The Wives of Los Alamos

The Wives of Los Alamos

A Novel

eBook - 2014 | First U.S. Edition
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"Their average age was twenty-five. They came from Berkeley, Cambridge, Paris, London, Chicago--and arrived in New Mexico ready for adventure, or at least resigned to it. But hope quickly turned to hardship as they were forced to adapt to a rugged military town where everything was a secret, including what their husbands were doing at the lab. They lived in barely finished houses with P.O. box addresses in a town wreathed with barbed wire, all for the benefit of a project that didn't exist as far as the public knew. Though they were strangers, they joined together--adapting to a landscape as fierce as it was absorbing, full of the banalities of everyday life and the drama of scientific discovery. And while the bomb was being invented, babies were born, friendships were forged, children grew up, and Los Alamos gradually transformed from an abandoned school on a hill into a real community: one that was strained by the words they couldn't say out loud, the letters they couldn't send home, the freedom they didn't have. But the end of the war would bring even bigger challenges to the people of Los Alamos, as the scientists and their families struggled with the burden of their contribution to the most destructive force in the history of mankind.The Wives of Los Alamos is a novel that sheds light onto one of the strangest and most monumental research projects in modern history. It's a testament to a remarkable group of women who carved out a life for themselves, in spite of the chaos of the war and the shroud of intense secrecy"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2014
Edition: First U.S. Edition
ISBN: 9781620405055
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Sep 14, 2018

Couldn't get into the community voice!

Dec 13, 2016

Way too general. Makes women look like empty-headed nitwits.

Apr 11, 2016

The last part of the book where the wives reflected upon the implications of the atomic bomb was the best.

Apr 06, 2016

I thought I would not like the community voice style that this author used. But found myself caught up in the descriptions of the lives the these women and their families, and found it very moving.

May 25, 2015

I want to know more about the wives of Los Alamos. so interesting.

Jan 26, 2015

I enjoyed learning about this time and place, but did not care for the list format, which I found hard to follow at times and less enjoyable than a traditional fictional story format.

madison382 Oct 12, 2014

The writer did an excellent job with this book. Very thought provoking.

ontherideau Sep 02, 2014

Chilling on many levels but it's a story we should know

StratfordLibrary Jul 29, 2014

Loved this book for so many reasons. Firstly, it is fiction but it isn’t – the wives of Los Alamos did exist and it was there in New Mexico where specialized scientists gathered from across America to work on a war time project in the 1940s. I always appreciate a novel that entertains while at the same time shares truths with the reader and offers a learning experience. Secondly, the voice of the narrator is unique to most literature yet inclusive in regard to the community Nesbit is writing about. She often uses ‘they’, ‘we’ or shares vignettes from multiple households to demonstrate a sense of sameness but also of subtle differences between the families that are essentially ‘locked down’ in the secret city. Thirdly, it is flat out suspenseful. What in the world are all these scientists doing all day? I didn’t know anything about this part of history so I truly had no idea what fate lay ahead for Los Alamos and the many inhabitants I had gotten to know so well. Lastly, it sparked debate. At the end. You’ll see, if you give it a read.

LaughingOne Jul 24, 2014

When I was six (1955) my family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Los Alamos was still the secret city, but not as secret as during the time of this novel. In the mid 1940s scientists were hand-picked to move to the secret city to work on a secret project. This novel is listed as historical fiction in the library but I think it is also creative nonfiction, for the women portrayed are real, or are compilations of the very real women who followed their husbands, and took their children, to live in this secret place and time for two, three, four years. I found the writing itself terse and impersonal, yet packed with details and information about “every wife”. I got bogged down in the everyday life, the sameness, the loneliness, the inability to connect with the loved ones left behind in the towns and cities these women had left. I loved the descriptions of the land itself; they reminded me of my childhood, of places I grew up in and around, places that meant home to me, even though it didn’t mean home to these wives. Once I got used to the sparse writing style, I liked gathering up the little stories and seeing the bigger picture. I also liked how the story followed women after the bombings of Japan, after the scientists and families were allowed to leave, or stay, and some ideas of what they and their children did later on.
In one of the later sections of this book there was a reference to a woman who lived outside Los Alamos, whom some of the wives managed to visit. This part reminded me of a novel I read in university – “The Woman at Otowi Crossing” (1965) by Frank Waters. I highly recommend this novel for those who want to read a more personalized story about living near Los Alamos during the height of its wartime activities, and the woman who was friends with people in the nearby pueblos and with some of the scientists and people of Los Alamos.

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Jun 07, 2015

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