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

by Denise Kiernan | History |
ISBN: 1451617534 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingResQgeekwing of Alexandria, Virginia USA on 10/11/2015
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingResQgeekwing from Alexandria, Virginia USA on Sunday, October 11, 2015
Taken from a local Little Free Library to read.

Journal Entry 2 by wingResQgeekwing at Alexandria, Virginia USA on Sunday, July 9, 2017
I have always felt that there hasn't been enough written about the home front war effort of World War Ii, which involved a huge mobilization of the civilian population towards production of war materiel. With so many young men in uniform, fighting the war, World War II saw a huge increase in the number of women who found work in positions that had traditionally been reserved for men. This book tells the story of a few of them, women who found work in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, working in secret factories, to create something they were allowed to know nothing about, in the hope that it might bring a quicker end to the war.

This book really tells a number of stories. In part it is a history of the Manhattan Project, the effort to harness the power of the atom in the form of a weapon. It is also a history of the secret community that was created in rural Tennessee to support the Project, as well as a series of profiles of some of the women who found work here.

Told with great sympathy, this book highlights the struggles of those who moved to Oak Ridge for work, and found themselves in a primitive settlement that was still being built, unable to talk about their work, not with those outside the Reservation or even amongst themselves. It wasn't an easy place to live and work, but they found a ways to persevere.

Today it seems easy to second guess the decisions that led to the creation and use of the first atomic weapons. But as this book takes pains to show, these decisions were far from clear-cut at the time, and even those who were involved in the Project struggled to reconcile them.

For anyone who wants some insight into what life on the home front was like during WWII, or who is interested in a more detailed look at the efforts that went into making the Manhattan project a success, this book is a good resource. My only quibble with it is the author's insistence on using the code words "tubealloy" and "49" for uranium and plutonium throughout the book. While this does provide some level of authenticity to the account, since these were the terms the employees of the Project used, I found it annoying to constantly have to translate the terms, since the use of uranium and plutonium in these devices is now a well-known fact, rather than a top military secret. Otherwise, this is a well-written and very readable account of this portion of the war effort.

Journal Entry 3 by wing6of8wing at -- Mail or by hand-rings, RABCK, meetings, etc, Virginia USA on Saturday, July 15, 2017
I swore I would not bring home any more of ResQgeek's books from meet up because half of Mt TBR came from him, I swear. But he reads the coolest books and everyone else passed it by. I have been wanting to read this since I heard something about it on NPR.

Journal Entry 4 by wing6of8wing at Silver Spring, Maryland USA on Saturday, October 14, 2023
This was a really in depth look at the hidden stories of women working in difficult circumstances to save the world. I have very ambivalent feelings about the atomic bomb. Its use was dreadful and tterribleand did not do much to improve the nature of humanity. I understand the position of those who maintain it saved countless lives by ending the war and convincing Japan to surrender (given their response to Hiroshima it is arguable that Nagasaki is what convinced them). I also understand that if the Nazis (or the Japanese) had developed the technology first they would not have hesitated to use it. It is the continued "testing"/Saber rattling by detonating other weapons on the isles of the Pacific that is most repugnant.

This is a story of how different marginalized people contributed to their country while never losing their status as outsiders. The inhumane treatment of the African American employees in Oak Ridge is disgusting. The use of a car accident victim as a human guinea pig by scientists and medical personnel turns my stomach. The hard work done by women of every background for lower pay, with lower respect and fewer rights, which was taken for granted and the expectations of putting it aside for marriage and children is sad -- but it still occurs regularly in society.

The book left me conflicted but glad to have read it.

Journal Entry 5 by wing6of8wing at Waiheke Island, Auckland Province New Zealand on Saturday, October 14, 2023

Released 6 mos ago (10/14/2023 UTC) at Waiheke Island, Auckland Province New Zealand


Taking the opportunity to share this book while attending the Waiheke Island Uncon.

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Journal Entry 6 by discoverylover at Waiheke Island, Auckland Province New Zealand on Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Picked up at the Waiheke Island unconvention. Thanks 6of8!

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