Their average age was 25. 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.
©2014 TaraShea Nesbit (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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4 out of 5 stars
By Sara on 01-04-18

Developing the Bomb And the Atomic Age

I am surprised by how effective and by how much I enjoyed the plural point of view used in the writing. Nesbit told the story from the group perspective rather than being centered on or limited to several individual characters. Instead of distancing the reader from the characters I thought it accentuated how Los Alamos and the nuclear program were a group effort involving scientists and their families from around the country and around the world.

The story highlighted a fascinating time in history and effectively put a personal and human face on the project, its dangers and outcomes. I enjoyed hearing about the wild nature and native culture of New Mexico and life in the isolated military compound of Los Alamos.

I thought Gilbert did a good job with the narration. Do be aware that this book offers the day in and day out human experience of this time in the format of a novel. If you are interested in a comprehensive history of the atomic bomb it is best to look to a different book. That said, I enjoyed the textural feeling offered by this work of historic fiction.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By ABP on 14-07-15


At first the plural voice "We" seemed odd, but as I listened it became more like the voice of a greek chorus. Imagining these women brought along, having to move blindly without knowing the details or where they were going, and the lives they lived while their husbands built something that still threatens life on this planet to this day, is amazing because it sounds so normal, the wives created a community, while their husbands worked on something which had the power to end a war and the world.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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