The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II


When Oak Ridge, Tennessee was founded in the early 1940s, its buildings rose quickly and its population arrived almost overnight.  As a crucial part of the Manhattan Project the massive scientific undertaking that resulted in the atomic bombs that would destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki and end World War II Oak Ridge's true purpose was a secret to many of the 75,000 people who lived there.

Drawing on extensive interviews, The Girls of Atomic City follows several of the women who moved to Oak Ridge to work in the new city's factories, labs, and hospitals and who, at the end of the war, had to grapple with the violent legacy of their work.

"In 1942, a new secret came to this part of the world.  The earth trembled and shook and made way for an unprecedented alliance of military, industrial, and scientific forces, forces that combined to create the most powerful and controversial weapon known to mankind.  This weapon released the power present in the great unseen of the time, unleashing the energy of the basic unit of matter known as the atom."

Denise Kiernan is a journalist, author, and television producer.  Her books include The Girls of Atomic City; Signing their Lives Away: the Fame and Misfortune of the Men who Signed the Declaration of Independence; and Stuff Every American Should Know.

Published:  2013
Length:  373 pages
Set in:  Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States