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

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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  • 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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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Atmospheric, authentic, and immersive!The Atomic City Girls is a fascinating story that sweeps you away to Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the mid-1940s when WWII was raging on the battlefields of Europe, and back home the American government was funding a top-secret project that would triumphantly and tragically have a resounding effect on the entire world for years to come.The prose is captivating and vividly described. The four main characters June, Sam, Cici, and Joe are unique, hardworking, and Atmospheric, authentic, and immersive!The Atomic City Girls is a fascinating story that sweeps you away to Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the mid-1940s when WWII was raging on the battlefields of Europe, and back home the American government was funding a top-secret project that would triumphantly and tragically have a resounding effect on the entire world for years to come.The prose is captivating and vividly described. The four main characters June, Sam, Cici, and Joe are unique, hardworking, and patriotic. And the plot, interspersed with real-life photos, is a compelling story about life, love, friendship, self-discovery, segregation, survival, tragedy, war, romance, uranium enrichment, nuclear weapons, and morality.Overall, The Atomic City Girls is a well-written, exceptionally researched novel that does a remarkable job of highlighting Beard’s incredible knowledge into a period and historical event that is often forgotten or overlooked.Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.All my reviews can be found on my blog at https://whatsbetterthanbooks.com
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    For eighteen-year-old June Walker, the prospect of working at Oak Ridge is a chance to get away from home. She has no idea what she is actually doing at Oak Ridge other than she's helping the war effort. As she starts an affair with a Jewish physicist, Sam Carter, she starts to realize more and more what they are doing there. At the same time, her roommate Cici is trying her hardest to find a rich man and get away from her past life. African- American construction worker Joe Brewer has left his For eighteen-year-old June Walker, the prospect of working at Oak Ridge is a chance to get away from home. She has no idea what she is actually doing at Oak Ridge other than she's helping the war effort. As she starts an affair with a Jewish physicist, Sam Carter, she starts to realize more and more what they are doing there. At the same time, her roommate Cici is trying her hardest to find a rich man and get away from her past life. African- American construction worker Joe Brewer has left his family behind since the job at Oak Ridge pays well, but being away from his family is hard for him. All these people have their own dreams and goals, but life isn't always easy and things can change in a moment.READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!
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  • Sherri Thacker
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this fictional book about how the atomic bomb was made and how secretive the whole thing was. The whole time I read it I felt like I was back in the 40’s and there are little black and white pictures throughout. Beautifully written and I really enjoyed the chapters as well. It’s not my normal genre of books but I’m so glad I read this one.
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  • Lauren Hopkins
    January 1, 1970
    Okay. I found what was going on in this book so super interesting from a historical perspective? But from a reader's perspective I was like...how did this get past an agent let alone probably multiple editors and people with brains who read things? It is SO. UNBEARABLY. DULL. It's written about as interestingly as a cookbook from the 40s and since it's ABOUT the 40s I was like "is this intentional?" lol. It reads like the most basic book ever. There's weirdly very little dialogue or even any int Okay. I found what was going on in this book so super interesting from a historical perspective? But from a reader's perspective I was like...how did this get past an agent let alone probably multiple editors and people with brains who read things? It is SO. UNBEARABLY. DULL. It's written about as interestingly as a cookbook from the 40s and since it's ABOUT the 40s I was like "is this intentional?" lol. It reads like the most basic book ever. There's weirdly very little dialogue or even any interesting moments between characters, all of whom are terribly bland and one-note. There's an 18-year-old fresh-faced "country girl" who is nothing more than that, there's a hilariously stereotypical Brooklyn Jew scientist who is nothing more than that, there's a hard-working family man who left farm life for the first time to come to work at Oak Ridge, the atomic city outside of Knoxville (he's also nothing more than that), and there's a gold-digging country bumpkin who pretends she's fancy because she wants to marry a rich man who is...nothing more than that. So the weak plot is that June moves to Oak Ridge to be one of the "innocent and ignorant" (as she's described multiple times) girls manning the calutrons at this casual uranium plant. She eventually meets one of the scientists, a "dirty Jew" (according to her roommate because #The1940s) scientist from Brooklyn who's 30 and an alcoholic. Sam, the dirty Jew scientist, basically drunkenly assaults June one night and also yells out classified information about how they're building an atomic bomb, and June the dumbass is like "wow...I think I love him!" LITERALLY WHAT. So then they start dating and he's an asshole to her the whole time because he's just so SENSITIVE about this bomb being used to kill tons of people, and she's like nbd, this is normal. The side plot is that her bitch roommate Cici is trash but wants to marry rich so she pretends she's not trash even though everyone else who's not trash knows she's trash, and she ends up being a bitch in the end as well but DON'T WORRY in the epilogue we find out that her marriage ends up being unhappy!!!!! and then the other side plot is JOE the "negro" (again with the 1940s terms) who came up from Alabama to make some money while his family stays at home, though he's kind of pointless aside from one little piece of the "plot" that slightly connects him to June and Sam (I do like that he serves the purpose of informing us about segregated life in Oak Ridge, however). Anyway, something DRAMATIC finally happens with one chapter to go (SPOILER ALERT Cici tells the army that June said the word "bomb" and so the army fires her for clearly knowing every single secret about nuclear weapon production and then Sam's like "well I'm going back to NY, byeeee, have a nice life country farm trash"). That's...it? Like that's this entire book. Here's my impression of how the book is written:"June Walker is a country girl. One day, when she was 18, she got on a bus to Oak Ridge because she got a job at an exciting new place. It was run by the army, but she didn't know what was happening there! She wore her best dress, but she only owned five dresses. She's from the country! She got to Oak Ridge and moved into a dormitory where she met her roommate Cici, who seemed so cosmopolitan. She wore makeup and liked flirting with boys. June had a boyfriend once, her childhood sweetheart who asked her to marry him before he went to war, but she'd never flirt the way Cici did. She's from the country and Cici is from the big city of Nashville!"No joke. It has the literary value of stories I wrote for my teachers in fourth grade. IT'S SO BAD. JUST HOW. Kudos to the author for her Oak Ridge research and explanations because that's the only thing redeeming about this, but it's no great novel. It's touted as "the next Lilac Girls" but Lilac Girls is an actual novel with fleshed out characters and a plot and strong writing. This is more or less a history lesson about Oak Ridge with a poorly written and weak narrative thrown in to make learning history more fun. It's so bad, and there are zero redeeming or even likable characters, though shoutout to Joe for being a good guy from start to finish!!! He loves his family and working hard!
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  • Stephanie Anze
    January 1, 1970
    "What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here."3.5 stars rounded upEighteen-year-old June Walker begins working in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in a facility called Clinton Engineering Works (CEW). Told only that she is helping the war effort, June is tasked with watching and adjusting a machine as are many more young woman like her. In the evenings, the women and men of the facility socialize in the town and June meets Sam Cantor, one of the scientists behind the project. A "What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here."3.5 stars rounded upEighteen-year-old June Walker begins working in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in a facility called Clinton Engineering Works (CEW). Told only that she is helping the war effort, June is tasked with watching and adjusting a machine as are many more young woman like her. In the evenings, the women and men of the facility socialize in the town and June meets Sam Cantor, one of the scientists behind the project. As they get to know each other, June learns about the true nature of her job and its hardly a simple task.Having seen a mix of ratings for this book, I had a certain hesitation when I started reading myself. While this book was not exactly what I expected, I can honestly say I did enjoy reading it. When June arrives to Oak Ridge, its a fairly new town that does not officially exist. Housing the CEW facility, the only ones that live here are people that work here. June is given a fairly simple job of watching and adjusting a machine but told nothing else. She settles into her new life and one evening meets Sam Cantor. Since everything about Oak Ridge is cloaked in secrecy, having a distraction is more than welcome. But as her relationship with Sam advances, tensions build up. I really liked the atmosphere of the book and the range of characters. The title is somewhat misleading as ths narrative is told by female and male characters. The narrative itself, however, was well done and all those other perspectives really helped give a more complete picture. Beard paints a picture where the characters conflicted states of mind tied in perfectly with the current times. The rising of the tensions on a global scale mirrored the rising of tensions for the various personal relationships in the town and that was felt throughout the narrative.As its known now, the Clinton Engineering Works was the Manhattan Project which produced the Atomic Bomb. The machines that the young women at Oak Ridge operated were enriching Uranium that gave the bomb its potency but they did not know that. The Manhattan Project was a collaboration betweeen America, Britian and Canada. About 130,000 people were employed and $2 billion was spent overall. Oak Ridge was created with the sole purpose of making all the elements needed for the bomb but only the higher-ups and scientists knew this. The young women recruited were just told that there were helping in the war effort. I am aware that there is a non-fiction work regarding this subject matter and plan on reading that at a later date. One interesting fact I have learned since reading this book is that radium is created from the decay of the uranium atom (having read 'Radium Girls', this was of particular interest to me). Beard tied the background with the narrative in a smart way.
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  • Onceinabluemoon
    January 1, 1970
    I am an avid library abuser, last night I was number one for nine new releases, never one who wants to hold up the queue I can't wait to dive into the new stuff, loving historical fiction I grabbed this audio book first, after all I was number 29 in line for the kindle version, why wait! Bright and early I had my ears on and out to the garden I went... hmmm, it wasn't grabbing me, oh give it time, the meat of the story is just around the corner... I looked to see I was at 19% and still I was wai I am an avid library abuser, last night I was number one for nine new releases, never one who wants to hold up the queue I can't wait to dive into the new stuff, loving historical fiction I grabbed this audio book first, after all I was number 29 in line for the kindle version, why wait! Bright and early I had my ears on and out to the garden I went... hmmm, it wasn't grabbing me, oh give it time, the meat of the story is just around the corner... I looked to see I was at 19% and still I was waiting. At 60% I returned the audio and washed my hands of it. It felt like nothing but chic lit, I wanted substance, not straw sucking women seeking spouses, I wanted to LEARN. Just not for me, I love non fiction and historical fiction done well, but this was just pure fluff and I found myself angry to be wasting my time on something I didn't like when I have eight more new releases in the wings, something is bound to resonate more to my liking!
