The Atomic City Girls
In the bestselling tradition of Hidden Figures and The Wives of Los Alamos, comes a riveting novel of the everyday women who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.

The Atomic City Girls Details

TitleThe Atomic City Girls
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherWilliam Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN-139780062666710
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II, Novels, Adult, Womens, Audiobook, Literature, 20th Century

The Atomic City Girls Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars rounded up.The title of this novel is a misnomer in some ways. It’s not just about the the women who worked for the Manhattan Project, called for purposes of security Clinton Engineering Works, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the 1940’s. It was about men as well, about what the everyday life was like at this place where they live and work on something secretive , a question of national security, they are told. Of course, there are people here who know exactly what is happening here and they 3.5 stars rounded up.The title of this novel is a misnomer in some ways. It’s not just about the the women who worked for the Manhattan Project, called for purposes of security Clinton Engineering Works, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the 1940’s. It was about men as well, about what the everyday life was like at this place where they live and work on something secretive , a question of national security, they are told. Of course, there are people here who know exactly what is happening here and they are instructed that they must not discuss their work with anyone, never say the word “bomb”, but of course, they do.The book follows in alternating chapters four people who are employed here and their individual stories as well as how their lives intersect to form the narrative of the story. In 1944, eighteen year old June, brought up on a farm not far from Oak Ridge takes a job there. She is naive and unaware of what her job her job watching dials and adjusting meters really is all about. That is until she begins a relationship with Sam Cantor, a physicist, a Jew, whose relatives in Germany have been impacted by the war in unimaginable ways. Sam was the most interesting character for me, fighting his personal demons and ambivalence over his work, providing the thought provoking questions about the merits of the atom bomb. Joe, a black laborer takes a job here, leaving his wife and three children behind in order to support them. His story and that of the younger Ralph, illustrate the inequities, the racism that black people were subjected to here as well as in the larger society. Cici, June’s roommate is a shallow, self centered girl whose main reason for being there is to look for a man with money, tries to reinvent herself from the sharecropper’s daughter she grew up as. Way too much time was spent on Cici’s dating life . How these four people connect is how we learn about the day to day life in Oak Ridge.This has a realistic feel to it with black and white photographs interspersed throughout. I was disappointed that the advance copy I read did not include the listed “P.S. Insights, Interviews & More “ which I had hoped would shed some light on the research process. I assume the final published version of the book will include these. A realistic feel, but I want to know more about how real the depiction is so I’m going to read the non fiction book, with a strikingly almost identical title The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II. By the way , the Epilogue is fantastic. I received an advanced copy of this book from William Morrow/HarperCollins through Edelweiss.
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    To be reviewed over at Fresh Fiction!
  • The Library Lady
    January 1, 1970
    Clearly neither the author nor her editors have read The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II, a non-fiction version of the story here that reads like a novel itself. If they had, they wouldn't have published this cardboard character filled version of history.And if you've already spent time reading this, (and if you haven't, don't waste your time on it), read that one. The true women (and men) of Oak Ridge have an astonishing story to tell, and the aut Clearly neither the author nor her editors have read The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II, a non-fiction version of the story here that reads like a novel itself. If they had, they wouldn't have published this cardboard character filled version of history.And if you've already spent time reading this, (and if you haven't, don't waste your time on it), read that one. The true women (and men) of Oak Ridge have an astonishing story to tell, and the author of that book told it beautifully.
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    imageWOW! Janet Beard, Author of “The Atomic City Girls” manages to write an intriguing and captivating novel. The Genres for this novel and Historical Fiction and Fiction. The timeline for this story is the 1940’s. The story revolves around the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. A town is set up with segregated homes, and amenities for the residents working in Oak Ridge. Everything is secretive, and the workers sign confidentiality agreements. Many of the workers are not aware that they imageWOW! Janet Beard, Author of “The Atomic City Girls” manages to write an intriguing and captivating novel. The Genres for this novel and Historical Fiction and Fiction. The timeline for this story is the 1940’s. The story revolves around the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. A town is set up with segregated homes, and amenities for the residents working in Oak Ridge. Everything is secretive, and the workers sign confidentiality agreements. Many of the workers are not aware that they are working together to create an atomic bomb. Young women monitor dials on a machine and have no idea why.The author describes her characters as complex and complicated. Most of the workers come here to make money. My favorite character is June Walker, an 18-year-old working her first job. She works hard and seems to be very laid back and quiet and I love that she shows growth in her character. She rooms with a manipulative roommate, Cici, who enjoys going to dances . June meets Sam Cantor, a Jewish top scientist who knows exactly what is going on with the atom bomb. Many members of Sam’s family were killed in Germany. Other scientists at the top are aware and have different feelings about making this bomb, and yet they can’t discuss it.I appreciate that the author weaves several stories within the novel, and several of the characters become involved in different ways. This is a time period in history that is hugely ignored and I was amazed to see what is happening, and how the “Atomic Age” started. I would highly recommend this novel to readers of Historical Fiction. I received an Advanced Reading Copy for my honest review.
