A GREAT GOLDEN SUN
The WWII Journal of Sergeant
Eugene Gold "Jerry" Hartman
Foreword by Kenrick N. Simpson
Designed and published for
the Lincoln County Historical Association
by Nathan W. Moehlmann, Goosepen Studio & Press
Coth: $35.00 | 368 pages | 6" x 9"
ISBN 978-0-9898125-1-1 | Winter 2013
With enough time, almost any mundane scrap of paper — from a store receipt to a letter or diary entry — can acquire a certain amount of interest. Scribblings contemporaneous with a significant historical event may become a curiosity simply because they provide the reader an intimate connection to a time or place in history. When the family of Sergeant Jerry Hartman, a service station owner from Lincolnton, North Carolina, discovered in 2000 after his death at the age of ninety-two, a set of five journals he had kept during World War II, not only was their interest piqued but they also found themselves mesmerized by his vivid observations of his experiences in the Pacific Theater.
Sergeant Hartman served as a mechanic in an amphibious tank unit, and with a ninth-grade education, a life’s trade in mechanical work, and his hobbies in woodworking and music, he never gave indication of any special gifts as a wordsmith. His journal, here reproduced unabridged, turns out to be, however, much more than a mere curiosity in its evocative contribution to the literature of World War II. As Kenrick N. Simpson, Military Archivist with the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, writes in his foreword, “What makes these journals truly remarkable is the author’s exquisite style of writing and ability to express himself. Older and more mature than many of his comrades, Hartman was a close observer of both human nature and his physical surroundings.… He had an artist’s eye and appreciation for the beauty of the Pacific scenery, so vastly different from the North Carolina Piedmont of his upbringing. His impressions of the ocean, gathering storm clouds over the limitless expanse of water, other ships on the sea and planes in the sky, ack-ack bursting around a doomed enemy plane, the lush variety of tropical vegetation, and myriad other aspects of his daily experiences are recorded with a poetic fluency....”
With fifty-two photographs of and by Hartman during the war and of his civilian life before and after, as well as profiles of his background, A Great Golden Sun stands as a testament to Sergeant Jerry Hartman himself, to the enduring power of words, and to the remembrance of the struggle and sacrifice of World War II.
Available through the Lincoln County Historical Association.