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    20/4 - This was only so-so. I think that whoever included the uncaptioned photos made a mistake because in quite a few of them it was unclear what we were looking at (kind of like looking at a now deceased relative's old photos and trying to work out where they were taken and who the people in them are without the relative's input).Of the four main characters only one was sympathetic, but even then I didn't really enjoy reading his chapters because he was a black man working in a very white worl 20/4 - This was only so-so. I think that whoever included the uncaptioned photos made a mistake because in quite a few of them it was unclear what we were looking at (kind of like looking at a now deceased relative's old photos and trying to work out where they were taken and who the people in them are without the relative's input).Of the four main characters only one was sympathetic, but even then I didn't really enjoy reading his chapters because he was a black man working in a very white world and his story made me angry and/or depressed. It was a trial of my patience to read Cici's chapters because of her single-minded desire to climb the social ladder because where she came from wasn't good enough and I was very glad when she disappeared for most of the middle and end of the book, but Sam the drunk and June the boring weren't much better. Reading back on what I've written so far you might be wondering why I've given it two stars, instead of one. The writing was fine and there were no editing errors that I could see (high praise that is) and I try to save my one stars for books that hit the trifecta of bad - writing, plot and characters.I think I would have been better off reading a non-fiction on this topic, because my favourite part of the book was at the beginning when Beard was going into more detail about Oak Ridge and what work the women were unknowingly doing there. If there isn't a non-fiction book on the topic I think I'll see what trusty Wikipedia has to offer.
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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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  • Cathy Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    Finished in one day! And it was a busy day too. That's how amazing this book was. So interesting and I was fully invested in the characters. Loved the real pictures throughout the book, loved the epilogue. I enjoyed the different characters and their stories. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ this will be one of my favorites of 2018! Finished in one day! And it was a busy day too. That's how amazing this book was. So interesting and I was fully invested in the characters. Loved the real pictures throughout the book, loved the epilogue. I enjoyed the different characters and their stories. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ this will be one of my favorites of 2018!
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  • Stephen
    January 1, 1970
    novel based around the researching of the atomic bomb during the second world war
  • Deb
    January 1, 1970
    Since historical fiction, particularly when it is set in the World War II era, is a favorite of mine I was excited to sign up this book tour. I like historical fiction that gives me a unique perspective of the war and I found the setting of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a small town built by the government in order to do research and produce materials and components in order to beat Germany in building an atomic weapon, fascinating. Los Alamos, New Mexico is most well known for The Manhatten Project and Since historical fiction, particularly when it is set in the World War II era, is a favorite of mine I was excited to sign up this book tour. I like historical fiction that gives me a unique perspective of the war and I found the setting of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a small town built by the government in order to do research and produce materials and components in order to beat Germany in building an atomic weapon, fascinating. Los Alamos, New Mexico is most well known for The Manhatten Project and I confess to being unaware of the happenings in Oak Ridge. Equally unaware are the main character of the book, June Walker, and the other hundreds of young women like her who have come to Oak Ridge for the high-paying jobs operating machines that they don't know anything about. They sit for hours every day or night (depending on their shifts) in a booth while watching and monitoring the dials of a machine, but not being able to ask questions about their work or tell anyone what they are doing. In addition to June, the story unfolds from the perspective of three other characters, June's roommate Cici--another machine operator like June, African-American, Joe Brewer--who leaves his wife and young children to do construction work in Oak Ridge, along with his friend, the troubled Ralph, and finally Sam Cantor--a Jewish scientist who is the only one of the four characters who knows what the purpose of Oak Ridge really is. June becomes involved with Sam and gradually learns what is happening. June is a young eighteen, naive but eager to learn and very likable. Joe is another character I rooted for--wincing every time the bigotry and discrimination of the times reared its ugly head in the story. Sam is complicated--I wanted to like him and at times I did, and then there is Cici, solely out for herself in every thought and action. I was immediately caught up in the story of The Atomic City Girls and the book's close to 400 pages flew by. It is clear that Janet Beard did her research for the book and writes in a way that makes dusty, bustling Oak Ridge and the characters living there come to life. I found myself invested in these characters, wanting to know what would happen to them, especially June and Joe. I did want a bit more from the ending because after a lot of detail and build up, things actually wrap up rather quickly--although there is an epilogue that talks about what happens with the four main characters that I appreciated. The Atomic City Girls illuminated a piece of American history that I wasn't aware of and it had me googling Oak Ridge and its role in The Manhattan Project for more information. I was sorry to have the story end and recommend it especially for fans of World War II historical fiction.You can see my review plus a recipe inspired by the book on my blog post here: https://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/2...Note: A review copy of "The Atomic City Girls" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
