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The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story…

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win…

by Denise Kiernan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,1475810,630 (3.65)74
  1. 00
    Secret City by Julia Watts (lemontwist)
    lemontwist: It's pretty clear that Julia Watts read The Girls of Atomic City before writing Secret City.
  2. 00
    The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages (jillian0128)
  3. 00
    White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages (jillian0128)

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English (57)  Piratical (1)  All languages (58)
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
Detailed look at the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee and the people (focusing on the women) who worked there. Oak Ridge was created during WWII for a top secret government project. What few knew was that the project was to enrich uranium for use in atomic bombs. Some of the residents who excelled in fields that would be valuable to the project were recruited - but told little about what they would be working on. They were simply given a train ticket, collected at the station and then told what they needed to know (and only that) when they arrived. Other women were locals who saw the construction of the site - which was hard to ignore. They could see that something massive was being built, and that something was shipped in but nothing seemed to be shipped out. Curious and in need of work, local women applied and some were selected for work at the top secret complex. No one could tell those on the outside much about what they did. Workers were recruited to spy on one another to make sure no secrets were leaked. They learned to operate mysterious machines or maintain pipes in huge industrial complexes or helped keep the place clean. And in the end, when the bombs were dropped on Japan, they knew what it was all about. This history book was engaging enough, but a little too detailed for me. I felt like I got bogged down in a few parts. The stories about the people were what was most interesting - though I did learn a lot about what it means to enrich uranium. I'd recommend this for those that like detailed histories that focus on one small aspect of a historical event. ( )
  debs4jc | Jul 15, 2018 |
3.5 Loved the personal parts, got a little lost in the work details ( )
  capriciousreader | Mar 20, 2018 |
Excellent. ( )
  l.mcd | Feb 7, 2018 |
I know it was written in a compartmentalized fashion on purpose, but I found that it made it harder to keep up with stories and much harder to really get a feel for the women or their lives there outside of the already stated (so many time) hecticness of it. I felt the descriptions were beautiful, but the science a little too heavy which was kind of jarring when you go from here's how life was the to here's the detailed background of an atomic bomb. I liked both the info and the lifestyle information, but it didn't work in this book to make the story flow at all. If it had been set up differently, or if there was a smoother transition between the stories of the girls, maybe I would like this book more because it certainly was interesting, but to finish a book and not really be able to tell you which girl did what thing... not really great. ( )
  PoesRaven42 | Feb 5, 2018 |
This part of American history stands quintessentially out for the (blind?) events created. The secret mission to create the first atomic bomb for use against Japan. The creating of a city just for workers to live, do their job, and nothing else. Each worker assigned to a coded area to work on one element of the creation of uranium. No one told what they were doing, just shown how to do it. No talking between buildings of what either was doing, no questions asked, no information allowed out, no matter how innocent. Suffocating, but these people felt a duty to end the war and bring their family members back home. Mind boggling how big this government encampment was and how they created it from the remains of a village forced out. Prefab houses, huts and trailers. Dorm rooms and some hostels. The pay was good, so enticing to many who left family behind for the cause. I was shocked at how the government treated the original residents and then the black families that became part of the community, while separated. Fascinating reading. Was not thrilled with the disjointed method of writing it, but I guess with so many stories to tell, it was necessary. A piece of history we all need to know of, especially in these Orwellian times. ( )
  CherylGrimm | Jan 9, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Denise Kiernanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lee-Mui, RuthDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serrano, ErvinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westcott, James EdwardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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(Introduction) There have long been secrets buried deep in the southern Appalachians, covered in layers of shale and coal, lying beneath the ancient hills of the Cumberlands, and lurking in the shadow of the Smokies at the tail end of the mountainous spine that ripples down the East Coast.
That morning, the excitement coursing throughout the complex known as the Castle was infectious.
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They came from all across the US, to a city not found on any map. They were forbidden to talk about their work, even to each other. Racing against the clock to save their country, what they created would change the war-and the world-forever. At the height of WWII, Oak Ridge, TN, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than NYC. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians-many of them young women from small tows across the South-were recruited to work in 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 to work they preformed each day, in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war-whern Oak Ridge'sd 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. Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage. (ARC)
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In this book the author traces the story of the unsung World War II workers in Oak Ridge, Tennessee through interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents. This is the story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history. The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project's secret cities, it did not appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships, and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men. But against this wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work, even the most innocuous details, was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb. Though the young women originally believed they would leave Oak Ridge after the war, many met husbands there, made lifelong friends, and still call the seventy-year-old town home. The reverberations from their work there, work they did not fully understand at the time, are still being felt today.… (more)

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