, crime wave, equal justice, and weekend hordes of soldiers-is portrayed through firsthand accounts and the daily newspapers.
The author’s vivid boyhood remembrances weave through and interpret the story.
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: White Mane Books (April 13, 2006)
From the Publisher
A Sentimental Journey has vast national appeal to readers interested in WWII, the home front, and American cultural history.
About the Author
Wilbur D. Jones, Jr., is an established author and military historian, and holds a history degree from the University of North Carolina. He has written numerous books and articles on military history and defense issues, specializing in World War II, the Civil War, and weapons acquisition.
A retired Navy Captain, he served as an assistant to President Gerald R. Ford and in other political staff positions in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. In 1996 he retired after nearly 41 consecutive years of service to the Department of Defense, the last 12 as a professor at the Defense Systems Management College.
A Wilmington, North Carolina, native, he served as volunteer chairman of the award winning Wartime Wilmington Commemoration, 1999. He is now volunteer chairman of the World War II Wilmington Home Front Heritage Coalition, a campaign to establish a WWII museum, restore the historic USO Building, and develop a trail of WWII cultural heritage sites in Southeastern North Carolina. A Sentimental Journey is his 14th book.