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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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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    The title of this book should have just been The Atomic City. The word “Girls” in the title led me the reader thinking that the storyline would revolve mostly around women living and working in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. However men characters took up too many chapters and Ralph in particular seemed to be just thrown in to take up space. I did enjoy the story though and actually learned a bit more about the Manhattan project and it’s relevance in history. Close to a 3.5 rating. I won this book from G The title of this book should have just been The Atomic City. The word “Girls” in the title led me the reader thinking that the storyline would revolve mostly around women living and working in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. However men characters took up too many chapters and Ralph in particular seemed to be just thrown in to take up space. I did enjoy the story though and actually learned a bit more about the Manhattan project and it’s relevance in history. Close to a 3.5 rating. I won this book from Goodreads.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I thoroughly enjoyed The Atomic City Girls. This book is a fictional account of true events. Janet Beard provided a glimpse into the then unknown city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Oak Ridge was a city built by the government to work on building the atomic bomb. June is an eighteen year old woman who decides to leave home to work in the top secret city. While there, she meets and falls in love with Sam Cantor, a physicist working on the bomb. I was instantl Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I thoroughly enjoyed The Atomic City Girls. This book is a fictional account of true events. Janet Beard provided a glimpse into the then unknown city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Oak Ridge was a city built by the government to work on building the atomic bomb. June is an eighteen year old woman who decides to leave home to work in the top secret city. While there, she meets and falls in love with Sam Cantor, a physicist working on the bomb. I was instantly pulled into the story and sympathized with June's character. This was a quick read for me and I enjoyed the old pictures of Oak Ridge and the government workers.
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  • Colleen Turner
    January 1, 1970
    When I read the synopsis of The Atomic City Girls I knew I wanted to read it as soon as I could get my hands on it! I've read lots of stories that take place before, during, or directly after WWII, from a variety of angles and perspectives, but surprisingly enough I had not read anything that dealt with Oak Ridge, Tennessee or the secretive work done there. It was a whole new world for me to explore and I went into the reading with very high expectations. I'm happy to say that many, if not all, When I read the synopsis of The Atomic City Girls I knew I wanted to read it as soon as I could get my hands on it! I've read lots of stories that take place before, during, or directly after WWII, from a variety of angles and perspectives, but surprisingly enough I had not read anything that dealt with Oak Ridge, Tennessee or the secretive work done there. It was a whole new world for me to explore and I went into the reading with very high expectations. I'm happy to say that many, if not all, of my expectations were met and by the last page I felt like I had a brand new understanding and appreciation for the work done at home in support of the horrific fighting happening abroad. Right from the start I was awed by the well-rounded approach author Janet Beard presented for the reader. Oak Ridge was quite the conglomeration of very different people, from the top scientific minds and trained soldiers to hardworking yet undereducated local women and African American field hands and everything in between. While still separated for the most part by race and class they all nonetheless lived for years within this highly secured fishbowl of hard work and fast play that served to not only shoot the Allies into the lead of atomic warfare but served to foster quite a lot of drama for its inhabitants. They all came to Oak Ridge for a variety of reasons - to escape guilt, to find a wealthy husband, to prove oneself a worthy man even if not fighting across seas, to try and secure a better future for ones family, and much more - and none left without being highly effected by what they experienced there. My favorite aspect of the novel was the attention given to the actual day to day goings on of the people who lived there. They worked long, odd shifts (work that was done without really knowing why it was being done...all the secrets!) and had a vast variety of goods and entertainment at hand at all hours - a movie theatre, cafeteria, pharmacy and grocery, bowling alley, dance hall, and more. They lived in a variety of housing as well, depending on their rank, marital status, and race, whether that be trailers, dormitories, or traditional houses. The women dressed in their best, brightest dresses whenever possible and men sought to impress in pristine dress or uniforms (most at least). There was even a more dangerous side for those that sought it out, filled with things like gambling and illegal alcohol. It all comes to life in an exciting way and really drives home the unique and exhilarating time and place this would have been. My only real issue (if it can be called that) with the story was some of the highly unsympathetic characters who I sometimes found a distraction from the more interesting central theme of what was actually happening at Oak Ridge. While I enjoyed both June and Joe as well as the perspectives they brought to the table, I found both Sam and Cici just awful people. Cici is particularly horrid, using anyone and anything in her power to get what she wants and to ensure she is able to put everyone else in their places, way below her. Sam is a practiced complainer and alcoholic who doesn't treat June the way she deserves and seems to be unhappy no matter what he is experiencing. While these two characters serve their purposes in moving along certain aspects of the narrative (in particular Sam), I would have preferred they not be such dislikable characters. These aspects of their personalities didn't add anything to the story for me and served to only irritate me when they showed up on the page. I also have to wonder at the title of the story as it's about so much more than the women who worked at Oak Ridge. Joe and (unfortunately) Sam are as much a part of the overall story as June and Cici, making the title seem like an odd choice to me. Overall, The Atomic City Girls was a fascinating look at this singular place and time in history. I very much enjoyed learning about what was being done at Oak Ridge and the interesting environment it was for those that worked there. I should also mention that each chapter ends with actual historical photographs from Oak Ridge, which I LOVED. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction, particularly that which takes placed during WWII, will enjoy the peek into this insular world not as well known (at least not to me) as other aspects of the war.
