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MILITARY BOOKS

Wilbur D. Jones Jr.

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Captain Wilbur D. Jones Jr., USN (ret.) is a “nationally known author and military historian in Wilmington, N. C., doing business as Wilbur Jones Compositions, L.L.C. A University of North Carolina history graduate, retired navy captain, and former assistant and advance representative to President Ford, he served the Department of Defense for nearly 41 years, the last 12 as a professor and associate dean at the Defense Acquisition University.”

 

Captain Wilbur D. Jones Jr. is the author of The Journey Continues: The World War II Home Front; A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs of a Wartime Boomtown; Arming the Eagle: A History of U.S. Weapons Acquisition Since 1775; Gyrene: The World War II United States Marine; and, Giants in the Cornfield: The 27th Indiana Infantry. Captain Wilbur D. Jones Jr. is also a co-author of Condemned to Live: A Panzer Artilleryman’s Five-Front War; Hawaii Goes to War: The Aftermath of Pearl Harbor; and, Forget That You Have Been Hitler Soldiers: A Youth’s Service to the Reich.

 

According to the book description of A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs of a Wartime Boomtown, “The New Hanover County city of Wilmington -- the social, cultural, manufacturing, economic, and population hub of Southeastern North Carolina -- was a mighty contributor to the war effort in World War II. For numerous reasons it was the country's most unique wartime boomtown. Each military service was stationed there, the shipyard mass-produced 243 cargo vessels, the port was a shipping point for vital war materials, defense industries operated at capacity, and thousands of sons and daughters left to fight the enemy. One hundred ninety-one county boys did not return. Strategically located on the east coast, it endured continuous civilian defense alerts, U-boats offshore, and the threat of German attack.

 

The magnitude of the area's diverse activities and complete absorption, rise, and fall were unequaled by any American city. How it managed the social, civic, jurisdictional, and governmental complexities during its economic boom is a compelling and scintillating subject closely portrayed here through firsthand accounts. A Sentimental Journey has vast national appeal to readers interested in WWII, the home front, and American cultural history.”

 

According to the book description of Condemned to Live: A Panzer Artilleryman’s Five-Front War, it “is an exceptionally explicit contribution to understanding the German common soldier of World War II, the private soldat. This gripping memoir of Franz A. P. Frisch, written with Wilbur D. Jones, Jr., portrays the nine-year life, culture and travails of a Panzer artilleryman who fought on five European fronts, and remained a private in rank.

 

The book features 140 unpublished remarkably candid photographs taken by Frisch with a Kodak box camera on campaign as a motorized soldier with the advancing Panzer columns. The photographs display the war's devastation and death, but most striking are the images of people: camp life, friends, enemies, and refugees. Frisch, a retired Ph.D. with the U.S. Department of Defense fought in the invasions of Poland, France, and the Soviet Union, and the defense of Sicily and Italy. In Match 1945 he became an American POW for two years.

 

The narrative eschews Hitler's grand strategies, field marshals, and Panzer tactics, all beyond his control, but instead includes extensive remembrances of a soldier's small and volatile world, conforming to his level of authority and competence, viewpoint, and informality. His U.S. counterpart was immortalized as “G.I. Joe.”

 

According to the book description of The Journey Continues: The World War II Home Front, it “extends the human interest story started in the acclaimed A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs of a Wartime Boomtown, including more cultural anecdotes, love stories, and the social scene, and numerous detailed accounts of area men in combat and those killed in action. For numerous reasons, America’s unique World War II wartime boomtown was Wilmington, the population, economic, social, and cultural hub of southeastern North Carolina. The area, officially called "The Defense Capital of the State," contributed mightily to the national war effort.

 

This area of North Carolina accommodated each military service, a shipyard mass-producing 243 cargo vessels, the state port, defense industries operating at capacity, and German prisoner of war camps. Two hundred Wilmington high school graduates received the Medal of Honor. Thousands of citizens fought on every global battlefield; 191 New Hanover County boys died. Strategically located, the area endured constant civilian defense alerts and restrictions, U-boats marauding offshore, and until 1944, the threat of German attack.

 

The county’s pre-war population of 43,000 swelled to around 100,000 with the influx of servicemen and war workers. Even as the casualty lists grew, entertainment and night life sometimes proceeded as usual. Romance ruled. Prostitution flourished. For many young men and women, the war was the most exciting time of their lives. The area’s diverse activities, complete absorption, and rise and fall likely were unequaled by any American city. How Wilmington managed the social, civic, jurisdictional, business, racial, and governmental complexities during its economic heyday is portrayed through hundreds of firsthand accounts and the daily newspaper.”

