Most of us have heard or seen some variation of the story of the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb. Most often it focuses on the gathering of brilliant physicists to tackle not on the development of the nuclear material, but also the delivery system. It is the tale of Robert Oppenheimer.
The so-called “untold story”, until now, the one of the tens of thousands of women, and men, who left their homes, their families, their friends and on the promise of work and a steady pay check left for a mysterious destination of Oakridge, Tennessee.
It’s hard to believe that a story like this could ever be duplicated. Can you for one minute imagine that in today’s day and age, anyone would accept on blind faith the notion of being sent to a secretive location that really did not exist on any map, based on the simple promise of important work, that anyone in their right mind would line up to hop on a train. That is a driving tale in the story of The Girls of Atomic City – The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan.
Kiernan paints a picture of not only a different era, but of the individual stories of those seemingly daring and often heroic people who dedicated a portion of their lives in the pursuit of contributing to the resolution of world conflict. It is laced with intimate portraits of these dynamic women, the seemingly overnight development of a facility that would be workplace and home to some 75,000 people as the project evolved. It is truly a remarkable tale.