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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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  • Elizabeth☮
    January 1, 1970
    This is an interesting story about the real pop up city in Tennessee designed to separate the atoms utilized to make the atomic bomb to drop on Japan (I am really simplifying the science for you as I don't want to get it totally inaccurate).The story revolves around four characters that find themselves working in the Oak Ridge compound in different capacities. This gives us the perspective of: a scientist; a poor girl given an opportunity to find a new place in the world; a gold digging woman th This is an interesting story about the real pop up city in Tennessee designed to separate the atoms utilized to make the atomic bomb to drop on Japan (I am really simplifying the science for you as I don't want to get it totally inaccurate).The story revolves around four characters that find themselves working in the Oak Ridge compound in different capacities. This gives us the perspective of: a scientist; a poor girl given an opportunity to find a new place in the world; a gold digging woman that has her sights on finding a man with money to give her a new place in society; and an African-American man that is trying to bring his wife and kids over from Alabama. I liked the history behind the story, but I found the characters to be a bit unlikable at times. Our main character, June, finds herself in a relationship with a doctor, Sam Cantor, and he is just a jerk to her. I don't understand why she would even want to be with him for any length of time. But, I understand why Beard is attempting to cover all social aspects of those working in the compound. It can feel forced at times. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the roles women played in a pretty scary moment in America's history.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    To say that The Atomic City Girls is disappointing is to mildly understand the sentiment. I had high hopes of an intimate glimpse into life in Oak Ridge with its layers of secrets. I thought it would be another war novel that is both educational and entertaining. Unfortunately, it is neither of those things, in my opinion, which only compounds my longing for what could have been instead of what is.For the amount of time we see June and her girlfriends actually working, the story could literally To say that The Atomic City Girls is disappointing is to mildly understand the sentiment. I had high hopes of an intimate glimpse into life in Oak Ridge with its layers of secrets. I thought it would be another war novel that is both educational and entertaining. Unfortunately, it is neither of those things, in my opinion, which only compounds my longing for what could have been instead of what is.For the amount of time we see June and her girlfriends actually working, the story could literally take place anywhere. Seriously, we see June at her station doing mysterious things for all of a page or two. That is all that ties June to the Manhattan Project. She shows curiosity but only after she meets and begins to date the physicist. Even then, we do not get specifics on what these so-called Atomic City girls were actually doing for the project. To me, it makes the title feel like a misnomer in a way because we don’t get to see what they are doing to help win the war.Instead, Ms. Beard chooses to focus on what happens when the girls do not work. There is a lot of flirting, more dancing, shopping, going to movies, and really living the high life. In a way, it is a bit disturbing just how much June enjoys her life in Oak Ridge and the luxuries to which she has access while the rest of the country is on strict rationing. Cici, the roommate, proves to be a money-grubbing socialite wannabe who is willing to do just about whatever it takes to find herself a wealthy husband. She is the cold-hearted bitch to Jane’s country girl wholesomeness, and both are more than a little sickening in their self-righteousness.Because focusing on the girls’ social life is not enough apparently, Ms. Beard also throws in the addition of Joe Brewer. If I were a cynical person – and I am – I would surmise that Joe appears in the book in an effort to diversify it and so she can show that while the girls were living large, the African-American workers were stuck in little more than cardboard shanties with fewer available amenities and much more difficult labor. He provides an opportunity to show the racial divide in Tennessee in the 1940s, which is neither a surprise nor shocking in its ugliness. While there is an attempt to connect all of the characters, the connection is flimsy at best and is a convenient plot device at worst.The Atomic City Girls is supposed to show the morality issues associated with building the first nuclear weapon and the lengths to which the government was willing to go to not only keep it a secret but also to keep its workers happy so that they would stay on the job and finish the task. The morality though comes across as very black and white. You have those who celebrate the weapon, once it becomes public knowledge, knowing it is the best way to end the war. Then you have those who are so appalled at what they built that they struggle live with the guilt. Ms. Beard shows almost nothing in-between the two opinions, even though you would think that is where most of the workers on the Manhattan Project would fall into that middle gray area.The whole story comes across as soap operatic, complete with fights over men and women backstabbing each other. The connections between all characters remain nebulous no matter how much Ms. Beard tries to bring them together into a cohesive cast. Any connections make no difference because no of the characters are ones that tug on your emotions. They are all flat, relatively insipid and uninteresting. Worst of all though is the utter lack of information I learned from reading this novel. I wanted to learn what these Atomic City girls did for the project and learned nothing. Instead, I got a doomed, wartime love story crossed with a forced morality tale about the dangers of blindly following orders with an added glimpse at the racial injustices that existed in the day. Were it well-written with compelling characters, it might be easier to overlook the lack of atomic anything in The Atomic City Girls. Instead, I closed the last page knowing this is one I should have DNF’d but was too stubborn to do so.
