Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau: Author News
Book review: ‘The Girls of Atomic City,’ by Denise Kiernan


Feb 24, 2017

Karina Wetherbee
February 4, 2017

Imagine going to work every day, having been given very strict instructions to keep that work secret, even from family and friends. Imagine, then, discovering two years later that the daily grind of that labor had resulted in the most devastating and transformative scientific achievement of the modern era — the atomic bomb. This was the reality for tens of thousands of individuals who were unknowing cogs in a very large and very secret wheel known as the Manhattan Project.

In her best-selling book "The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II," author Denise Kiernan delves deeply into the lives of a handful of people who were a part of the final momentous events of the war.

Woman all across America were stepping up to fill the labor gaps left by the men who had been sent to points all around the world to fight. Factories, offices and industries beckoned, and most took those more predictable and laudable paths. Kiernan writes of the relative few, the young women who stepped up to board a train or hop in a car to head to an unnamed place to do an unidentified job, all holding on to the mantra that, for women, at least, "complaining was not in fashion in 1943."

Told simply that what they were going to do would "bring a speedy and victorious end to the war," heading into the unknown as a single young woman required a leap of faith and a high level of trust But, with so many loved ones in harm's way overseas, doubt was a luxury. Women came from everywhere, as Kiernan says, "their routes like veins running down the industrial arm of the East Coast, extending from the heart of the Midwest, the precious lifeblood of a project about which the women knew nothing, all of them coursing toward a place that officially did not exist."

Read full review here.