The girls of Atomic City : the untold story of the women who helped win World War II

by Kiernan, Denise,

Format: Print Book 2013.
Availability: Available at 17 Libraries 17 of 26 copies
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Andrew Carnegie Free Library Nonfiction 940.53 KIERNA
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Brentwood Library Nonfiction 940.53 Kiernan
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CLP - Brookline Non-Fiction Collection F444.O3 K54 2013bx
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Shaler North Hills Library Non-Fiction 940.53082 K
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South Park Library Nonfiction 940.53 KIE
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Summary
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.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Atomic-bomb history includes works about the communities of workers attached to the main installations where the first nuclear weapon was built. Kiernan's contribution covers Oak Ridge, Tennessee, site of enormous factories built to separate uranium isotopes. A type of oral history, Kiernan's account derives from her intensive interviews with 10 women who, in their youth, labored in a range of occupations at Oak Ridge, from janitor to machine operator to secretary to engineer. With surrounding scaffolding of the scientific fundamentals and the 1942-45 technical development of the bomb, the narrative runs as a collection of individuals' life stories that recall circumstances of recruitment and the spartan conditions at Oak Ridge, on and off the job. Some commonalities of experience include the secrecy in which the women worked and the discrimination they endured (racial segregation in the case of the janitor; sexism in the cases of white women workers). Kiernan snugly fits original research into the creation story of Oak Ridge and should engage readers interested in both women's history and the background of the atomic bomb.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "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... [and] 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. Agent: Yfat Reiss Gendell, Foundry Literary + Media. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Women employees -- Tennessee -- Oak Ridge -- History -- 20th century.
Women -- Tennessee -- Oak Ridge -- Interviews.
Uranium enrichment -- History -- 20th century.
Official secrets -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Women -- Tennessee -- Oak Ridge.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Tennessee -- Oak Ridge.
Oak Ridge (Tenn.) -- History -- 20th century.
Oak Ridge (Tenn.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Oak Ridge (Tenn.) -- Biography.
Publisher New York, NY :Simon & Schuster,2013.
Edition 1st Touchstone hardcover ed.
Language English
Notes "A Touchstone Book."
Description xvii, 373 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 317-347) and index.
ISBN 9781451617528
1451617526
9781451617535
1451617534
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