Book Talk on Rhode Island’s Role in World War II, June 29

FDR in RI During WWII

President Roosevelt, in the front passenger seat, reviews cadets on the grounds of the Naval Training Center at Newport (now the Naval War College) on August 12, 1940, with Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Senator Theodore F. Green, and Admiral Edward C. Kalbfus (FDR Library and Naval War College Museum). Photo from

Join authors Christian McBurney and Brian Wallin for a discussion on their new book, World War II Rhode Island, with a special focus on what happened at and near the Narragansett Bay Campus (formerly Fort Kearney). 

Rhode Island’s contribution to World War II vastly exceeded the state’s small size. Narragansett Bay was an armed camp dotted by army forts and navy facilities. They included the country’s most important torpedo production and testing facilities at Newport and the Northeast’s largest naval air station at Quonset Point. 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—manufactured military equipment and built warships, most notably the Liberty ships at Providence Shipyard. Authors from the Rhode Island history blog trace Rhode Island’s outsized wartime role, from the scare of an enemy air raid after Pearl Harbor to the war’s final German U-boat sunk off Point Judith.

Book: World War II Rhode Island

Join us

When: June 29, 2017
Time:  4:30 p.m.
Place:  Corless Auditorium, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett Bay Campus





Light refreshments will be served. Please contact or (401) 874-6805 to reserve your place at this free lecture. To read a sample of the book, visit

Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing by the authors. For this event, books are for sale at the special price of $20; cash or checks only.

This event is sponsored by Rhode Island Sea Grant and the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography.

About the Authors

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. BRIAN L. WALLIN is a frequent contributor to the Online Review of Rhode Island History and 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 serves as the first historian laureate of the State of Rhode Island. 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. MAUREEN A. TAYLOR is the author of 16 books on family history and photography, as well as Rhode Island history.

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