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The Girls of Atomic City

The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

Denise Kiernan

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC C ITY

AT THE HEIGHT OF WORLD WAR II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians—many of them young women from small towns across the South—were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war—when Oak Ridge’s secret was revealed.

Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it—women who are now in their eighties and nineties— The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity. Denise Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage. Combining the grand-scale human drama of The Worst Hard Time with the intimate biography and often troubling science of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Girls of Atomic City is a lasting and important addition to our country’s history.

Publishers Weekly Review

Nov 26, 2012 – During WWII, Oak Ridge, Tenn., was one unlikely epicenter of the Manhattan Project, the top secret program that produced the atomic bomb. Selected in 1942 for its remoteness, the area, "a big war site" hiring at top dollar, immediately boomed; from across the U.S., tens of thousands of workers streamed in—many of them women looking to broaden their horizons and fatten their purses. Fully integrated into the system, women worked every job, from courier to chemist. They found an "instant community" with "no history," but also "a secret city... a project whose objective was largely kept from them." Living conditions were Spartan—urine samples and guards were intrusive constants—but the women lived their lives. Kiernan's (Signing Their Lives Away) interviewees describe falling in love and smuggling in liquor in tampon boxes. But like everyone else, those lives were disrupted by news of Hiroshima. "Now you know what we've been doing all this time," said one of the scientists. Many moved on; others stayed—Atomic City had become home. But for the women of Oak Ridge, "a strange mix of... pride and guilt and joy and shame" endured. This intimate and revealing glimpse into one of the most important scientific developments in history will appeal to a broad audience. 16-page b&w insert.

Customer Reviews

Engaging history book!

This story was a part of WWII history that's never been featured in a film nor figured predominantly in history textbooks. It was very interesting to read as the author gave character (not fictionalized) to the voices of those she wrote about. I even learned some things I never knew before about the war generally & the U.S.'s ethics. It was fascinating that we essentially treated our people the same way that the people we were fighting treated their citizens, & no one questioned it.
Highly recommend this book!

Really good book

Having been to Oak Ridge many times since 1989 and working in radiation safety, I thoroughly enjoyed this book...many thanks to the fine ladies who toiled and helped win the war, my hat's off to you...great research and I learned a thing or two, good job!

The Girls of Atomic City
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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Mar 05, 2013
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 400 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings