A Guide to the Manhattan Project in New Mexico traces the journey of young Manhattan Project recruits from their arrival in New Mexico to the successful test of the world’s first atomic bomb near Alamogordo. With colorful photographs, it weaves together eyewitness accounts, history, maps and more.
The book is divided into three geographic sections that follow a loose chronology. The first section is “En Route to Los Alamos” and includes stories about La Fonda Hotel, where Manhattan Project workers tried to trick suspicious locals into thinking the lab was building electric rockets. Other highlights include tales of espionage in Santa Fe, dances at the San Ildefonso Pueblo and Edith Warner’s tea house at Otowi Bridge where she served the Manhattan Project scientists her magical chocolate cake.
The “Los Alamos” section previews what visitors might see at a Manhattan Project National Historical Park which Congress may designate in the near future. Visitors can walk along Bathtub Row where the project’s top scientists lived and can enter Fuller Lodge, the site of many Saturday night socials among laboratory personnel. The guide also features six properties now “behind the fence” that are in the process of being restored.
Humorous stories such as “Oppenheimer the Cook” or “Babysitting the Bomb” at the Trinity site are sure to captivate readers. The book includes extras such as a section on “Atomic Basics” and a three-page chronology as well as suggested “Places to See” and maps. As author Robert S. Norris wrote, it is “an essential guidebook for the atomic tourist and a contribution to the historical literature about the bomb.”
Length: 64 pages. Paperback.