Start: 6:00 pm
At the height of World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians—many of them young women from small towns across the South—were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war—when Oak Ridge’s secret was revealed.Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it—women who are now in their eighties and nineties— The Girls of Atomic City ($27.00) rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity. Denise Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage. Combining the grand-scale human drama of The Worst Hard Time with the intimate biography and often troubling science of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Girls of Atomic City is a lasting and important addition to our country’s history.Denise Kiernan is the author of several books, including Signing Their Lives Away and Signing Their Rights Away. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Discover, Ms., and other national publications.
Start: 7:00 pm
Since 1860, the world has warmed significantly and the ocean's climb has speeded. The sea level changes are cumulative and gradual; no one knows when they will end. The Attacking Ocean ($30.00), from celebrated author Brian Fagan, tells a tale of the rising complexity of the relationship between humans and the sea at their doorsteps, a complexity created not by the oceans, which have changed but little. What has changed is us, and the number of us on earth.Brian Fagan is emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Beyond the Blue Horizon, Elixir, the Los Angeles Times bestseller Cro-Magnon, and the New York Times bestseller The Great Warming, and many other books, including Fish on Friday, The Long Summer, and The Little Ice Age. He has decades of experience at sea and is the author of several titles for sailors, including the widely praised Cruising Guide to Central and Southern California. He lives in Santa Barbara, CA.