Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Girls of Atomic City

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan   373 pp.

During World War II the government managed to pull off the biggest secret ever in the history of the world. Thousands of people divided up in sites all over the U.S. helped to create what was to become the atomic bomb. But only a handful of people working on it even knew what it was they were working on. They only knew it top secret. This book focuses on the work of the women at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Oak Ridge did not exist before WWII began. Is was created to house the workers and plants that were refining the Uranium aka "tube alloy" that would ultimately be used as fuel for the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While some of the women were support staff, working as secretaries, nurses, and cleaners, others worked in the actually processing plants. Most in processing only how to do the small tasks given to them without knowing why or what they were doing. Oak Ridge became the town of temporary housing, roads, and processing plants that rose from the mud of eastern Tennessee. The people there were all sworn to secrecy and constantly watched to prevent the Axis powers from learning what went on there. In spite of the hardships and confinement there was socializing, family life, romances that came and went, marriages, and children born. It's a fascinating story about an important era in U.S. history.

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