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  • Katelyn
    January 1, 1970
    A neat, fictional peak into the lives of some of the women and men who worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during WWII, helping create an atomic bomb (most unknowingly). June is a local girl working her first job monitoring and turning dials all day. Joe is an African American man living in a shack away from his family and working on a construction crew to send money home. Joe's friend Ralph is fighting for racial justice and better working and living conditions. Sam is a scientist and former profess A neat, fictional peak into the lives of some of the women and men who worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during WWII, helping create an atomic bomb (most unknowingly). June is a local girl working her first job monitoring and turning dials all day. Joe is an African American man living in a shack away from his family and working on a construction crew to send money home. Joe's friend Ralph is fighting for racial justice and better working and living conditions. Sam is a scientist and former professor who is figuring out how to make the plant work. And June's roommate Cici is methodically looking for a rich husband while hiding her roots as a sharecropper's daughter.Oak Ridge quickly becomes a city in its own right. People live, work, eat and get their entertainment in Oak Ridge. I found it fascinating to think of how these people lived and I quickly gobbled up this book. An accessible, fictional account of the "Atomic City".
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  • Kerith
    January 1, 1970
    Good traveling reading on an interesting and difficult subject but overall I was disappointed. The author focused on too many characters so that none of them was really fleshed out. The title referred to the girls in the story, but two of the points of view were men. They didn't live for me, they were cardboard. Some big occurrences happened offstage, like what happened with Ralph. It just didn't hang together. I'd have appreciated more of the historical side, much more discussion of the ethics Good traveling reading on an interesting and difficult subject but overall I was disappointed. The author focused on too many characters so that none of them was really fleshed out. The title referred to the girls in the story, but two of the points of view were men. They didn't live for me, they were cardboard. Some big occurrences happened offstage, like what happened with Ralph. It just didn't hang together. I'd have appreciated more of the historical side, much more discussion of the ethics of what was going on at Oak Ridge, rather than the romantic stuff. The only relationship that rang true was that of Joe and Moriah.I received my copy through a Goodreads giveaway.
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  • Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
    January 1, 1970
    I worked at a National Laboratory for 15 years. My father worked there for 32. We were in California, but I had contacts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. I am familiar with security clearances and secrecy. I am aware of much of the history of the Labs and which ones did what work.National laboratories are like their own little cities and I loved this inside look at the beginnings of Oak Ridge. The girls who were hired to operate machines, but who had no idea why or what those machines did. The I worked at a National Laboratory for 15 years. My father worked there for 32. We were in California, but I had contacts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. I am familiar with security clearances and secrecy. I am aware of much of the history of the Labs and which ones did what work.National laboratories are like their own little cities and I loved this inside look at the beginnings of Oak Ridge. The girls who were hired to operate machines, but who had no idea why or what those machines did. The scientists working so hard to create something that was destructive yet deemed necessary. The workers who built and cleaned and were simply grateful for employment, but who chafed at mistreatment, simply because of their skin color.Stories about strong women are my favorites and The Atomic City Girls did not disappoint. June is fantastic: young and a bit naive, but strong when she needs to be. As she learned more about what Oak Ridge was really doing, those parts became my favorites. Seeing her learn and understand the science and the purpose of the machine in regards to uranium, was so refreshing. I enjoyed seeing names dropped that I am familiar with: Lawrence and Teller and Oppenheimer.The novel revolves around several people whose lives all end up intertwined. June needs a job and enjoys the social life that comes with it; Sam is a scientist who wants to help end the war. Joe just wants to provide for his family and avoid drawing undue attention to himself.One of the things I appreciated most about this story is the conflict. Some who helped create the atomic bomb, were happy to see it used. Others understood that many innocents would die and lives destroyed because of it. Not everything is black and white, especially during war.An enthralling story with historical photos, an epilogue and author's note.
