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October 2015 Vol. 53 No. 2

University of North Carolina Press

The following review appeared in the October 2015 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences
History, Geography & Area Studies - North America

2014-38124 CIP
Freeman, Lindsey A. Longing for the bomb: Oak Ridge and atomic nostalgia. North Carolina, 2015. 234p bibl index afp ISBN 9781469622378 pbk, $26.95; ISBN 9781469622385 ebook, $25.99.

The federal government created three cities to build the atomic bombs that shortened the Pacific Theater of WW II and prevented the need for an Allied invasion of the Japanese home islands.  Oak Ridge, TN (site X), the largest of the three, enriched the uranium for Little Boy.  Gated, guarded, and virtually invisible to the outside world, eminent domain allowed the land’s condemnation and removal of the residents while leaving behind John Hendrix’s early-20th-century legend predicting a large city in the Smoky Mountains that would help defeat an unknown enemy.  Only a very few highly placed individuals knew exactly what was going on.  Though modeled on a garden city concept, what some thought of as a Utopia had slums as well as segregation based on race and class.  Freeman (sociology, SUNY–Buffalo State) brings the history of Oak Ridge from its earliest days of secrecy, where soldiers killed in accidents counted as war casualties, to the present.  From its creation to nostalgia tours today, Oak Ridge must be remembered, both for those saved and those incinerated.

--D. R. Jamieson, Ashland University

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.