The Atomic City Girls: A Novel

By Janet Beard
Read by Xe Sands

8.78 Hours 02/06/2018 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9781538496879

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“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.” In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee, has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, twenty-four-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders. The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers. When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.

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Summary

Summary

“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”

In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee, has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, twenty-four-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.

The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.

When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Suspenseful and intriguing…Explores an aspect of the Manhattan Project long shrouded in secrecy, bringing to light an important chapter of World War II history.” Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author
“Both page-turning and illuminating…Brings to life an eerie piece of world history.” Madeline Miller, New York Times bestselling author
“An intriguing novel that is accessible and easy to read with enough suspense and romance to hold any reader’s interest. While the focus of the story is on a young and curious woman’s adventure, the history Beard unearthed, especially concerning the African Americans working on the periphery of the project, presents a fascinating glimpse into the war.” RT Book Reviews (4 stars)
“Beard has taken a project of momentous impact and injected a human element into it…This is approachable, intelligent, and highly satisfying historical fiction.” Booklist (starred review)
“Gives a human dimension to the lesser-known true-life events that took place in Oak Ridge, Tenn., during World War II…Beard’s fascinating narrative brings to life four people with different outlooks and dreams whose fates memorably intertwine.” Publishers Weekly
“America’s fight for freedom and dignity across the globe is sharply contrasted with blatant racism and injustice at home. Readers who enjoyed Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls will appreciate this glimpse into the beliefs and attitudes that shaped America during World War II.” Library Journal
“Compelling…Fans of historical fiction will devour this complex and human look at the people involved in the creation of the atomic bomb. A fascinating look at an underexplored chapter of American history.” Kirkus Reviews
“A fascinating and compelling novel about a little known piece of WWII history.” Maggie Leffler, author of The Secrets of Flight

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Janet Beard

Janet Beard moved to New York to study screenwriting at NYU and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her first novel, Beneath the Pines, was published in 2008. Janet has lived and worked in Australia, England, Boston, and Columbus, Ohio, where she is currently teaching writing and raising a daughter.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Historical
Runtime: 8.78
Audience: Adult
Language: English