Rhode Island’s contribution to World War II vastly exceeded its small size. In Narragansett Bay at Quonset Point, they included the Northeast’s largest naval air station and the main training center for the Seabees. In Newport and Aquidneck Island, they included the nation’s most important torpedo production facilities, a naval training station for some 500,000 sailors, and the nation’s main PT boat training center. Three special, top-secret German POW camps were based in Narragansett and Jamestown. Meanwhile, Rhode Island workers from all over the state—including for the first time many women—made their contributions by manufacturing military equipment and building warships, most notably the Liberty ships at Providence Shipyard. Authors from the Rhode Island history blog smallstatebighistory.com trace Rhode Island’s outsized wartime role, from the scare of an enemy raid after Pearl Harbor to the war’s final German U-boat sunk off Point Judith.
Christian McBurney, the primary editor of this book and the editor and publisher of the Online Review of Rhode Island History, has written seven books on Rhode Island and/or Revolutionary War history. For more information on his books continue to browse this website at christianmcburney.com
Brian L. Wallin spent the first half of his career as a radio and television journalist for major stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and the second half working as a healthcare executive for hospital systems in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In addition to being a frequent contributor to the Online Review of Rhode Island History, he is a trustee of the Varnum Continentals historic militia and the Varnum Armory Museum.
Patrick T. Conley is president of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, president of the Heritage Harbor Foundation, chairman of the Rhode Island Publications Society and currently serving as the first historian laureate of the State of Rhode Island. For more information on the twenty-seven books he has authored, as well as other Rhode Island history books, go to ripublications.org.
John W. Kennedy is a retired naval officer who for the last seven and a half years served as the director of education and community outreach for the Naval War College Museum at Newport. In that capacity, he ran the popular Eight Bells history lecture series. He retired in 2016.
Maureen A. Taylor is the author of sixteen books on family history and photography, as well as Rhode Island history. The Wall Street Journal called her “the nation’s foremost photo detective.” For more information on her books, go to maureentaylor.com.
Newport: Newport Historical Society Gift Shop at Brick Market; Naval War College Museum Shop; Spring Street Books
Providence: Brown Bookstore, Books on the Square
South County: Wakefield Books; Kingston Hill Book Store; South County History Center Gift Shop (Kingston); Savoy Books (Westerly); Picture This (Wakefield)
Other: Barrington Books; Island Books (Middletown); Island Bound Books (Block Island); Rhode Island Publications Society
I found “World War II Rhode Island” to be an informative, exceptionally well-written, meticulously documented and highly entertaining read. I learned an awful lot in these 155 pages and I really appreciate that. A great choice for history buffs, those with a connection to the Ocean State and general readers alike. Highly recommended!