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review 2014-02-22 21:40
Working on the Bomb: An Oral History of WWII Hanford - S.L. Sanger,Craig Wollner

A great source for first-person accounts, but vaguely unsatisfying as far as historical color and texture are concerned. Does not probe deeply into the moral or ethical questions raised by Hanford's planning and purpose. Makes few mentions of the environmental damage until the afterward -- though part of this may be the lack of documents that have only recently been declassified. Also, hearing people who literally in some cases put their hands on the bomb that would kill hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians claim that dropping the bomb saved countless lives started to feel like doublespeak after the fourteenth repetition. Especially since that particular line has been somewhat debunked.

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review 2014-02-14 20:57
Inside the Secret.
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II - Denise Kiernan

This book really made me feel as if I knew what it felt like to live and work at Oak Ridge in the lead-up to the glorious, horrible end of World War II. Although I could have used a bit more clarity in the chronology, and certain events felt glossed over, the focus on women's experiences both at Oak Ridge and in the international scientific community was compelling and illuminating. While this will never be anyone's first choice for a comprehensive history of the Manhattan Project, the on-the-ground experiences and day-to-day detail of the workers at the various plants are just the kind of thing a writer looks for in a history she's reading for book research. Highly recommended.

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