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All BookedUP
by Rachel Gladstone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITYTHE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY

By Denise Kiernan

$27.00 Touchstone

www.denisekiernan.com


It’s 1943 and America is in a race to develop the atomic bomb, an undertaking secretly known as The Manhattan Project. But in order to build ‘The Gadget” as it’s called by the scientists designing it, a multitude of civilians has to be hired to perform specific tasks in a town that has no name and is not located on any map. Now imagine you are a woman with little or no professional experience who is offered one of these high paying, top-secret jobs which is supposed to bring an expedient end to the war, but you have to get on a train and travel to an unspecified location with no knowledge of what you’ll be working on. Would you do it? Well, thousands did, and their never-before-told, true story is chronicled in Denise Kiernan’s fascinating new book, THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY.


Built in the secluded southern Appalachian Mountains, the bustling city known only as the Clinton Engineer Works or “Site X” was the biggest project of its kind ever to be undertaken by the U.S government. This self-sufficient city, known today as Oak Ridge, Tennessee, included factories and living space for the 75,000 people who called it home for nearly two years. But in order to protect the sensitive nature of the project, everyone who worked there was sworn to secrecy, not only from the outside world but from each other. Discussing anything about their jobs made workers subject to immediate dismissal and spies were even embedded in to the community, ensuring that loose lips didn’t sink ships. Each worker performed a specific task and only that task so that, in the end, none of them knew what they were actually building. Colleen Rowan, one of the women whose lives are portrayed here, was a leak inspector and all she knew was that the pipes she was inspecting eight hours a day were coming in one door and going out another and that there seemed to be no end to how many there were. Dorothy James, a Calutron cubicle operator, who was actually helping enrich Uranium, thought she was processing film for wartime newsreels. And Toni Peters, who worked as a secretary to high-ranking officials, processed confidential missives that she couldn’t decipher and never tried to understand.


Despite the secrecy and pressures of living on “The Reservation” as it was sometimes called, life was not all work and no play as an actual town sprang up where a few farms and homesteads had stood only months before. Movie theatres, tennis courts, restaurants and cafeterias as well as churches, stores and organizations such as a symphony and The Boy and Girl Scouts became part of the fabric of daily life and those women who were unmarried, as many were, found a sense of independence they’d never known, not to mention a steady stream of eligible bachelors. But on August 6 1945, when the bomb known as “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima, the reactions from the women who had unwittingly dedicated themselves to this secret project were as varied and complex as the jobs they had been performing.


Kiernan has a knack for making the highly-nuanced materials in this engrossing book read like a novel. Impeccably researched, this beautifully written and spellbinding account of the greatest story never told, which includes over a dozen pages of photos and a detailed glossary, will certainly keep you turning the pages and coming back for more.


THE CROOKED BRANCHTHE CROOKED BRANCH

By Jeanine Cummins

$15.00 New American Library

www.uspenguingroup.com


The story of two mothers set a century and a half apart is the subject of THE CROOKED BRANCH, the latest offering from best-selling author Jeanine Cummins.


Majella is a food writer and mother of a newborn baby girl, Emma. Having fled their small Manhattan apartment for the greener pastures of Queens, she and her husband Leo have begun renovations on her childhood home which they’ve purchased from her retiring parents who’ve moved to Florida. Leo, a busy restaurateur who works long hours, abandons Majella for great swaths of time which leaves her feeling isolated and alone and she’s come to realize that motherhood is not all it’s cracked up to be. As a matter of fact, the only thing that is cracked is her head, which is playing tricks on her, making her feel like a stranger in her usually well-regimented life. But one afternoon, while rummaging around in the attic, she finds a journal written by an ancestor, Ginny Doyle, who lived in Ireland during the potato famine of the 1840’s and as she reads through it, Majella’s life begins to embark on some interesting twists and turns of its own.


At once, we are swept up into Ginny’s harrowing story of survival and the means by which she and her family eventually emigrated to America. The two stories converge, entwining like a vine made of present and past, as the parallels of motherhood and its ever-present demands shine through each of the narratives. When Ginny admits to having murdered someone, Majella is shocked and confused and turns to her mother, with whom she has a complicated relationship, for clues. And as she comes to terms with that relationship, Majella’s understanding about herself and the choices she has made begins to take shape, and she embraces her new and ever-changing life for all it is worth.


Cummins’ witty and emotional writing leaps off the page from the first sentence and will keep you engrossed until the last. Her ability to imbue each of her characters with a distinct voice shines a light on her superb talent, making this novel un-put-downable.


 

WEDDING DOGS A Celebration of Holy MuttrimonyWEDDING DOGS A Celebration of Holy Muttrimony

By Katie Preston Toepper and Sam Stall

$19.95 Quirk

www.quirkbooks.com


Recently, I attended a wedding where the bride surprised her groom at their reception with the arrival of their two dogs. Making their entrance to “Who Let the Dogs Out” and clad respectively in a white tutu and collar of flowers, these adorable, furry Fidos certainly stole the show. But evidently, this couple was not alone; these days, close to 5% of marrying couples include their dogs in their big day, which means that WEDDING DOGS A Celebration of Holy Muttrimony is a book whose time has certainly come.


Featuring dozens of photos depicting newlyweds and their favorite canine companions, this delightful book is a joy to have and to hold. Decked out in only the finest tiny tuxedos and wedding veils, these pooches are adorable and it’s clear that they’re as happy to be included in the nuptials as their human counterparts. Charming vignettes accompany each of the pictures, one sweeter than the next, and to see these pups prancing down the aisle as ring-bearers, flower girls or mutts of honor is priceless.


A great gift for anyone who happens to be getting married and is also a dog-lover, this beautifully presented book might even encourage a rise in the number of couples who decide to include their own dogs in their weddings. And what could be better than that?


THE CLARET MURDERSTHE CLARET MURDERS

By Tom Collins

$29.00

www.markrollinsadventures.com


From author Tom Collins comes the fourth book in his Mark Rollins Adventure series, THE CLARET MURDERS, a story that centers around revenge, regret and cold-hard cash.


Anne Simms is a beautiful, brainy Nashville attorney in fear for her life. And there’s good reason for that; several people are out to get her. Not only is she set to inherit 60 million dollars, but she has a big secret and her estranged, soon-to-be ex-husband is blackmailing her because of it. Seeking help, she hires Mark Rollins, a crime-fighter with a knack for technology and friends in high places, but once he takes the case, the people around her start dropping like flies. As if this weren’t enough to worry her, Eli Campbell, her boyfriend and managing partner of her firm, asks her to handle the final paperwork for a large estate that is to be sold lock, stock and barrel. But when she finds out that this includes a secret stash of priceless wine, the bodies begin to pile up. And as torrential rains begin to fall, drowning Nashville in a devastating flood, Rollin’s ability to protect the stubborn and charismatic Simms is thwarted, leaving her life hanging in the balance and her fate in the hands of unknown assailants.


A fun-filled romp which prominently features Nashville and the flood of 2010, which crippled the city for days, this is a must-read for murder mystery fans and adventure-lovers alike. Collins writes with a deft knowledge of wine, crime solving and the world of high-powered people and technology and does so with his sense of humor in-tact.




www.Dishmag.com / Issue 146 - October 2017
Turnpage Blk


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