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  • Jen Naughton
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe it's all this holiday multitasking, but I started this book confused. First, I thought it was YA. (there are a couple of sex scenes so it might be ok for an older high school student- but it's solidly adult nonfiction. Also, from the title I expected the story to focus on the women that worked at Oakridge, and this was more of an overall look into life there, including two men. It's an excellent overview of part of the war effort that was a secret for a long time- it just has a lousy title Maybe it's all this holiday multitasking, but I started this book confused. First, I thought it was YA. (there are a couple of sex scenes so it might be ok for an older high school student- but it's solidly adult nonfiction. Also, from the title I expected the story to focus on the women that worked at Oakridge, and this was more of an overall look into life there, including two men. It's an excellent overview of part of the war effort that was a secret for a long time- it just has a lousy title. The United States is in a race to construct the atomic bomb. In the process, a city is created that doesn't exist, and women have an opportunity to earn money. Race and discrimination limit opportunities for minorities and their stories are told too. Overall, an interesting look into the life of the town that started from nothing. I do wonder how much of the afterward is from interviews? Overall I liked it.Verdict- borrow
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  • Bridgett Brown
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.The government begin acquiring the land on which Oak Ridge, Tennessee was built in the 1940's. The story is told by several different types of people who lived and worked there. These people, black and white, were helping to build the atomic bomb. Almost all of the folks employed at Oak Ridge had no idea what they were actually working on, and security was very tight. There are quite a few old photos of the site included. June is a local girl working her f I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.The government begin acquiring the land on which Oak Ridge, Tennessee was built in the 1940's. The story is told by several different types of people who lived and worked there. These people, black and white, were helping to build the atomic bomb. Almost all of the folks employed at Oak Ridge had no idea what they were actually working on, and security was very tight. There are quite a few old photos of the site included. June is a local girl working her first job monitoring and turning dials all day. Joe is an African American man living in a shack away from his family and working on a construction crew to send money home. Joe's friend Ralph is fighting for racial justice and better working and living conditions. Sam is a scientist and former professor who is figuring out how to make the plant work. And June's roommate Cici is methodically looking for a rich husband while hiding her roots as a sharecropper's daughter.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    A Goodreads win!
  • Thelma Fountain
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book in a librarything giveaway. I really enjoyed this story! I loved the main character June. I do have to confess that I had family members who worked at Oak Ridge during the war and after. The story was so intriguing to me partially because of that fact. Oak Ridge Tennessee is much different now than it was during the war and it was so interesting to me to read about all the secrecy. I was unaware that the city was built by the Army specifically for the project. My mother's fa I received this book in a librarything giveaway. I really enjoyed this story! I loved the main character June. I do have to confess that I had family members who worked at Oak Ridge during the war and after. The story was so intriguing to me partially because of that fact. Oak Ridge Tennessee is much different now than it was during the war and it was so interesting to me to read about all the secrecy. I was unaware that the city was built by the Army specifically for the project. My mother's family lived near Norris Lake I loved that this book mentioned picnics at the lake. This book was just special to me. I also learned quite a bit about the process of enriching Uranium.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, via LibraryThing, in exchange for an honest opinion. I appreciate the fact that the author set a book in Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project. I am fascinated by atomic history, and there hasn't been a lot of fiction set in Oak Ridge. I do feel like the book tries to be too much like the non-fiction Girls of Atomic City. Even the title was just a bit too on the nose, even if there were really only two main characters that could be called I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, via LibraryThing, in exchange for an honest opinion. I appreciate the fact that the author set a book in Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project. I am fascinated by atomic history, and there hasn't been a lot of fiction set in Oak Ridge. I do feel like the book tries to be too much like the non-fiction Girls of Atomic City. Even the title was just a bit too on the nose, even if there were really only two main characters that could be called girls. None of the characters really developed past one dimensional caricatures. This novel seems like fluff, and not even good fluff. Even though I did finish it, I don't think I'll be recommending it. I do appreciate the inclusion of many photos taken at Oak Ridge during the war. For those interested, the Department of Energy has a large collection of photos on Flickr from Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project.