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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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  • 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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  • Gaele
    January 1, 1970
    Told in four alternating points of view, the story covers a period of approximately 18 months in the secret town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. A government-built community focused on the enrichment of Uranium for use in bombs to be constructed in Los Alamos. Secrecy and isolation were the watchwords of this project, and we get a sense of what ‘may’ have been their thoughts. Cici, an uneducated country girl with a mean streak, determination to marry rich and a determination to run over anyone who dare Told in four alternating points of view, the story covers a period of approximately 18 months in the secret town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. A government-built community focused on the enrichment of Uranium for use in bombs to be constructed in Los Alamos. Secrecy and isolation were the watchwords of this project, and we get a sense of what ‘may’ have been their thoughts. Cici, an uneducated country girl with a mean streak, determination to marry rich and a determination to run over anyone who dared stand in her way. June, a young girl from the local area, following in her sister’s footsteps, with an insatiable curiosity and enjoyment in all of the worlds being opened to her. Joe, a sharecropper from Alabama who left his wife and children behind with hopes for a better life, more money and opportunity. Lastly Sam, a physicist with promise, recruited for that promise to work in the laboratories. Each person is wholly different with differing levels of self-awareness and the ‘end game’ for the project. A segregated town that was growing up by leaps and bounds: Joe’s story takes us through the hazards of a black man navigating the discrimination, continuing to work and ignore the many temptations (moonshine, cards, dice) while reining in the anger and determination of some to claim a double victory (victory in Germany, democracy at home) for those who would wait an additional two plus decades. Joe’s story brought the inequities and potential dangers for those who worked tirelessly with sub-par food, housing and opportunity: while building the complex. Cici was a tangential character: first introducing June to the wonders of Oak Hill – cafeterias, movie theatre, dances, bowling alleys, until her true nature started to show. Threatening a roommate in the dormitory, stringing many men along on her search for ‘the one’ rich enough to capture her and provide the living she dreamed of, even as she first groomed, then tried to destroy June. June’s story is the most consistent and complete of the four: a near constant presence her curiosity about the purpose of her work, her genuine enjoyment of the newness of the world she had entered, and her enjoyment of the newness of her relationship with Sam: the ability to discuss her fears, her concerns and ask questions and learn from him. Even her attempts to lighten Sam’s load and keep his depression and drinking to a minimum were done selflessly. Her rise from simple ‘dial monitor’ to secretary for Sam in the laboratories, her abilities to overcome her basic start and move forward, learning more about people, herself and the purpose of Oak Ridge. Lastly is Sam: a physicist and a Jew, he’s one who loves the science and the progress that this project has brought, while still struggling with his place and progress in building a bomb that, while it ends a war, will wreak untold havoc and suffering. An intellectual snob, with a decided lack of interpersonal skills: he hates everything about Tennessee; weather, accents, mud, locals, segregation and above all the overwhelming secrecy- where nothing is plain spoken. He’s trying to align his own personal hates (which make him a rather disagreeable person) with the work he loves, but downtime is a trial. When his relationship with Jane starts – he’s changing, slightly, with a new purpose – educate and guide this ignorant young girl to the world. Oh – he alternated between arrogant and needy, with a good dose of self-righteous acting out. What Beard has created is a story of ‘what could have been”, none of these characters are real people, simple amalgams of the many who worked on the project. Bits of interest were often left to feel almost like a footnote, as often the story felt as if it wanted to go in another direction and would suddenly move to a differing point of view. The difficulties of life for everyone were touched on: the lines, the dust, the heat, the strain of secrets: and the huge celebrations at both VE and VJ days, the endless ‘sameness’ of each day for the people, and even the tension that I expected to find with the secrecy were missing for most of the story. Yes, each character provided a bit of emotional reaction from me, yet there were moments where I expected more development of a situation, circumstance or revelation. Not a bad story by any stretch of the imagination, but the multiple points of view muddled everyone’s individual story, none truly concluded or settled until the epilogue for each of them. While I think the attempt was to give a nuanced and interconnected story that brought forth the changes, growth and progress for each character in a way that integrated personal and professional lives, there was a piece missing that failed to bring everything together in a way that I believe was expected. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed
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  • Stephanie Tracy
    January 1, 1970
