Tuesday, December 9, 2014

20th Century Bombshells: Women & The Bomb

World War II was a time of dramatic change. Modern warfare inspired new technology, including nuclear weapons, and also altered the way Americans thought about gender roles. Women of all social classes began working outside the home and impacting society in new ways. In the books below, American women play dynamic parts in the creation and the aftermath of the atomic bomb.

The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit

Told collectively by the women of Los Alamos, this fictional memoir observes their community before and after the revelation of their work's nuclear nature.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan

Recruited by the US Army during World War II, thousands of Americans moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a secret Project Manhattan city. Despite the intense secrecy surrounding their work, the women of Oak Ridge establish a vibrant community united by their sense of purpose. After the Bomb "Little Boy" is dropped on Hiroshima, the residents of Oak Ridge must come to terms with their role in the development of the atomic bomb.

An Atomic Love Story: The Extraordinary Women in Robert Oppenheimer's Life by Shirley Streshinsky and Patricia Klaus

Notorious for both the creation of the atomic bomb and his connections to the Communist Party, J. Robert Oppenheimer also had quite the tumultuous love life. His relationships with three smart, ambitious, and extraordinary women are chronicled in real-life details with extra attention paid to the dynamic social setting of America in the mid-twentieth century in this well-researched book.

The House at Otowi Bridge: The Story of Edith Warner and Los Alamos by Peggy Pond Church

Edith Warner lived by herself between Los Alamos and the San Ildefonso Pueblo, but was hardly alone. While she was not integrated into either community, Edith built strong relationships with the people who lived there, including J. Robert Oppenheimer. This character-driven book examines Warner, the friendships she made, and the influence she held in New Mexico.

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