109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos

109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos

Jennet Conant / Feb 25, 2021

East Palace Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos Conant author of the bestselling Tuxedo Park offers a human look at the brilliant physicists who for than two years along with their families lived laughed despaired and rejoiced in a secret se

  • Title: 109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos
  • Author: Jennet Conant
  • ISBN: 9780743250078
  • Page: 473
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Conant, author of the bestselling Tuxedo Park, offers a human look at the brilliant physicists who for than two years, along with their families, lived, laughed, despaired and rejoiced in a secret, sequestered, for some claustrophobic city in the New Mexico desert Despite its grand name, 109 East Palace was the nondescript office in Santa Fe that served as a gatewayConant, author of the bestselling Tuxedo Park, offers a human look at the brilliant physicists who for than two years, along with their families, lived, laughed, despaired and rejoiced in a secret, sequestered, for some claustrophobic city in the New Mexico desert Despite its grand name, 109 East Palace was the nondescript office in Santa Fe that served as a gateway to the Los Alamos complex The narrative is framed by the perspective of Dorothy McKibben, who, in running that office, issuing security passes and coordinating logistics, was, says Conant, the gatekeeper to the hidden world of Los Alamos Conant focuses on the day to day experience of the scientists, technicians and families stationed at Los Alamos, fleshing out their history in unexpected ways While her protagonists are brilliant men and women, they re also vibrant characters who chafe at authority, fall in love, argue over housing and drink to excess Less about the science of building the bomb, the book highlights the creation of a unique place and time in which that bomb could be built, and Conant the granddaughter of a Manhattan Project administrator brings to life the colorful, eccentric town of thousands that sprang up on a New Mexico mesa and achieved the unthinkable Publishers Weekly

    • » 109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos || ¶ PDF Read by ✓ Jennet Conant
      473 Jennet Conant
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      Posted by:Jennet Conant
      Published :2020-09-12T01:00:11+00:00

    About "Jennet Conant"

      • Jennet Conant

        Jennet Conant is an American non fiction author and journalist She has written four best selling books about World War II, three of which have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Asia and America, she received a BA degree in Political Theory from Bryn Mawr College in 1982, and double majored in Philosophy at Haverford College She completed a Master s degree in Journalism from New York City s Columbia University in 1983 She was awarded a John J McCloy Fellowship to study politics in Germany.Conant went on to work at Newsweek magazine for seven years, and wrote profiles for Rolling Stone, Spy magazine, and The New York Times Additionally, she was a contributing editor for Esquire, GQ, and Vanity Fair, from which she resigned to write her first book, Tuxedo Park Her profile of James Watson, the co discoverer of the double helix, was featured in The Best American Science Nature Writing 2004.


    1. 109 East Palace by Jennet Conant offers a fresh look at the story of the Manhattan Project, America's secret effort to build the Atom-bomb which eventually ended WWII. The author decided to tell the story through the eyes of Dorthy Mckibbion, who ran the project's office in Santa Fe, and the wives and children of the scientists who worked on "the hill" as the residents quickly took to calling Los Alamos. Conant also discusses how the people of Santa Fe reacted to the changes that WWII brought to [...]

    2. What first struck me about this book was that it was so readable. The first chapter paints a beautiful picture of “father of the atomic bomb” J. Robert Oppenheimer’s first meeting with Dorothy McKibben, a laid back Santa Fean who would become “the gatekeeper” to Los Alamos. Through Dorothy’s eyes, Conant shows us the story of Los Alamos, the scientists who came there, and the atomic bomb — and the charming man behind it all, “Oppie.”I am familiar with much of the stories surrou [...]

    3. This is history made human - I really appreciated that Jennet Conant didn't end her storytelling with the Trinity Site Test or at Hiroshima or Nagasaki.The reader learns the shape of the land that would become home to Robert Oppenheimer's group as they raced to build the bomb. We come to know the story of many of the project's personalities, struggles, and achievements. What is exceptional about these stories is the way they weave together and include frank looks at the pre-war and post-war live [...]

