Monday, March 18, 2013

ARC review: The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

I gratefully received an advanced reader's copy of this novel from Net Galley and Touchstone publishing. This novel was published March 5, 2013 and is currently available. 
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 U.S. history.

The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project’s secret cities, it didn’t appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships—and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men!

But against this vibrant wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work—even the most innocuous details—was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb.
This insomniac's opinion:
As you may already know, I have a deep fascination with the time period during and just after the second World War. This nonfiction book was perfect to feed my unending curiosity for the women of that time period. This book was unique in that parts read like a novel and parts read more like an encyclopedia-chock full of information. I very much enjoyed getting to know the women in this book-their bravery was incredibly admirable. The women were recruited to work for the government, and went without knowing what their jobs would be or where they were going. They left their families, their hometown, and even their own young children to help their beloved country to win the war. It was yet another reminder of why we call this generation "the greatest generation." I simply do not believe that our current generation(myself, included) would respond in the same manner.
I do have to say that you would have to really have interest in this time period or particular event in our history to enjoy this book. Parts of the book were very dry and tough to get through. However, if you do have any interest, it is absolutely fascinating!
Worth staying up all night to read?
It took me about a month to get through this book, but it was extremely interesting.
Rating: 3.5 stars

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