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The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II Paperback – March 11, 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,775 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I love these kinds of books, and this is a great one....It’s a phenomenal story.” -- Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

“Fascinating ... Kiernan has amassed a deep reservoir of intimate details of what life was like for women living in the secret city, gleaned from seven years of interviews and research. ... Rosie, it turns out, did much more than drive rivets.” -- The Washington Post

“Kiernan…brings a unique and personal perspective to this key part of American history.…Instead of the words of top scientists and government officials, Kiernan recounts the experiences of factory workers, secretaries, and low-level chemists in a town that housed at its peak 75,000 people trained not to talk about what they knew or what they did. She combines their stories with detailed reporting that provides a clear and compelling picture of this fascinating time.” ― The Boston Globe

“Kiernan’s focus is on the intimate and often strange details of work and life at Oak Ridge. It’s told in a novelistic style and is an intimate look at the experiences of the young women who worked at Oak Ridge and the local residents whose lives were changed by the presence of the project.” -- The San Francisco Book Review

“Kiernan’s book, the result of seven years of research and interviews with the surviving 'girls,' sparkles with their bright, WWII slang and spirit, and takes readers behind the scenes into the hive-like encampments and cubicles where they spent their days and nights.…The Girls of Atomic City brings to light a forgotten chapter in our history that combines a vivid, novelistic story with often troubling science.” -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“The image of Rosie the Riveter — women filling in at factories to help the war effort — is well known. But women also assisted on the Manhattan Project, signing up for secret work in Oak Ridge, Tenn., to help build the atomic bomb. Kiernan looks at the lives and contributions of these unsung women who worked in jobs from secretaries to chemists.” ― New York Post

“Kiernan’s accounts ring with authenticity.…The Girls of Atomic City is fascinating." ― Minneapolis Star Tribune

"As most of us are all too aware, the generation who fought in World War II or supported the effort from home are leaving us -- their children, grandchildren, and greats -- to carry on without them. Thanks to author Kiernan, we hear from a group of that generation's women, now in their eighties and nineties, whose wartime experience matched no one else's. Ever. Anywhere." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“A fresh take on the secret city built in the mountains of Tennessee as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II… An inspiring account of how people can respond with their best when called upon.” ― Kirkus Reviews

"Denise Kiernan recreates, with cinematic vividness and clarity, the surreal Orwell-meets-Margaret Atwood environment of Oak Ridge as experienced by some of the women who were there: secretaries, technicians, a nurse, a statistician, a leak pipe inspector, a chemist, and a janitor." -- DailyBeast.com

About the Author

Denise Kiernan is the author of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal bestseller The Last Castle. Her previous book, The Girls of Atomic City, is a New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and NPR bestseller. Kiernan has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Ms., Reader’s Digest, Discover, and many more publications. She has also worked in television, serving as head writer for ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire during its Emmy award–winning first season and producing for media outlets such as ESPN and MSNBC. She has been a featured guest on NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” PBS NewsHour, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
  • ISBN-10 : 1451617534
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1451617535
  • Paperback : 416 pages
  • Dimensions : 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Publisher : Atria Books; Reprint edition (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 1,775 ratings

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
1,775 global ratings
How are ratings calculated?

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2015
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63 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2018
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20 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2018
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10 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2018
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8 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Matthew Wilkes
1.0 out of 5 stars Annoying writing style, too jumpy, full of gimmicks
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 27, 2013
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One person found this helpful
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Georg Erwin Thaller
5.0 out of 5 stars The women who worked at Oak Ridge during WWII tell the tale.
Reviewed in Germany on February 25, 2020
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Ken Watkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Great combination of personal anecdotes, along with some of the science, construction, and politics of the manhattan project.
Reviewed in Canada on April 30, 2013
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lp
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Reviewed in Canada on April 30, 2015
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