OCRACOKE (Hardcover)

The Pearl of the Outer Banks

By Ray McAllister

Beach Glass Books, 9780692742457, 256pp.

Publication Date: November 30, 0002

List Price: 22.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


"Ocracoke: The Pearl of the Outer Banks," by award-winning coastal author Ray McAllister, has been published in an “enhanced edition” by Beach Glass Books.

The $22.95 hardcover features larger pages and larger photographs than the first edition, as well as 32 additional photographs and illustrations. Each copy of the limited edition also is signed by the author.

"Ocracoke," originally published in 2013, is the fourth book in the author’s North Carolina coastal series. "Ocracoke" offers a look at the history, people and continuing allure of the remote, white-sanded island that draws tens of thousands of visitors each year. New illustrations focus on Blackbeard, the Ocracoke lighthouse and 20th century island life, bringing to more than 150 the book’s black-and-white illustrations. They also enhance the book’s positions as one of the Outer Banks’ best-selling memento books and gift books.

The book tells the island’s story from the early days of Native Americans and European explorers to today’s artists, musicians, fishermen and bicycle-riding tourists. Along the way, it shares the stories of Blackbeard the Pirate’s bloody demise, German U-boat attacks off Ocracoke’s coast, and the role of the iconic 1823 Ocracoke Lighthouse. Here, too, are portraits of ferries full of visitors, a legendary herd of once-wild ponies, miles of nationally honored beaches, the charmingly unpaved Howard Street and the poignantly serene British Cemetery – along with the inside stories of what draws families back year after year, generation after generation. "Ocracoke" also presents a striking new proposal from Dr. Stephen Leatherman, the world-famous Dr. Beach, to enhance Ocracoke’s reputation as a world-class walking village.

Like the author’s other coastal books, "Ocracoke" is a winner of the North Carolina Association of Historian’s Willie Parker Peace History Book Award. It is available at most Outer Banks booksellers, selected North Carolina and Virginia stores, and online sellers, including the publisher's web site, www.BeachGlassBooks.com, and the author’s site, www.RayMcAllister.com.

About the Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ray McAllister is a former columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and former editor of Boomer magazine, in Richmond, Va. He is the author of "Topsail Island: Mayberry by the Sea"; "Wrightsville Beach: The Luminous Island," and "Hatteras Island: Keeper of the Outer Banks." All three, published by John F. Blair, Publisher, have won multiple awards and gone into multiple printings. Most recently, he is the author of "The Forum Files: The Stories Behind The Richmond Forum" and a second edition of "Wrightsville Beach." He also is the publisher of other writers' works on the North Carolina coast and the Richmond, Va., area.

Praise For OCRACOKE: The Pearl of the Outer Banks

“THE RELEASE OF AN ‘ENHANCED EDITION’ of the original 2013 publication Ocracoke: The Pearl of the Outer Banks means that libraries seeking lending copies of an expanded edition and individuals who want a keepsake copy will enjoy a 35 percent increase in page size, which allows for the addition of numerous photos and the enlargement of others in a classic which closely examines the history and people of a North Carolina island that has experienced much change over the years.

“The book is a winner of the North Carolina Association of Historian’s Willie Parker Peace History Book Award, and it well deserves this and other acclaim as it brings together not only local history but a wealth of photos and drawings of Blackbeard, 20th century island life, and more in some 150 black and white illustrations.

“Be forewarned, however, that this book’s pictorial strengths only serve to compliment a treasure trove of text that delves deeply into history; so it’s not intended as a pictorial survey with sketchy facts so much as a detailed history embellished with vintage images. Readers of Outer Banks history will be thrilled at this level of depth, which reaches from early history to World War II’s surge of naval buildup which doubled the population of the island. The development of ferry routes in the 1950s by enterprising businessmen who saw opportunities in such a system (before the state of North Carolina bought the makeshift wooden ferry system begun by Frazier Peele) and the island’s tourist reputation as ‘Pony Island’ (because hundreds of ponies once roamed the island – even though nobody knew exactly how they’d arrived there) are just a few other stories unique to this island and this book.

“Oracoke has become much more accessible in the 20th century, but still remains somewhat isolated despite the influx of tourists. From shipwrecks to hurricanes and exceptional beaches, McAllister’s history captures the atmosphere and evolution of the island in such a way that even non-residents and those relatively unfamiliar with Ocracoke will find it a lively, compelling read.

“Ocracoke: The Peal of the Outer Banks is recommended for any collection strong in regional American history in general and North Carolina’s islands in particular.”

--MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW BOOKWATCH, D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, September 2017


--SWAN QUARTERLY, Hyde County, N.C., Summer 2013

“McALLISTER CAPTURES THE ESSENCE of this island with anecdotes, personal reflections, informal interviews with Ocracokers, and intriguing histories. … Each subsequent chapter focuses a tightened lens on the singularities that define the “pearl of the Outer Banks.” From shipwrecks to life-saving stations, from the squat lighthouse to that solitary patch of Great Britain—the tiny cemetery that contains the graves of four English seamen, McAllister paints each element with detailed brushstrokes. Throughout it all, the central characters come to life, whether it’s Blackbeard whose headless body was thrown into Ocracoke waters after his famous battle with Lieutenant Robert Maynard, or Phillip Howard who spent hours talking with McAllister, threading their conversations with strands of island legends. That’s what weaves it all together, McAllister’s tightly woven stories that spilled from the mouths of villagers and visitors alike. There’s real poignancy in the story told by Judy Latham, how her husband David—now deceased—proposed to her in the shadow of the Ocracoke Lighthouse. Ocracoke The Pearl of the Outer Banks is part history, part guide book, but mainly it’s a loving tribute to this “great place to be going to, instead of from.””

--NORTH OF THE JAMES, Richmond, Va., Charles McGuigan

“OCRACOKE FOLLOWS IN THE WAKE [of Topsail Island, Wrightsville Beach and Hatteras Island]: a casual, chatty introduction to Ocracoke Island and its storied history, with plenty of entertaining tales. McAllister talks about Blackbeard, of course, and has a lifeboat full of shipwreck yarns, but there is also material on the Outer Banks ponies, the unique ‘hoi toide’ accent of the Banks natives and details about the Ocracoke lighthouse.”