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I have long been fascinated by the Manhattan Project and what happened at Los Alamos and have read a number of books on the subject. When I saw a review of "109 East Palace", I knew this was a book that would interest me. I was delighted to find it available on Audible and it was as good as I expected. My only criticism is that the only available version on Audible is abridged. I have an aversion to abridged books. It's like looking at a balck and white copy of the Mona Lisa and trying to gain some sense of the impact of the original. I realize some people who are in a rush prefer them but I wish we had a choice of abridged and unabridged versions as we do with some Audible titles. If you are interested in the history of Los Alamos, this is a book you should have.
26 of 26 people found this review helpful
The sound quality is great, the narration is clear and professional. Oddly there is a dreamy sentimental quality about the production ( I mean this in a good way), so much of the book feels friendly and informative like listening to a favorite clear minded Aunt filling you in on the missing pieces of handed down family stories. Finally, you feel like you have the whole picture given to you by one who knows, someone who was there - no more rumors! Probably not the best book to listen too if you are missed some important hours of sleep, the narrator's voice is so calm and soothing you may very well find yourself studying the undersides of your eyelids.
The prelude to the book is read by the author which, personally, I appreciate. It is surprising how much personal and reflective material has been out there simply waiting for J.Conant to collect and organize. She's done a good job of presenting information that could easily be boring. In a straight forward way she uses everyday details and reflections found in seemingly mundane sources of scientists, office workers, and their family members involved in this enormous enterprise in such a way that it's easy to feel like I would recognize 1950's Los Alamos if I stumbled on it through a time warp.
I especially enjoyed the tidbits that described what outsiders thought about this mysterious place, and descriptions of the conditions within the community. Good book. Balanced writing of a touchy subject. This is a book about people and places not of political positioning or the mechanical creation of the bomb. Easily recommendable.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I have read several things on the making of the atomic bomb. A good combination is F.G. Gosling's Manhattan Project and this personal account by the lady that watched the door. It gives quite a personal story observing allot of the main characters that worked on the project such as Oppenheimer and Feynman. A few of her stories are told in Feynman's own books so it's great to get both accounts. Highly recommended.