The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

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Simon and Schuster, Mar 5, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 373 pages
45 Reviews
The incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in US history.

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.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mouse612 - LibraryThing

Very interesting topic, great interviews and research, unfortunately Kiernan is not a very engaging writer and the book suffers from a clunky and tedious prose style. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - book58lover - LibraryThing

I am writing this review four years after having read the book because I came across it at a library book sale today. I was thrilled to get it. I thought it was a fascinating topic, well written and ... Read full review

Contents

EVERYTHING WILL BE TAKEN CARE
3
September 1942
15
CLINTON ENGINEER WORKS
35
THE PROJECTS
63
SPRING INTO SUMMER 1944
81
The Quest for Product
99
TO WORK
109
The Couriers
131
CURIOSITY AND SILENCE
193
The Projects Crucial Spring
205
Hope and the Haberdasher AprilMay 1945
223
SAND JUMPS IN THE DESERT_ULY 1945
232
THE GADGET REVEALED
249
DAWN OF A THOUSAND SUNS
269
LIFE IN THE NEW AGE
286
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About the author (2013)

Denise Kiernan’s previous book, The Girls of Atomic City, is a New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and NPR bestseller, and was named one of Amazon’s Top 100 Best Books of 2013. Kiernan has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Ms. Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Discover, and many more publications. She has also worked in television, serving as head writer for ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire during its Emmy award–winning first season and producing for media outlets such as ESPN and MSNBC. She has been a featured guest on NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” PBS NewsHour, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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