The Brownstown Public Library’s Adult Book Club plans to discuss “The Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kiernan at 11 a.m. May 12.
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 co-workers. 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.
The club provides an informal, congenial atmosphere for patrons 18 and older to share their literary interpretations of the current book selection at the library at 120 E. Spring St.
Everyone should read the month’s selection before the meeting, although they can feel free to attend even if they haven’t finished the book as long as they don’t mind hearing how the book ends. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussion led by Karen Raymer, but listeners are welcome.
Light refreshments are served by individuals from the group on a volunteer basis. Extra copies of the book selection are available a month in advance at the library circulation desk.
Registration is required.