    Okay… so what was the point of this book, exactly? I’m not trying to be mean. Not trying to offend the author or imply that this was a stupid, pointless book. Not exactly. But now that I’ve finished it, I’m just wondering – why. I guess I picked this up hoping to learn a good deal about a secretive “Atomic City” in East Tennessee – called Oak Ridge. It was here in 1944 that a huge amount of people worked to produce the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, and almost none of them knew the purpos Okay… so what was the point of this book, exactly? I’m not trying to be mean. Not trying to offend the author or imply that this was a stupid, pointless book. Not exactly. But now that I’ve finished it, I’m just wondering – why. I guess I picked this up hoping to learn a good deal about a secretive “Atomic City” in East Tennessee – called Oak Ridge. It was here in 1944 that a huge amount of people worked to produce the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, and almost none of them knew the purpose of their work, or the devastation it would cause. I’d hoped to get some really good inside, behind-the-scenes looks at what life in Oak Ridge was all about. What were the people like, what was the work like, what was war time like? I’m left now feeling like I know absolutely NOTHING more than I did when I started. I’ve only ever read one other novel about WWII, and to be honest, I read it because I wanted to learn (while being entertained). I wanted to dive into the mindsets of people who lived through such a difficult, horrible time, even though it was fictional. I wanted to immerse myself in the sights, sounds, thoughts, and details of a time period that – honestly – I just feel is IMPORTANT for me to learn about. So that’s why I picked up “Atomic City Girls”, too (or downloaded it via my audiobook app). I hoped to learn, and to gain new insight into a different aspect of WWII than I’d read about before. This was CHICK LIT/ROMANCE. I’m sorry, but WHY. This hardly read like a historical fiction novel – it was about a girl named June (who, I’m sorry, is one of the dullest characters I’ve ever met in a book), who takes a job at Oak Ridge turning dials on a mysterious machine that she knows nothing about, who befriends her bitchy, gold-digging, conniving roommate, Cici, and then falls in love with the alcoholic, depressing, arsehole, Dr. Sam Cantor (who knows what they’re building at Oak Ridge, BTW, because he’s one of the geniuses behind the whole operation). While I wanted to read about what it was like WORKING there, I ended up instead hearing about June and Sam’s sex life, his alcoholic outbursts, her thousands of trips to the cinema, and countless other pointless details that made me just want to say “WTF”. I finished the audiobook because it wasn’t that long (literally, that’s the only reason – I was like, “it won’t be much longer, I can do it”. I thought, “this will get better – there HAS to be some plot development at some point”. Well, the bomb drops in Japan. Everyone finds out what they’d been building the whole time, but SHOCKER – June already knows (against strict security policy). The entire conflict centers around the fact that June learns classified information during her forbidden, damaging relationship with Sam… and this “tense” conflict lasts for about 5 seconds. Then the story just fizzles out. WHY.Why did I waste time finishing this? It’s a question I’ll ask myself for the next day or so, until I start another audiobook and completely forget about this one. Because yes, it’s a very forgettable story.
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  • Chris Mara
    January 1, 1970
    I was expecting so much more from this book so yes, I’m really disappointed. I understand there is another book on same topic out there; it is rated so much better for the writing and content. I’m going to read that one next. The main characters were:June - an innocent young farm girl being bussed out to work at the secretive, ever growing government facility in Oak Ridge TN. Her sweet innocence was attractive to one scientist, Dr Sam Cantor, in particular. Most of this book is about their relat I was expecting so much more from this book so yes, I’m really disappointed. I understand there is another book on same topic out there; it is rated so much better for the writing and content. I’m going to read that one next. The main characters were:June - an innocent young farm girl being bussed out to work at the secretive, ever growing government facility in Oak Ridge TN. Her sweet innocence was attractive to one scientist, Dr Sam Cantor, in particular. Most of this book is about their relationship, the war work being performed by them and others, and the secretive insulated environment they share. Dr Sam Cantor - a brilliant physicist/scientist with personal issues of his own. I found myself liking him a bit at the beginning, but eventually came to despise him when the bomb was completed and dropped and it was all over. Cici - June’s cunning, flirtacious, attractive roommate with a fake identity and persona. She has only a few things top of mind: find a wealthy husband, keep her true identity hidden, have fun and a great time along the way. Beware of crossing this one; she is vengeful. Joe - a good solid black man, hard working, doing heavy construction at the facility so he can earn and send good money home to his beloved wife and family. He misses them so much! His maturity and stability keep him going during the hard work/hard times and we get an in-depth view of how unjust the living facilities, food, wages, bus service, etc were between the white and black population. The female/male disparity in this workplace/community was blatantly evident as well. While it was ok for the author to pick a few key characters and do a spin off of their personal stories and involvement in the war movement, there wasn’t a lot of other information shared. The biggest thing working for the government at that time was to keep quiet, don’t share information, we are watching you, etc., but of course, people still did. If you were caught or reported, you were immediately fired. So while it was so highly confidential at the time, it’s not anymore and I guess I was looking for more peeks into that past, which the book barely delivered.