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  • thewanderingjew
    January 1, 1970
    The Atomic City Girls, Janet Beard, author.I thought I was actually going to be reading the non fiction book called “The Girls of Atomic City”, so my bad, since that one is non-fiction and this one is fiction. Still, I thought there would be more history in this novel. Instead, it seemed to morph into a good beach read that was basically about various romantic relationships.Four different kinds of characters were featured. One was June. She graduated from high school and went to work in Oak Ridg The Atomic City Girls, Janet Beard, author.I thought I was actually going to be reading the non fiction book called “The Girls of Atomic City”, so my bad, since that one is non-fiction and this one is fiction. Still, I thought there would be more history in this novel. Instead, it seemed to morph into a good beach read that was basically about various romantic relationships.Four different kinds of characters were featured. One was June. She graduated from high school and went to work in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where scientists were secretly experimenting with Uranium to develop a bomb to end World War II, and all wars, they hoped. Her family’s land had been confiscated for the project. She was a simple and naïve young woman who had been engaged to someone who died soon after he enlisted. She realized she did not truly love him.Another character was Cici. She was a mean liar and a phony who was like a chameleon. She took on the character and personality of those she wanted to surround herself with and did it well. She pretended to be someone other than who she was and was pretty unscrupulous about it, hurting those who stood in her way or threatened her. She pretended to be of the upper class. She wanted a rich husband, and she wanted to find him at Oak Ridge where men were plentiful.Then there was the young Jewish scientist, Dr. Sam Kanter. He was unconcerned about his appearance and was deeply concerned about the purpose of the project. He was consumed with his worries and was largely unable to relax and enjoy himself. He drank too much and was a bit arrogant, pompous and condescending.The fourth character was Joe, a black construction worker who was subservient in his behavior, by choice and necessity. He was content to be making more money than he ever had but disappointed and lonely because he was not allowed to have his wife and family with him. He missed them, but only white workers were allowed to have family housing. Joe wanted to remain neutral and not make waves, so he stayed out of trouble. As contented as Joe was, Sam was discontented. He was not happy with much at Oak Ridge and made sure to let everyone know. As naïve and kind as June was, Cici was the opposite. Both June and Joe had alter egos, it seems, in those characters, and the author used the contrast in her storyline.The author did a fine job of placing the reader into the time and place of the community of Oak Ridge. It felt authentic. Also, the racial conflicts of those times were definitely emphasized as the difference between the salary, lifestyles, food, accommodations, civil rights and social scenes were described and were alarming and unfair. They were all working to end the war, but some were far more equal than others and the racial divide was difficult to stomach. The characters seemed a bit like caricatures of real people. June was an uneducated hayseed who loved her family. She had undiscovered talent and absorbed information like a sponge. Cici was a femme fatale who could play any part she wished, even though she was without a pedigree and without a family she cared about. She was hiding her past from everyone and never seemed to recognize her own faults, but rather embraced them. Sam was self-centered, a know it all who thought he was better than everyone else. Perhaps his redeeming feature was that he seemed to be the only one with a conscience about the war’s ultimate carnage. I thought he would want revenge because his family was being wiped out by Hitler, but he seemed to place himself above it all. Joe was the only one who seemed content with his job and his family. He had so little, that what he was able to get at Oak Ridge was a boon for him. He was happy with the lifestyle he had achieved for himself and grateful for the money he was able to send back to his wife and kids to improve their lives.Some of the dialog was far fetched and overly dramatic. It was also a bit confusing at times, for me, since I thought it was odd that the Jewish character did not want to end the war, as much as everyone else, by any means possible. I guess I also wondered why the author chose Sam to be the malcontent. The hayseed, June, became a well educated character in later life and married a very educated man. The sneaky femme fatale found her rich husband and succeeded with all of her manipulative efforts and was satisfied with her life, even when it didn’t turn out exactly as planned. Joe was the only one who was not really able to move on and improve any part of his life. He had far less opportunity and choice. All of the characters, though, seemed to be a bit contrived to prove some point that escaped me.In the end, however, the writing style was simple and easy to follow. It was straight forward. The setting was authentic, the racial divide and lifestyles of the characters were contrasted well and the author tied up all the loose ends neatly, although it seemed to end a bit abruptly as the characters lives into the future were described in only a few pages.
