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Gatekeeper to Los Alamos: Dorothy Scarritt McKibbin Paperback – March 24, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nancy Cook Steeper was born in Duluth, Minnesota. She spent her childhood in Omaha, Nebraska, and Denver, Colorado and attended the University of Colorado for two years. An English major, Nancy graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. For more than thirty years, she worked as an administrator in admission, career development, and alumnae relations at Smith. Mother of two children, she lives with her husband in western Massachusetts. The biography of Dorothy S. McKibbin is her first book.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 147 pages
  • Publisher: Los Alamos Historical Society; Second Printing 2005 edition (March 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941232301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941232302
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Undoubtedly there were thousands of unique perspectives to World War II, but one of the most interesting views was had by a lone woman who sat behind a desk in a small office in the ancient adobe hacienda at 109 East Palace Avenue in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her name was Dorothy McKibbin. During the Manhattan Project, Robert Oppenheimer and his gathering of scientists at Los Alamos designed and produced the first atomic bomb. McKibbin took care of just about everything else. A Smith College grad, Dorothy McKibbin had seen some difficult times in her early life, despite coming from a well-to-do Kansas City family. She spent a year as a "lunger" in a sanitarium in the mid 1920s, and she was widowed with a10-month-old son at the age of 33. But McKibbin was a survivor, a woman of determination. She picked up her young child, pulled up roots, and started over in the small, off-the-beaten-path town that had captivated her as she recovered from tuberculosis in 1925-Santa Fe. The move placed her at a crossroads with history, where in 1942 she would become the Gatekeeper to Los Alamos. She arrived in Santa Fe in 1932 with no job nor any prospects of one, but soon she had a bookkeeper's position at a trading company and was building a stunning adobe home that is now one of Santa Fe's historic properties. She made friends with the "cultural mix" of the Santa Fe area, among them photographer Laura Gilpin, architects John Gaw Meem and Katherine Stinson Otero, poets Witter Bynner and Peggy Pond Church, artist Cady Wells, and such legendary locals as Edith Warner and Tilano Montoya. Life was unhurried and unaffected. Then, in 1942, she met Robert Oppenheimer and that all changed.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dorothy is the Behind-the-curtain person in Santa Fe for the Los Alamos project. The book provides a fascinating inside of the Top secret on-goings and the personal lives of the residents of a city that didn't exist.
A must read!
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Format: Paperback
As a native of Los Alamos, I have known about Dorothy McKibbin's service to Los Alamos for a long time. But I never knew her "back story" until I read this book. It is well written and researched. The author includes helpful historical time frames and background to help the reader understand the context of the extraordinary people and events. It is a great read!
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Format: Paperback
What a mesmorizing account of a woman's life! I could not put the book down and found that Dorothy McKibbin's image of being a "power girl" ignited my own need to blast forward and make a difference in life. Steeper has done an incredibly thorough job capturing the details of not only McKibbin's life and life-long contributions, but also the events of the time period. I highly recommend this book and plan to buy more for my "power girl" girlfriends around the world!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is very little new in this book and very little about Dorothy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderful book about an intriguing time in our history.....well written.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have visited McKibbin's home on the plaza of Santa Fe several times and heard tidbits about her several times so it was great to be able to read the whole story of her life and her contributions to the project at Los Alamos.
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