Read by Cassandra Campbell (The Help narrator) and almost thirteen hours of listening. The Girls of Atomic City is a compilation of experiences. The author interviewed several women involved in secretive jobs of WWII in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, ultimately resulting in the ‘gadget’ that would end the war: the bomb or ‘Manhattan Project’. These women, all in their late teens or early twenties in the early 40s, related their experiences living and working in a government constructed town of new factories, dorms, cafeterias, and muddy streets. No one knew the purpose of their work, but they all diligently monitored gauges, took dictation, dated, fell in love, kept their heads down and did their jobs … and created ‘product’ by the tablespoon that disappeared via couriers to places unknown (like Los Alamos).
A most interesting aspect for me was this completely unknown purpose. The girls had absolutely no idea what they were doing, only that their work was critical to war efforts. Also interesting is the fact that the women were better at their jobs because they didn’t know enough about the work to ask questions; they just did what they were trained to do, like soldiers. Many had brothers, or lovers, in Germany or the Pacific, many had never been away from home before. ‘Loose lips sink ships’ wasn’t just a saying; silence might save a life, and secrecy was a requirement of all Americans.
A very educational book, an insight into the mindset of the American people, ’the greatest generation’. Failure was not an option. It is apparent that the author admired The Girls of Atomic City; the book is a testament to them and their work. Worth the credits, enjoy!