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109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos | [Jennet Conant]

109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos

They were told as little as possible. Their orders were to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and report for work at a classified Manhattan Project site, a location so covert it was known to them only by the mysterious address: 109 East Palace.
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Publisher's Summary

They were told as little as possible. Their orders were to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and report for work at a classified Manhattan Project site, a location so covert it was known to them only by the mysterious address: 109 East Palace.

They were greeted by Dorothy McKibbin, an attractive widow who was the least likely person imaginable to run a front for a clandestine defense laboratory. They stepped through her threshold into a parallel universe, the desert hideaway where Robert Oppenheimer and a team of world-famous scientists raced to build the first atomic bomb before Germany and bring World War II to an end.

Despite all the obstacles, Oppie managed to forge a vibrant community at Los Alamos through the sheer force of his personality. Dorothy devoted herself to taking care of him and his crew, and supported him through the terrifying preparations for the test explosion at Trinity and the harrowing aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In this deeply moving account, Conant reveals an enigmatic man who served his country at tremendous personal cost and whose singular achievement, and subsequent undoing, is at the root of our present nuclear predicament.

©2005 Jennet Conant; (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. AUDIOWORKS in an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Conant brings to life the colorful, eccentric town of thousands that sprang up on a New Mexico mesa and achieved the unthinkable." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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4.1 (97 )
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  •  
    John H. Davis III Honolulu 10-22-05
    John H. Davis III Honolulu 10-22-05 Member Since 2003

    Jack

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    "Great Listen"

    I have long been fascinated by the Manhattan Project and what happened at Los Alamos and have read a number of books on the subject. When I saw a review of "109 East Palace", I knew this was a book that would interest me. I was delighted to find it available on Audible and it was as good as I expected. My only criticism is that the only available version on Audible is abridged. I have an aversion to abridged books. It's like looking at a balck and white copy of the Mona Lisa and trying to gain some sense of the impact of the original. I realize some people who are in a rush prefer them but I wish we had a choice of abridged and unabridged versions as we do with some Audible titles. If you are interested in the history of Los Alamos, this is a book you should have.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    06-04-12
    06-04-12 Member Since 2003
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    "A book of personalities, surprisingly intriguing"

    The sound quality is great, the narration is clear and professional. Oddly there is a dreamy sentimental quality about the production ( I mean this in a good way), so much of the book feels friendly and informative like listening to a favorite clear minded Aunt filling you in on the missing pieces of handed down family stories. Finally, you feel like you have the whole picture given to you by one who knows, someone who was there - no more rumors! Probably not the best book to listen too if you are missed some important hours of sleep, the narrator's voice is so calm and soothing you may very well find yourself studying the undersides of your eyelids.

    The prelude to the book is read by the author which, personally, I appreciate. It is surprising how much personal and reflective material has been out there simply waiting for J.Conant to collect and organize. She's done a good job of presenting information that could easily be boring. In a straight forward way she uses everyday details and reflections found in seemingly mundane sources of scientists, office workers, and their family members involved in this enormous enterprise in such a way that it's easy to feel like I would recognize 1950's Los Alamos if I stumbled on it through a time warp.

    I especially enjoyed the tidbits that described what outsiders thought about this mysterious place, and descriptions of the conditions within the community. Good book. Balanced writing of a touchy subject. This is a book about people and places not of political positioning or the mechanical creation of the bomb. Easily recommendable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Henderson, NV, United States 05-04-12
    Andrea Henderson, NV, United States 05-04-12 Member Since 2009
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    "BRILLIANT MINDS"
    Where does 109 East Palace rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 5. I am now on a Manhattan project binge.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I visited Sante Fe, saw 109 E Palace and stayed at the La Fonda before I heard the book. I couldn't get enough. I knew next to nothing about the Manhattan Project and nothing at all about the men involved. This moving little book is a great place to start if you have any interest in the MP. I can imagine the tzunami of men coming and going from that town 50 or 60 years ago. This is a great book.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Warren 08-17-14
    Warren 08-17-14 Member Since 2011

    Workout Listener!

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    "Enjoyed the history....."
    What made the experience of listening to 109 East Palace the most enjoyable?

    It walked you through the history of the Manhattan Project.


    What about Anne Twomey’s performance did you like?

    Great detail!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes it was well read and interesting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Michael
    Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "Wonderful insiders account"

    I have read several things on the making of the atomic bomb. A good combination is F.G. Gosling's Manhattan Project and this personal account by the lady that watched the door. It gives quite a personal story observing allot of the main characters that worked on the project such as Oppenheimer and Feynman. A few of her stories are told in Feynman's own books so it's great to get both accounts. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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