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  • Kathleen (Kat) Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Can you imagine a story based on historical facts that takes small town city girls and gets them to work in a secret city in Oak Ridge, Tennessee? All the girls know is that it is a job, will help them earn a living while the men are serving overseas in the war, and that they are helping their own country. They are required to sign documents that states they are not allowed to share anything that goes on within the Oak Ridge city limits and to do so might just get you jail time, a hefty fine, lo Can you imagine a story based on historical facts that takes small town city girls and gets them to work in a secret city in Oak Ridge, Tennessee? All the girls know is that it is a job, will help them earn a living while the men are serving overseas in the war, and that they are helping their own country. They are required to sign documents that states they are not allowed to share anything that goes on within the Oak Ridge city limits and to do so might just get you jail time, a hefty fine, loss of your employment or all three. The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard is the novel that takes place in November of 1944 when a young 18-year old girl, June Walker begins what will be a defining moment in her career working in someplace she can't even talk about or write about. She struggles to understand her own role in things, when she marries a man she doesn't love only to have him killed in the war. Now she faces coming to terms with her widowhood at such a young age, while other girls around her are more than happy to benefit from the movies, dances and social activities that abound after they leave their monotonous jobs. All she does with every other girl is work in a cubicle all day watching dials, and when they deviate from their norms, she dials them back in. She questions what this might all be, but she knows she also can't afford to lose her job by talking about it either. Spies are literally everywhere who would be all too happy to report anyone from breaking any of the strike employment guidelines they were all required to sign upon their first day of work. It appears there is more than meets the eye where she works and one day, a young girl makes the mistake of wearing hair pins to work only to have them ripped violently from her head. What does this secret city have to do with magnets and the war effort? You'll have to read this novel for more inside information. I received The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. What I LOVED about this novel is all the historical photos that a placed throughout the novel, from the elaborate signs being placed all over the city, to the plain boring work stalls each girl had to work in. How they managed not to go crazy from boredom is beyond me, but at a time where each was assured they were all helping the war effort, things begin to change once the first of two bombs fell on Japan and soon enough things began to be discovered and wondered how dangerous were their jobs if this was the result. I easily give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    The Atomic City Girls is a very well-written and intriguing story about the lives and secrets of those who lived and worked in the Secret City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee during WWII. The title, I think, is a little misleading. I expected the novel to focus on June and her sister or on June and her roommate. Although the story does focus on 18-year-old June Walker and follows her roommate Cici, there is almost equal coverage from the viewpoints of Sam Cantor and of Joe Brewer. Nevertheless, the char The Atomic City Girls is a very well-written and intriguing story about the lives and secrets of those who lived and worked in the Secret City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee during WWII. The title, I think, is a little misleading. I expected the novel to focus on June and her sister or on June and her roommate. Although the story does focus on 18-year-old June Walker and follows her roommate Cici, there is almost equal coverage from the viewpoints of Sam Cantor and of Joe Brewer. Nevertheless, the characters--with all their own secrets, doubts, and prejudices--are sympathetic , except for Otis and maybe Cici. Besides revealing much about the inner workings and living conditions of Oak Ridge, including b&w photos from the archives of the Department of Energy, The Atomic Girls reveals the coming of age of young June Walker, who shows growth in maturity and admirable strength of character--shouldering full blame and consequences, shielding two very different men. The epilogue provides satisfactory resolutions for the main characters. This novel is an enjoyable, informative read, and I'm glad to have received an uncorrected proof from Library Thing's Early Reviewers list.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    It was interesting to read this book because I knew little, okay nothing, about Oak Ridge, Tennessee and the building of the atomic bomb. And although it is fiction, it is interspersed with actual photographs of the people and activities that took place there. The “girls” of atomic city were from all over the country and usually fresh out of high school. They took the jobs because they were good pay in hard times, but the jobs were boring and top secret. Imagine leaving home for the first time a It was interesting to read this book because I knew little, okay nothing, about Oak Ridge, Tennessee and the building of the atomic bomb. And although it is fiction, it is interspersed with actual photographs of the people and activities that took place there. The “girls” of atomic city were from all over the country and usually fresh out of high school. They took the jobs because they were good pay in hard times, but the jobs were boring and top secret. Imagine leaving home for the first time and not being able to talk to anyone about what you did. I think the plot of the book could have used a little more work. It seems like the characters needed a little more depth or something. I enjoyed it, but I liked the last part of the book the best, and I really enjoyed reading the epilogue to find out what happened to the characters.I received this book from Library Thing in exchange for a review.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    While the title is definitely misleading, this is a fairly well done light fictionalized treatment of the support staff at Oak Ridge during WWII. Beard has woven the stories of four people- two women (not girls btw) and two men throughout the novel until their relationships collide at the end. Sam is a physicist, Joe a laborer/janitor, and Cici and June start off turning dials until June becomes a secretary. Only Sam is supposed to know what's happening at Oak Ridge. I can't imagine sitting on a While the title is definitely misleading, this is a fairly well done light fictionalized treatment of the support staff at Oak Ridge during WWII. Beard has woven the stories of four people- two women (not girls btw) and two men throughout the novel until their relationships collide at the end. Sam is a physicist, Joe a laborer/janitor, and Cici and June start off turning dials until June becomes a secretary. Only Sam is supposed to know what's happening at Oak Ridge. I can't imagine sitting on a stool all day long watching dials as Cici and June did. Geez. Each of the characters has something to attach to but June is probably the best fleshed out. I appreciated the insight into how the African American workers were treated. I liked the epilogue, as it helped round out the stories of these four people. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. This is for fans of historical fiction.
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  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this. It was a glimpse of a part of WWII that, although the subject of several recent books and movies, I knew very little about. The book was about much more than just the experiences of the girls in Oak Ridge. June and Cici were young women whose job was to monitor levels and dials on a machine they knew nothing about. Joe and Ralph were African Americans living in substandard conditions but making more money doing construction than they ever could farming in Alabama. Sam was I really enjoyed this. It was a glimpse of a part of WWII that, although the subject of several recent books and movies, I knew very little about. The book was about much more than just the experiences of the girls in Oak Ridge. June and Cici were young women whose job was to monitor levels and dials on a machine they knew nothing about. Joe and Ralph were African Americans living in substandard conditions but making more money doing construction than they ever could farming in Alabama. Sam was a physicist, and one of the few who knew what was really going on. These are just a few of the thousands of people helping to create an atomic bomb and living in a city created solely for that purpose. What was amazing was the level of secrecy - most people there didn't know what was really going on there and how their small part fit into the big picture.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review.Unfortunately, I found this book to be very lacking. First off, its title is extremely misleading and is clearly trying to ride the coattails of Denise Kiernan's earlier nonfiction book covering the same events. Also, there are 4 perspectives and 2 are male--not great for a book allegedly about women. The two women are both heavily reliant on men--Cici is a gold-digger and June has little self-confidence I received this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review.Unfortunately, I found this book to be very lacking. First off, its title is extremely misleading and is clearly trying to ride the coattails of Denise Kiernan's earlier nonfiction book covering the same events. Also, there are 4 perspectives and 2 are male--not great for a book allegedly about women. The two women are both heavily reliant on men--Cici is a gold-digger and June has little self-confidence throughout the book. The two women also hate each other through most of the book. I would have preferred a book showing their friendship or June gaining self-confidence through her own initiative. Sam could have been written out entirely in my opinion.I liked Joe and his storyline though the blurb made it sound like he was going to have a much bigger role. I also would have loved to see Shirley's perspective.Overall, I found this to be a totally average work of historical fiction. I didn't love it or hate it and I didn't find it particularly memorable.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, via LibraryThing, in exchange for an honest opinion. This book is a historical novel based in Oak Ridge Tennessee. In a highly secretive "town" a group of physicists are trying (and ultimately succeed) in developing enriched uranium used in the bomb dropped on Hiroshima Japan. You follow a June & Cici - hired to work dials on large mysterious top secret machines; Joe, a physicist struggling with the ultimate use of the bomb - masking hi I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, via LibraryThing, in exchange for an honest opinion. This book is a historical novel based in Oak Ridge Tennessee. In a highly secretive "town" a group of physicists are trying (and ultimately succeed) in developing enriched uranium used in the bomb dropped on Hiroshima Japan. You follow a June & Cici - hired to work dials on large mysterious top secret machines; Joe, a physicist struggling with the ultimate use of the bomb - masking his unhappiness with alcohol and a variety of other characters. All in all I enjoyed the book - the added pictures courtesy of the Department of Energy enhanced the book very much. The title was a bit misleading, I was anticipating more of the story to surround the women and the part they played - similar to another book by the same name by Denise Kiernan. Hence the 3 stars.