    4. Having lived in Santa Fe and visited Los Alamos on a number of occasions, this book was particularly interesting to me. It gave a close up look at the many individuals who developed the Atomic Bomb, particularly Oppenheimer and his public relations aide, Dorothy. There is quite a picture of how these people tolerated (mostly with heavy drinking) the privations of isolation from family, poor living conditions, and crisis of conscience after the bomb. It was interesting to note the difference in t [...]

    5. What a great read. I can’t say enough about the insight Jennet Conant puts into this work. She has done a masterful job weaving the intricacies of the bomb development, political up-heavel and meshing of over inflated egos into a precise, easy to digest, complex subject matter. We all know Oppenheimer was dubbed, the “Father of the Atomic Bomb,” but how was he able to do it is the real story. We were in a race to beat Germany to the draw. Everyone knew, if Hitler got there first, he’d wa [...]

    6. This fascinating book by the granddaughter of James B. Conant, who administrated the Manhattan Project, tells the "human story" of the creation of Los Alamos National Laboratory and the development of the nuclear bomb near the end of World War II. Though the story is framed as an account of Dorothy McKibbin, the administrator who ran the "front office" of the secret wartime lab at the Santa Fe address that serves as the book's title, it is clearly an homage to J. Robert Oppenheimer and his leade [...]

    7. About 18 months ago, we visited Los Alamos, New Mexico, as part of our "out West" trip. It's the city located high on a mesa in the middle of the desert, formed solely to work on creating the bomb that ended WWII in the 1940s. I was totally fascinated by the place, and this is the 2nd or 3rd book on the topic I've read since."109 East Palace" is so named because that's the address of the office in Santa Fe where all the folks hired to work at Los Alamos went when they first arrived. Inside the u [...]

    8. As the first order of business I'd like to give this novel 4.5 stars. With that finished we can move on to the more interesting bits. For having grown up in Los Alamos and working at the national lab for 5 summers I know shockingly little about the town's war years. In fact, this was my first foray into reading a book detailing the Manhattan Project. I will try to keep the nostalgic influence for my childhood home to a minimum. My initial realization during the first hundred pages was how well C [...]

    9. This is the story of the first atomic bomb, told biographically by piecing together memoirs of many key players from 1940s Los Alamos. The idea was surely inspired by the fact that the author’s grandfather was an administrator for the Manhattan Project, so he knew everyone and eventually shared some of the stories with his family.The problem is that physicists and professors just aren’t very interesting people. The first 100 pages, as the "characters" are all introduced, was some of the most [...]

    10. This was a bargain table book. What a find! It was written by the granddaughter of James B. Conant, administrator of the Manhattan Project.Although I was too young to remember this time in our history, I have always had an interest in WWII. I really enjoyed this booke story of Los Alamos, NM and the secret project to create an atomic weapon. The 'behind the scene' relationships between scientist, military personnel, civilians, and government lend a personal aspect to the story. The familial and [...]

    11. Most interesting book. A tad hard to get into at the outset, but by the middle of the book you felt like you were living on that high plateau with the wind constantly blowing! I think part of the hesitation was my fault, because I thought it was going to be a fictional account, so the painstaking research that the author did surprised me. Nora Gallaher wrote Changing Light, about a scientist who "escapes" from Los Alamos after he learns that the bomb won't be used against Germany but instead aga [...]

    12. This is a riveting story of the building of the bomb at Los Alamos 1943-1945. Since my Dad had the opportunity to go on the Manhattan Project (and decided against it) and I currently live in New Mexico, I found it personally interesting as well. Great characters brought to life and very thorough researchI was fascinated by the two "lead characters"--Robert Oppenheimer and Dorothy McKibben. It sounds like Oppenheimer might have been the only guy who could have pulled this off, and I am horrifed b [...]

    13. Truly fascinating. A great history professor recommended this book and 5 years later I finally got around to finishing it. It's a little dry and long winded in some parts but she does a brilliant job humanizing the players. My grandparent's home is on Palace Ave in Santa Fe, and I love reading about this tiny corner of the world during one my favorite historical periods. I have also been to Trinity Site, and there's this energy that hangs in the air there, It's very electric. I think Oppenheimer [...]

