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Publisher's Summary

In the best-selling tradition of Hidden Figures and The Wives of Los Alamos, comes this riveting novel of the everyday people who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II.

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

In November 1944, 18-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, 24-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.

©2018 Janet Beard (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book

I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction, but I really enjoyed this book. I thought the story was very well developed and I loved the characters. The narrator was a great fit, as well. Definitely recommend!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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engaging

I've been so curious about the origins of Oakridge. This novel certainly helps you to imagine life in this historic city.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Give it a shot...

I wasn’t a fan at first but you know I really ended up enjoying the characters lives, and following their story lines. I’ll be sure to give Xe’s other books a shot. A great historical fiction read!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Romance in the shadow of the first atomic bomb

This is a sweet story of a country girl who falls in love with a mysterious engineer. These young characters are swept up in the intensity, and secrecy of the Manhattan Project. Real historical events lend the story a feel of authenticity.
To read some stories from some of the real women who worked at The Clinton Engineer Works, try "The Girls from Atomic City"

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

Well narrated, good characters, good explanation of the horrors of war and the hubris and ignorance of man in harnessing the unspeakable destruction of atomic bombs. A good piece to read with HIROSHIMA. A lesson for mankind to never again unleash the bomb.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Magnificent

This is a wonderful novel that brought the reality of history to me through fiction, with realistic stories and endings. Loved it!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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disappointing

The story is facinating but the sexual content is very unnecessary and caused me to return the book. I was very sad about this as I wanted to learn more about the hidden towns and such that built the bomb but I am going to start reading "The Wives of Los Alamos" instead!

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Compelling story, totally human characters, transparent prose delivered by a sonorous narration!

Beard delivers an insider’s perspective upon the pivotal moment that divides human history into before nuclear weapons and after. Her meticulous research is blended with deeply personal stories of the characters she created to illuminate the still hard to fathom immensity of the Manhattan Project. She treats her characters with frank respect for their shared humanity, revealing their flaws and their strengths. Her story gives the same balanced treatment to the building and use of bomb.

The prose flows effortlessly in service of the narrative and characters. The performance is equally flawless. This is a most satisfying audiobook.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful