May 2: The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan
“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”
In The Girls of Atomic City we read the incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history. The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project's secret cities, it didn't appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships--and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men!
But against this vibrant wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work--even the most innocuous details--was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb.
InThe Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan traces the astonishing story of these unsung WWII workers through interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents.
June 6 – The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
July 11 – In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
Aug. 1 – Educated by Tara Westover
Sept. 5 – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Oct. 3 – Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
Nov. 7 – Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Dec. 5 – The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu