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

“Complaining was not in fashion in 1943, not with so many sacrifices being made thousands of miles away, across oceans she had never seen.”

“The most ambitious war project in military history rested squarely on the shoulders of tens of thousands of ordinary people, many of them young women.”

“What you see here, What you do here, What you hear here, When you leave here, Let it stay here.”

During World War II, the United States started a massive, secret project. A weapon, a bomb, was being created with technology that was still in the developmental stages. People were needed to test, create, track, study and learn – and then people were needed to support the work of all of those mentioned. “Secret” cities were created. They were so secret that the cities didn’t even know of the others. Jobs were so secret that coworkers sometimes didn’t know what each other did or even what exactly he or she was doing.

Girls of Atomic City goes in-depth of the history of one of these cities – Oak Ridge, Tenn. It was built in 1942, but didn’t appear on maps until 1949. At one point, more than 75,000 people were working there, many of them women. I had read one other book about these cities several months ago, but didn’t like the point of view it was written in (collective we). I wanted to find other books on this topic and was excited to come across this one.

The book explores the lives of several women who worked at Oak Ridge. It brings up several issues people had with a secretive lifestyle. People were recruited to spy on other people. Jobs were quickly lost if the wrong information was talked about. Housing was segregated. Plutonium testing was done on humans without consent.

I found the book interesting, but I was hoping to get to see life through the eyes of women who worked on “the bomb,” not an exploration of the controversies that surround this event in history. I will keep looking for that book (or maybe I need to write it). However, if you have any interest in World War II history, you will find this book fascinating. It is for adults only, though, due to the seriousness of topics covered.

Buy the book here (affiliate link).

About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.