Author Bonita Gilbert Book Talk
Coeur d’Alene author and North Idaho College history instructor will share a book talk and slideshow about her new book, “Building for War: The Epic Saga of the Civilian Contractors and Marines of Wake Island in World War II” (Casemate Publishers), is an extensively and intimately researched account of a little-known aspect of the Second World War. The book analyzes the complex prewar Pacific dynamic and follows Depression-era civilian contractors – many from the Inland Northwest – to a remote atoll where they scramble to build a naval air base in 1941. Gilbert describes their horrifying descent into a war from which there is neither rescue nor refuge. The book offers a new perspective on why the United States was taken by surprise in December 1941 and pays tribute to the forgotten Wake men and their families.
Gilbert visited Wake Island in November 2011 with the 611th Air Support Group and remains involved in Wake matters. The daughter and granddaughter of civilians who served Wake, Gilbert has a masters in history from the University of Oregon and teaches history at NIC. She and her husband live in Coeur d’Alene.