BOOK REVIEWS ECHOES of Topsail, First Edition - Published 1996
In the first part of ECHOES of Topsail, Stallman provides the topography and evolution of Topsail with descriptions of the climate, the many seashell and sharks' teeth that have een found on the island, and storms and hurricanes that have pummeled the coast. He also introduces the reader to the island's first settlers, the loggerhead turtles, who come onshore to lay their eggs.
The second part of the book tells the stories and dispels some myths that have been told about Topsail and its people. From pirates and lost treasure to blockade running and fishing vessels, the poignant stories of the sea resonate, often told by the sea folk who lived them. There are more unusual stories from the past of the salt works that were located near the island, the WWII WASP Women Airforce Service Pilots and the target towing missions they flew over Topsail, as well as the missile site and "Operation Bumblebee."
The third part of ECHOES of Topsail describes hardy communities that have sprung up on the island, including surf City, Ocean City, Permuda, Topsail Beach, and the mysterious Ashe Island.
The personal stories of the island's many wonderful characters are really the heart of ECHOES of Topsail, providing us with an unusual glimpse of a beautiful island, its history and its people.
Reviewed by Cheminne Taylor-Smith, Our State magazine, May 1998.
ECHOES of Topsail, Second Edition - Published 2004
David A. Stallman of Wilmington has just released a second edition of ECHOES of Topsail, his volume of historical sketches of Topsail Island.
The new edition updates ECHOES with new material on hurricanes of the 1990s and details of the island's sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation center. Another new section looks at the renovation of the Topsail towers...built for the US Navy's "Operation Bumblebee" rocket testing program conducted on the island after World War II. The seven surviving towers have been remodeled as private homes.
Excerpted from a review by Ben Steelman, Wilmington Star-News, Octoer 21, 2004.