"Anyone who has ever fashioned themselves a Delawarean will love this book.”

-Mike Purzycki
Mayor of the City of Wilmington


Part memoir and part Delaware contemporary history, this new book by John Riley features a behind the scenes look at more than six decades of the people, places and events, in and around the First State.

Beginning with the post-World War II period where the country’s possibilities seemed to know no bounds through to the crushing reality of assassinations, the draft and Vietnam, Riley provides a fascinating look back at the people and places of mid-century Wilmington. His riveting account of the draft and subsequent Army years will no doubt resurrect vivid memories for many from the Vietnam generation.

Riley also shares his unique experience in Delaware politics, sports and corporate life, including inside stories involving governors, athletes, coaches, and the leaders of some of Delaware's most prominent companies. Notably, Riley provides a detailed eyewitness account of the unraveling of a ninety year old chemical company ravaged by bad business decisions and under assault by an infamous corporate raider.

With over 400 local names, many prominent and influential, you might first find yourself drawn to the index to see what John said about people you know.

Paperback / 312 pages / color. Also available in ebook format.


"From government to business, to sports and community service, John has not only been “in the room” for a lot of Delaware history over the past 50 years, he’s made sure that ‘the Delaware Way’ – characterized by communication, collaboration and civility– has been there, too."

Thomas R. Carper
US Senator

"An inspiring personal story that captures history, shares emotional experiences and behind the scene details of corporate giants vital to Delaware. You will experience a whole range of emotions and wonder how he did all of it in one lifetime!"

Cheryl Corn
COO, Delaware State Chamber of Commerce

"John brings his writing and extraordinary story telling skills to his own Delaware experience. From early days on the streets of Wilmington to years in the corridors of power, Delaware Eyewitness is a fascinating read!"

Kevin Reilly
Former Philadelphia Eagle
and Author, Tackling Life


John Riley retired in 2016 after leading government relations for two global corporations. He has also served in various economic development roles including interim CEO of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership. He has been a contributor to Town Square Delaware and other publications since 2012 and in 2017 joined former Philadelphia Eagle Kevin Reilly as co-author of his book, Tackling Life. John is an Army veteran and continues to be active in veterans’ affairs. As a board member and past chairman of Easterseals Delmarva, he has been a leader on disability issues for two decades. John and his wife, Sharon, live in Wilmington. They have three children and seven grandchildren.