- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 6, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062666711
- ISBN-13: 978-0062666710
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 105 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Atomic City Girls: A Novel Paperback – February 6, 2018
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From the Publisher
“Suspenseful and intriguing...explores an aspect of the Manhattan Project long shrouded in secrecy, bringing to light an important chapter of World War II history.” (Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker)
“The Atomic City Girls is a fascinating and compelling novel about a little known piece of WWII history.” (Maggie Leffler, international bestselling author of The Secrets of Flight)
“Both page-turning and illuminating, The Atomic City Girls brings to life an eerie piece of world history.” (Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles)
“Beard has taken a project of momentous impact and injected a human element into it. [...] This is approachable, intelligent, and highly satisfying historical fiction.” (Booklist (starred review))
“[...] focuses on the little-known realities behind the Manhattan Project [...] Readers who enjoyed Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls will appreciate this glimpse into the beliefs and attitudes that shaped America during World War II.” (Library Journal)
“Fans of historical fiction will devour this complex and human look at the people involved in the creation of the atomic bomb. A fascinating look at an underexplored chapter of American history.” (Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary)
“The Atomic City Girls explores love, war and patriotism, forcing the reader to consider the devastating effects of Hiroshima. Once readers learn that Beard’s own aunt was one of the workers, the intimate knowledge and specific details of Oak Ridge come to life even more.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
From the Back Cover
“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, twenty-four-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young women 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 beloved family back home in Alabama, 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.
Top customer reviews
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Overall, an easy and quick read on a subject that I knew nothing about.
This book is well written and gives you a feel for what it was like living at Dry Ridge while the war was happening. Wonderful characters and settings helps you to understand how terribly difficult it must have been during that time.
I enjoyed this book very much. Since I have done much studying of WWII, this book took me into different areas of the war I knew about but never had a true appreciation for the deep secrecy that surrounded the Manhattan Project. I would definitely recommend this book.
My issue is with the characters. They were uninteresting, superficial, shallow and boring. The most interesting characters to me were Joe, Ralph, Shirley and Joe's family because they had more depth and talked about real issues. June was so annoying to me and didn't seem to develop much as a character. Sam was a jerk, despite the author's attempt to convey the personal crisis he was undergoing. Cici was useless, not much point to her at all. There was no resolution to their characters or the back stabbing by Cici or justice for Ralph's death, and I felt like the author just threw in anecdotes about their lives after Oak Ridge to quickly tie up loose ends and make up for the fact she didn't think that far ahead.
Too bad as it could have been a phenomenal novel.