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  • Grace Lerner
    January 1, 1970
    The title is perhaps poorly chosen (is this a play on the nonfiction book titled The Girls of Atomic City? Because honestly it's just confusing to have a fiction novel about the same town called virtually the same thing) as this historical fiction novel delves into the (romantic) lives of both women and men living and working in "Atomic City" aka Oak Ridge, TN. Honestly, I think I would have preferred the nonfiction account because I found a lot of the historical aspects of the novel to be lacki The title is perhaps poorly chosen (is this a play on the nonfiction book titled The Girls of Atomic City? Because honestly it's just confusing to have a fiction novel about the same town called virtually the same thing) as this historical fiction novel delves into the (romantic) lives of both women and men living and working in "Atomic City" aka Oak Ridge, TN. Honestly, I think I would have preferred the nonfiction account because I found a lot of the historical aspects of the novel to be lacking.Many thanks to the Goodreads Giveaways program for the opportunity to read this and explore a "forgotten" part of history before publication! My thoughts are my own and were not influenced by receiving any goods.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book from a contest on Goodreads. I really liked this book. It took me about a day to read. I believe it was based on a true incident, but I'm not really sure as there was no info on this in the book. There were several things I take exception to in the book. For example, the babysitter was paid $1 an hour in the 40's. I babysat in the 60's and the usual rate was 50 cents an hour. Also, they went to the movies a whole lot of times. Back in the 60's, there were no multiplex theaters, s I won this book from a contest on Goodreads. I really liked this book. It took me about a day to read. I believe it was based on a true incident, but I'm not really sure as there was no info on this in the book. There were several things I take exception to in the book. For example, the babysitter was paid $1 an hour in the 40's. I babysat in the 60's and the usual rate was 50 cents an hour. Also, they went to the movies a whole lot of times. Back in the 60's, there were no multiplex theaters, so I don't imagine there were any in the 40's. There would be a double feature with a cartoon and you had to wait weeks for the next movie to come to town. But aside from that, it was a good book.
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  • Pam
    January 1, 1970
    This book follows June, a local girl who works at Oak Ridge during World War II. The best part of the book is describing how Oak Ridge worked at this time and the pictures that are from the Department of Energy from that time. There is a romance and it describes the conditions of the African Americans who were there working construction. The one weak point deals with the romance between June and Sam Cantor, a scientist working there. we don't really get a good sense of what draws the two to each This book follows June, a local girl who works at Oak Ridge during World War II. The best part of the book is describing how Oak Ridge worked at this time and the pictures that are from the Department of Energy from that time. There is a romance and it describes the conditions of the African Americans who were there working construction. The one weak point deals with the romance between June and Sam Cantor, a scientist working there. we don't really get a good sense of what draws the two to each other and then it tells us some of what happens (such as him explaining what they are doing there at Oak Ridge) rather than show us in the story. I received a free copy from Goodreads but my opinions are my own.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this story, which was a fictional account of the lives of some of the people who lived and worked at Oak Ridge creating the atomic bomb (most unknowingly). The characters captured my imagination and were extremely relatable. I also loved all of the real pictures from the actual community. I found it fascinating how the community came together. It was growing extremely fast and most of the workers did not know what they were working on. It was also interesting learning about the security I loved this story, which was a fictional account of the lives of some of the people who lived and worked at Oak Ridge creating the atomic bomb (most unknowingly). The characters captured my imagination and were extremely relatable. I also loved all of the real pictures from the actual community. I found it fascinating how the community came together. It was growing extremely fast and most of the workers did not know what they were working on. It was also interesting learning about the security measures that had to be undertaken during this time. All of this was intertwined with some interesting characters and events. Reader received a complimentary copy from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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  • Jeanne
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you LibraryThing for an advance copy of this book.The Atomic City Girls is the wrong title for this book. Only two of the main characters are women. The men have as great a part in this book and the two women. The fictional part of the story seems a bit routine and predictable, but was is interesting and worth the read is the historical side of this story. The building of this city, the working conditions, the security, and the war are fascinating reading. I do appreciate the inclusion of Thank you LibraryThing for an advance copy of this book.The Atomic City Girls is the wrong title for this book. Only two of the main characters are women. The men have as great a part in this book and the two women. The fictional part of the story seems a bit routine and predictable, but was is interesting and worth the read is the historical side of this story. The building of this city, the working conditions, the security, and the war are fascinating reading. I do appreciate the inclusion of many photos taken at Oak Ridge during the war, but would have appreciated having these pictures labeled as to where and what was happening in the pictures.
