December Book Review: The Girls of Atomic City
Back in November when we visited the American Museum of Science & Energy I stopped in the gift shop and picked up a book. I’ve always been one for a good historical biography and this book was no exception! The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan is about the women who worked on the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It was only fitting that I picked this book up in Oak Ridge after touring the museum. The history alone in this book is incredible! Here are a few of my favorite highlights.
Women were heavily involved in The Manhattan Project
Young women from across the country where hired on by the Project as administrators, secretaries and even scientists. Their involvement in the Project helped the United States win the war against Japan. In a time when women were mostly stay-at-home wives and mothers the young women who opted to work for the Project paved way for a society of working women today. I really admired their dedication despite the secrecy and hard hours. These women helped in the fight for freedom in our country.
Uranium was a no-no word.
One of my favorite parts for this book was that the author hardly ever mentioned Uranium. In accordance with the secrecy of the project, Uranium was refereed to as Tubealloy in the story. It kept with the theme of secrecy and the tone that echoed throughout Oak Ridge: What you see here, what you do here, when you leave here, let it stay here. I couldn’t imagine being a part of something so secretive. With my big mouth I would’ve probably gotten kicked out of Oak Ridge!
History is at the forefront.
Denise did an excellent job with keeping the history of the Project at the forefront of this book. While she references each girl’s unique back story and involvement, she also includes the historical milestones of the Project throughout. I felt suspense when the author wrote about President Truman’s decision to go through with dropping the gadget on Japan. I cannot imagine what it must have felt like. This book does a great job of preserving the history of not only America but the small town of Oak Ridge which isn’t as heavily populated as it once was. The town is relatively quite now. My memories from our trip to Tennessee helped while reading this book as I could picture the places quite easily.