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

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“The Girls of Atomic City,” tells the story of Oak Ridge, TN, during the Manhattan Project in a way that is unique and gives insight until now hidden.  The author takes an intimate and personal approach to telling this amazing story in Oak Ridge (where 60% of the approximately $2 billion “Project” was spent) using the eyes (and memories) of some of the working ladies who actually did the real work of separating uranium (without knowing it), checking the leaks in pipes (not knowing where the pipes went), keeping the statistical data, doing the hard work of a janitor, a chemist (who got closest to the “product”) and secretaries who saw documents they could never discuss. This approach results in a more realistic telling of the day to day activities in Oak Ridge and the government sites of X-10, Y-12, K-25 and S-50.

The stories of these nine ladies Helen, Colleen, Celia, Toni, Jane, Kattie, Virginia, Dot and Rosemary, each unique, yet each holding much in common, is bound together by the authors wonderfully talented skill as a writer. She paints a composite picture of Oak Ridge and the Manhattan Project that will become a classic in the literature of this extraordinary historical accomplishment that has led to so many technological advances of the Nuclear Age.

This amazing world changing experiment was begun using many women from various backgrounds as workers. The interviews and detailed memories of the lives the author touched while researching this book have produced more than a mere book, she has created lasting relationships with the last of the living who actually experienced something many cannot imagine. They were personally involved in what has been labeled the most significant military industrial scientific breakthrough in the history of the world.

Remember, these nine represent literally thousands of other women who worked just as diligently, just as courageously, to help win that war.  Reading “The Girls of Atomic City” is a delightful and spellbinding tale that were it not true would be fiction of the highest order, but it is real…these women lived it.

The book is a must read…seriously!

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