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Prologue is WHQR's monthly book discussion, hosted by Ben Steelman of the Star News. Takes place on the second Monday of the month, at 7pm. Prologue is currently hosted via Zoom Webinar.

(Virtual) Prologue: "Curious Tales From Old Wilmington" by Chris E. Fonvielle Jr., March 8th





On Monday, March 8th, host Ben Steelman of the Star News will sit down (virtually) with author Chris E. Fonvielle Jr. to discuss his new book, "Curious Tales From Old Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear."

About the Book: 

For those of us fortunate to have been born and raised in Wilmington, the stories in "Curious Tales From Old Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear: The Truth Behind the Legends," have been a part of our cultural fabric for generations. Much of Wilmington’s wealth is in its history, going back almost 500 years.   

My former students in the Department of History at UNC Wilmington will recall my fondness for saying: “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” Historians should be good storytellers when telling the stories of us. In Curious Tales, I turn that phrase on its head. “Never let a good story get in the way of the truth,” which can be even more interesting and intriguing.

The stories herein liberate our minds from the confines of reality and pique our imaginations. They reveal, in their own way, the nature and meaning of life and, in one case, life after life. Moreover, they are simply darn good yarns.                

About the Author: 

Chris E. Fonvielle Jr. is a native Wilmingtonian with a lifelong interest in American Civil War, North Carolina, and Cape Fear history. He attended public schools, including New Hanover High School, class of 1971, where he was the first soccer-style placekicker in North Carolina football history. After receiving his B.A. in anthropology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Chris served as the last curator of the Blockade Runners of the Confederacy Museum. He subsequently received his M.A. in American history at East Carolina University, and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. That makes Chris a Wildcat, a Seahawk, a Pirate, and a Gamecock.

After a brief teaching stint at East Carolina University, Dr. Fonvielle returned to his undergraduate alma mater at UNCW in 1996, where he taught courses on the Civil War, Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear, and Antebellum America. His in-depth research focuses on coastal operations and defenses, and blockade running in southeastern North Carolina during the Civil War. He has published books and articles including The Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope; Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear: An Illustrated History; Fort Fisher 1865: The Photographs of T.H. O’Sullivan.

In 2014, then-Governor Pat McCrory appointed Dr. Fonvielle to the North Carolina Historical Commission. Upon his retirement from UNC Wilmington in 2018, Chris was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for distinguished service to the State of North Carolina, signed by incumbent Governor Roy Cooper. He is also a regular tour guide for Wilmington Water Tours, featured guest on “Cape Fear Unearthed” podcasts, and contributor of articles on Cape Fear history for Salt Magazine.

Mary Bradley moved to Wilmington from Los Angeles, CA in May 2007 with her husband Frank and twin baby daughters, Maggie and Kate. In California, Mary had been Drive Director and the producer of Elvis Mitchell's nationally syndicated public radio interview program "The Treatment" for public radio station KCRW for ten years. Mary was raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Boston University. Mary recently served as President of the Board of Directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Cape Fear Chapter.