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  • Cyndi Moskal
    January 1, 1970
    Great story! I was not aware of any of the specifics behind Hiroshima and how the bomb came to be designed and made. Reading about all these people from different walks of life, coming together for something so secretive and unusual, makes me wonder what I would have done. How much could I ignore if I needed a job and money? Would I have done the work if I'd known what was being built? The characters were good and I liked the flow between their parallel perspectives.The book's summary made it se Great story! I was not aware of any of the specifics behind Hiroshima and how the bomb came to be designed and made. Reading about all these people from different walks of life, coming together for something so secretive and unusual, makes me wonder what I would have done. How much could I ignore if I needed a job and money? Would I have done the work if I'd known what was being built? The characters were good and I liked the flow between their parallel perspectives.The book's summary made it seem like Joe and June's paths converged more significantly than they did so I was anticipating something throughout the story that didn't actually happen.
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  • Wanda
    January 1, 1970
    A fictionalized glimpse into the high-security community of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the project to produce the first atomic bomb brought in people from all over the country and from all walks of life. This mixed history, romance, and ethical issues together into a touching and believable story that was made more so by dozens of vintage photos of the era from the Department of Energy. I especially liked the epilogue with its summarization of the main characters’ lives after they returned to t A fictionalized glimpse into the high-security community of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the project to produce the first atomic bomb brought in people from all over the country and from all walks of life. This mixed history, romance, and ethical issues together into a touching and believable story that was made more so by dozens of vintage photos of the era from the Department of Energy. I especially liked the epilogue with its summarization of the main characters’ lives after they returned to the civilian world even though parts of it were sad in a bittersweet sort of way. My thanks to the publisher and LibraryThing for an early copy of this book to review. 3 1/2 stars.
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  • Adrienne Harris
    January 1, 1970
    I read this novel as my husband and I drove from Texas to Indiana, and it really helped the hours fly by! I appreciated two things in particular: 1. The plot wasn’t predictable—I wasn’t sure how the protagonist’s life would turn out. 2. Although I’m an academic who publishes on Soviet World War II culture, I know much less about what was going on in the United States during the second world war. I appreciated the archival photographs and reading about the everyday life concerns of women who work I read this novel as my husband and I drove from Texas to Indiana, and it really helped the hours fly by! I appreciated two things in particular: 1. The plot wasn’t predictable—I wasn’t sure how the protagonist’s life would turn out. 2. Although I’m an academic who publishes on Soviet World War II culture, I know much less about what was going on in the United States during the second world war. I appreciated the archival photographs and reading about the everyday life concerns of women who worked in labs developing the atomic bomb. I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
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  • Patricia
    January 1, 1970
    THE ATOMIC CITY GIRLS is a quite good historical fiction which begins when the government begin acquiring the land on which Oak Ridge, Tennessee was built in the 1940's. The story is told by several different types of people who lived and worked there. These people, black and white, were helping to build the atomic bomb. Almost all of the folks employed at Oak Ridge had no idea what they were actually working on, and security was very tight. There are quite a few old photos of the site included. THE ATOMIC CITY GIRLS is a quite good historical fiction which begins when the government begin acquiring the land on which Oak Ridge, Tennessee was built in the 1940's. The story is told by several different types of people who lived and worked there. These people, black and white, were helping to build the atomic bomb. Almost all of the folks employed at Oak Ridge had no idea what they were actually working on, and security was very tight. There are quite a few old photos of the site included. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Oak Ridge, and I highly recommend this novel. I received this book for an honest review. My copy is an uncorrected proof; this book will be released February 2018.
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting piece of historical fiction, this novel takes place in the 1940’s, as the effort to create the atomic bomb involved building a small town requiring secrecy. June is a farm girl, not well schooled and fairly innocent, embarking on a life that she could not have Imagined. She meets Sam in Oak Ridge, a scientist working with the physicists to create the bomb. Add Joe Brewer, his experiences as a Black worker in the segregated hutments much different than the living conditions of the An interesting piece of historical fiction, this novel takes place in the 1940’s, as the effort to create the atomic bomb involved building a small town requiring secrecy. June is a farm girl, not well schooled and fairly innocent, embarking on a life that she could not have Imagined. She meets Sam in Oak Ridge, a scientist working with the physicists to create the bomb. Add Joe Brewer, his experiences as a Black worker in the segregated hutments much different than the living conditions of the White workers. I found the characters appealing and the story edifying. Recommended.
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