    14. This is an excellent book on the.cial.cts of the Manhattan Project, giving good insight into the obstacles faced by J. Robert Oppenheimer as he shepherded a large group of scientists toward the goal of designing a nuclear weapon. While other books have been written on the science of this effort, this is the best description of the human effort that went into the project - particularly on the problems faced by the scientists and their families while living in isolation in Los Alamos. Oppenheimer [...]

    15. Extensively informative and broad-scoped. Clarity of focus and presentation. Well-documented citations of personal interviews and numerous resource documents. Additionally, considering the topic, it isn't dry or over technical, rather, it flows quite fluid and friendly. The only drawbacks are - too wordy in places regarding sub-topics of lesser importance, duplication of information such as the deplorable housing conditions and baby boomspeated in numerous chapters. Overall, a very good enlighte [...]

    16. In light of my new found interest in all things New Mexico, I got this book on cd. So far, very interesting. Just the assembling of the team and the personalities involved is already engaging. On my next trip there, I hope to visit Los Alomos.The "next trip there" has come and gone, and I did visit Los Alamos. The book added to my interest in L.A and L.A. added to my enjoyment of the book.

    17. Even though I Read 109 East Palace quite some time ago,certain events are still vivid.I went on to read Tuxedo Park I was so engrossed,shocked that we lived so close to Tuxedo Park and until I read the book was Shocked!Being a WW2 junkie and if you are as well,I highly recommend both books

    18. Cool assemblage of stories about working at Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project. Makes me ponder: what if my calling in life was to build the most horrible/destructive weapon imaginable?

    19. Parts of this book were little slow, but I enjoyed reading the history about this project, not knowing much about it before I read it.

    20. This is the second book by Jennet Conant I have read and enjoyed it thoroughly. The book centers on Robert Oppenheimer and several of the main people who worked with him or were in support roles. Conant conducted many interviews and used many personal memoirs to show the relationships as well as the very complicated dynamics among everyone. It does delve into the specifics of the atomic bomb research but is centered more on the people, their personalities, how they meshed together and the lives [...]

    21. At first, I didn’t know what to make of this historical account of the Los Alamos project. However, I soon found it to be an interesting and gripping history of the project and the people involved. The author focused on the human dynamics involved, including the moral decisions facing the scientists in creating a weapon of mass destruction on a scale never seen before, versus the desire to bring a speedy end to World War II. In addition, the description of the competing agendas of the military [...]

    22. I was impressed by the world of Los Alamos when I first visited the museum there a decade ago, and this is the kind of book I have been looking for ever since, and was fortunate enough to stumble upon in its eponymous location.It is a great concept, retelling the story of the secret laboratory on the mesa with a special focus on Robert Oppenheimer's office manager, Dorothy McKibbin, who was a smart, highly educated, and poetic soul with, it seems, a huge motherly influence on everyone who worked [...]

    23. For many Americans, the movie "The Day After" comprises all of our knowledge about the atomic bomb. This book details the selection of a rather unexpected scientist to be Director of the Los Alamos Project, the establishment of the site, and the ongoing work and security involved to keep it secret from the rest of the world. It is also an acknowledgement of the loyalty and determination of Dorothy McKibbin who managed to make the scientists marooned at Los Alamos fell more at home while protecti [...]

    24. An interesting account of the birth and growth of Los Alamos. Not a technical history of the development of the bomb so much as a history of the site and many of its luminaries. It focuses mainly on Oppenheimer and the remarkable Santa Fe resident Dorothy McKibbin gatekeeper and surrogate mother of the site. The latter part of the book deals with Oppie's run-ins with the witch-hunting cold-warriors who managed to destroy him.

    25. I'm a huge history readerd loved the back-stories behind the Manhattan project and its LosAlamos, NM - based scientific community.Not long after reading this, I had a chance to visit 109 East Palace in Sante Fewhich is now a boutique shopd so it was very cool.

    26. Wonderful book about Los Alamos. Got interested in the atomic bomb while in Santa Fe. Trinity, Robert Oppenheimer and all that.

    27. A very detailed account of Los alamos. I couldn't help feel saddened by all the hard work that went into such a horrifying project.

    28. Well written and informative.Well written and informative.They want me to write 16 more words but there is nothing left to say. So here you go, one two three

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