The Girls of Atomic City

Written by Denise Kiernan
Review by Tamela McCann

With a personal interest in this topic (my grandfather worked at Oak Ridge until his retirement in the mid 1960s), I was eager to read more about the time when the area was home to thousands of workers, none of whom truly knew what they were working on.

Beginning with the government coming into the area and taking over many farms and homes, the author follows the stories of nine young women, all of whom accepted good paying jobs to aid the war effort. As a city literally sprang up almost overnight, these women held various positions throughout their time of employment; we follow them through the end of the war when the tightly kept secret of what they’d been doing could be revealed. Interspersed throughout are some more technical chapters about the endeavor to build the bomb, most of which this reader skipped in order to get to the much more compelling personal stories. Well researched and written, this one is a must for those interested in the stateside activity during World War II.