 

According to the book description of Gyrene: The World War II United States Marine, “The persona and character of the World War II Marine vividly come alive in Gyrene. The book interprets and analyzes the Marine's personal and cultural history, the pleasant and unpleasant, serious and not so, and the ordinary and exceptional. It is about men doing their duty and nothing else.”

 

According to the book description of Hawaii Goes to War: The Aftermath of Pearl Harbor, “for six months following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii rearmed and awaited the inevitable. Patricia O'Meara Robbins, a professional photographer, documented everyday life as the shocked Oahu community recovered from one attack and prepared for another. In Hawaii Goes to War, the Joneses skillfully interweave Carroll's childhood remembrances and her mother's photographs with the history of the fleet salvage operations that enabled the navy to take on the Japanese armed forces. They follow the war from Pearl Harbor to the battles of the Coral Sea that led up to the triumph of Midway.”


Gyrene: The World War II United States Marine
Wilbur D., Jr. Jones  More Info

Condemned to Live: A Panzer Artilleryman's Five-Front War
Franz A. P. Frisch  More Info

Giants in the Cornfield: The 27th Indiana Infantry
Wilbur D., Jr. Jones  More Info

Hawaii Goes to War: The Aftermath of Pearl Harbor
Wilbur D., Jr. Jones  More Info

The Journey Continues: The World War II Home Front
Wilbur D., Jr. Jones  More Info

A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs of a Wartime Boomtown
Jr., Wilbur, D. Jones  More Info

Forget That You Have Been Hitler Soldiers : A Youth's Service to the Reich
Hermann O. Pfrengle  More Info

According to the book description of Forget That You Have Been Hitler Soldiers: A Youth’s Service to the Reich, “Hermann Pfrengle’s World War II memoir describes in remarkable and breathtaking detail the unorthodox life and travails of an adolescent German boy on the war-scarred home front. As a member of the Jungvolk, a group loosely associated under the Hitler Youth organization, he helped construct the Siegfried Line, dodged bombs and cleared rubble with civilian defense, and worked in the war effort. A high-school student near Mainz on the Rhine River until his school was bombed, he rose in leadership positions while watching his country’s fortunes deteriorate.

 

In March 1945, as the war neared an end, at age 15, he and some of his Jungvolk unit were called to “active duty” in paramilitary roles with the Wehrmacht, hoping to stop the rapid advance of the American forces nearing the Rhine. Seeing combat, death, and destruction firsthand, Pfrengle served in supply, courier, and flak helper support roles during the Wehrmacht’s retreat into Czechoslovakia. He and his regular army comrades came to fear the fanatical SS as much as U.S. bullets. Two days before Germany surrendered, General George S. Patton’s troops captured him, and for three weeks he was a prisoner of war. On his release, the Americans admonished him and his home town buddies to “forget that you have been Hitler soldiers.” By virtue of his seniority, maturity, and sense of responsibility, he became their leader.

 

It took them two months to work their way home, encountering the mayhem that was a defeated and depleted Germany. Mostly on foot and also illegally hopping trains, and among thousands of displaced persons, military police, victorious but kind American soldiers, and bewildered citizens, he foraged for sustenance, shelter, clothing, and medical care. The remarkable, passionate story of his journey back to his parents, who had not heard from him in four months, is an unforgettable account of courage, ingenuity, and perseverance at any age.

 

The book focuses on people and human-interest subjects, not the war itself, supplemented by several maps and personal photographs. To aid the reader, the authors provide an introduction to the German involvement in the war, Wehrmacht organization, the land campaigns in Europe, and a glossary, index, and bibliography.

 

Hermann Pfrengle’s memoir adds an in-depth perspective to life on the German home front and the service of youth to the Third Reich, views of World War II history often improperly treated by historians.”

According to the book description of Giants in the Cornfield: The 27th Indiana Infantry, it is “an extensive social and human interest study of the young men who comprised the Civil War's tallest regiment. The wide-ranging, fast-moving, and thoroughly researched work divulges the personal life and culture of the Union Army common soldier.  Giants focuses on the interactions of a single, homogeneous unit of Hoosiers: neighbors and chums from the same county, village, and family, many from areas sympathetic to the Confederacy, who endured three years of hardship to preserve the Union. Giants captures the mental, emotional, and social environment within which these 1,181 men served, fought, and died. Utilizing thousands of unpublished letters, official and family records, diaries, and memoirs, Jones weaves a special regimental personality, character, profile, and history.

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