THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY : THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE WOMEN WHO HELPED WIN WORLD WAR II
by Denise Kiernan
Have you ever heard of Oak Ridge, Tennessee? Most people have not. It's in the Appalachian hills; a secluded area. In 1942, people who owned land here received letters from the War Department telling them that they had to leave because the government wanted their farms. Of course, they would be paid for their properties. The families really didn't have much choice in the matter. After all, by doing this they would be supporting the war. By the end of the year, construction would begin on creating a secret city made from scratch. Over 78,000 people (many of them young women) were recruited from all over the United States.They were promised good pay and solid work. Nobody ever really had a clue as to what was going on and what their jobs meant.They were all kept in the dark and told never to question anything. At the end of the war, the truth was revealed to them.
What a great story. Denise Kiernan interviewed many of the residents who are still living there today (in their 90s). The way the author writes is riveting and she captures all of the nuances of how history played out back then. Everybody wanted the war to end but the people that worked at Oak Ridge were more than happy to contribute and were proud to help out.
A tremendous amount of research went into this book (seven years) but it definitely deserved to be written.