Here’s local writer Joanne O’Sullivan describing the book :
While researching a book she was writing about general chemistry, Asheville author Denise Kiernan came upon a curious World War II-era photo in the Department of Energy’s digital archives. Row after row of young women — most in their 20s, with pin-up hairdos and perfect red lipstick — were sitting on stools in a cavernous room, in front of panels covered in knobs, meters and switches. Who were they, and what were they doing?
The striking photo piqued Kiernan’s curiosity and led her to the discovery of a trove of other photos by Ed Westcott, the official photographer of the Manhattan Project. The women, it turned out, were low-skill workers at Site X, the off-the-map DOE site that later became the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and although they weren’t aware of it, they were enriching the uranium used to fuel the first nuclear bomb. Kiernan tells their story in “The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II,” released this week by Simon and Schuster’s Touchstone imprint.
And here’s Keirnan on The Daily Show.