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  • Breon Randon
    January 1, 1970
    Overall a decent book. It was actually strangely compelling, but I think this was due to the subject matter for me rather than the execution. I knew nothing about this at all, which not to sound conceited, is a bit rare for me (going in blind on a topic, that is.)I really loved the idea of intersecting storylines, but following the stories of four people who all have a place in developing the atomic bomb was a bit irritating. The characters just werent that likeable. Cici is meant to be the ulti Overall a decent book. It was actually strangely compelling, but I think this was due to the subject matter for me rather than the execution. I knew nothing about this at all, which not to sound conceited, is a bit rare for me (going in blind on a topic, that is.)I really loved the idea of intersecting storylines, but following the stories of four people who all have a place in developing the atomic bomb was a bit irritating. The characters just werent that likeable. Cici is meant to be the ultimate mean girl and it shows. June is a sweet farm girl, but she just puts up with too much crap for my liking. Joe is relatable but he actually takes a bit of a backseat to his friends story and Sam? Sam is a vile creature. Im certain the author was trying to show his emotional undoing over his part in the bomb's creation, but you get the direct impression he's the kind of man that would get hammered and beat his wife for burning a TV dinner. Conceited shallow and just generally awful.Also- can I just mention that the plausibility of June escaping treason charges and being shot is pretty unlikely, and definitely not by just tricking an investigator by being a vapid, emotional woman.The epilogue also moved so quickly and wrapped everything up in a pretty bow. A bit much for me.
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  • Madame Mona Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    The title of the book is a little misleading. This book is really about the men and women that came to Oak Ridge, Tennessee to work on the production of the secret atomic bomb. The Clinton Engineer Works at Oak Ridge, Tennessee was built for the sole purpose of enriching Uranium 235. This Uranium was used in the production of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Although I would have preferred a little more physics in the book, I found I was engaged with the characters and could The title of the book is a little misleading. This book is really about the men and women that came to Oak Ridge, Tennessee to work on the production of the secret atomic bomb. The Clinton Engineer Works at Oak Ridge, Tennessee was built for the sole purpose of enriching Uranium 235. This Uranium was used in the production of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Although I would have preferred a little more physics in the book, I found I was engaged with the characters and couldn't put the book down.
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  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    I knew about the Manhattan Project and the goings on in the desert of New Mexico. Or at least what was taught to us in school and what I later read about in books. Who knows what really went on? What went on in Oak Ridge, Tennessee? Clueless. I will note that I am not a real student of American history – I have always been far more interested in the times that happened much earlier than the founding of this country. That being written, there are the tales like this one that open my eyes to our h I knew about the Manhattan Project and the goings on in the desert of New Mexico. Or at least what was taught to us in school and what I later read about in books. Who knows what really went on? What went on in Oak Ridge, Tennessee? Clueless. I will note that I am not a real student of American history – I have always been far more interested in the times that happened much earlier than the founding of this country. That being written, there are the tales like this one that open my eyes to our history and make me want to learn more.The Atomic City Girls is a number of stories really; it’s a tale of patriotism, a tale of government overreach, a love story, and most of all a story of its time. I don’t suppose any of us living in the connected world we currently inhabit could begin to understand the fear and worry of the people living during World War II when news was not as available.There is the tale of June, a young woman from the area who goes to work in Oak Ridge not fully understanding initially what she is doing there but knowing that the money is better than any other job available. Joe is a Negro family man who came to the complex to better his situation but the black men could not bring their families and live together. And they are paid at half the rate of the white men – but he is still encouraged because he will be able to put money aside for the first time. Finally there is Cici, all class and breeding – or is she. She claims to be there because she wants to support her country but her motives are less than pure.There were a couple of additional side plots involving characters in the orbits of the three main story lines. Ms. Beard does a good job of weaving all of her ancillary characters but a few bits do get dropped leaving some unanswered questions. Some significant events happen off site as it were and are simply relayed in a couple of sentences which leaves the reader a bit deflated. The book also ended a bit rapidly for me – I would have liked a bit more of the post WWII life. Not chapters and chapters but maybe a few more pages.Overall though, I did enjoy the book despite these minor complaints. I found myself quite involved in the story – especially June’s. It has made me want to learn more about what went on in Oak Ridge.
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  • Jennifer Gatto
    January 1, 1970
    I did not know anything about Oak Ridge, a town in East Tennessee that was created to help in the making of atomic bombs. It was interesting how majority of the workers had no idea what they were creating and secrecy was a top priority. This book is based on true events.
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  • Kathy Lautenschlager
    January 1, 1970
    I learned quite a bit about the era even though this book is fiction. One of the reasons I read historical fiction is because the stories usually bring history to life.
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