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Connecting Book Clubs

Jan Eliasberg introduces free downloads and tools for book clubs to connect with her and her book, Hannah's War.

There is nothing I love more than talking with Book Clubs about Hannah’s War; the dynamic engagement with readers bring the characters, the story, and the themes of Hannah’s War to life.

For discussion questions, please download the Readers Group Guide.

For a list of Hannah’s War-themed food and drink, please see my food and drink posts.

I look forward to answering questions, sharing my research, and my passion about Hannah’s War with your Book Club soon.

Photo information and credit: Shift change at the Y-12 uranium enrichment facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, during the Manhattan Project. Notice the billboard: “Make CEW count — Continue to protect project information.” circa 1945 © Ed Westcott / US Army / Manhattan Engineer District

Food & Drink


Dr. Hannah Weiss is poised between worlds, the genteel European world of her memories – of science, art, music, and romance -- and the parched, jagged, barbed-wire of Los Alamos, a rugged encampment perched on the edge of a harsh mesa. I’ve put together a HANNAH’S WAR menu with food and drink representing both the old world and the new.

In the utterly improbable, pressure-cooker world of Los Alamos, New Mexico, scientists were racing against time to crack the heart of the atom before the Nazis. By day, the high stress of intense work, the moral ambiguities of their goal, and the uncertainty of life in a time of war; by night, they were indulging in the debauched revelry of escape.

What better way to escape than with alcohol and dessert?

Interviews, Features and Music

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About Hannah's War

Award-winning filmmaker Jan Eliasberg’s HANNAH’S WAR, for readers of The Nightingale and The Alice Network, a thrilling historical debut about a female scientist working to develop the first atomic bomb during World War II, and the young military investigator determined to uncover her secret past.

Publication: March 3, 2020


“I flew through Hannah’s War, a gripping true story long overdue to be told, of a brilliant woman physicist working to develop the first atomic bomb and the secret she fights to protect.”

About the Book

Hannah's War Excerpt

Excerpt from Hannah’s War

Thanks to Little, Brown for making this excerpt from Hannah’s War available to my readers.


They come for me at dawn, as I knew they would. I’ve slept in my clothes, and I ask if I may I step into my shoes. They allow that, but nothing else. He tells me to go outside, and I do. Parked on the dirt road between my barracks and the laboratory is a vehicle the Americans quaintly call a “paddy wagon,” an absurdly chipper term for the dank iron trolley that will transport me from Los Alamos to the prison at Fort Leavenworth, where I will wait again (not for long, I fear) for my perfunctory trial and inevitable execution.

The chain reaction leading to my death has been accelerated by my own divided heart. I see that now in a way I never could when all was theory, white chalk on blackboard, equations like pale bones scattered across scorched earth. The man I shouldn’t have trusted latches the manacle around my wrist and fixes it to a hasp welded hard to the bench.

“I’ll protect you,” he says, with such earnestness it makes me smile.

“You’re lying again.”

He glances over his shoulder. Sufficiently assured that no one can see us, he takes my face between his hands. “I will protect you, Hannah. If I can.”

I think he might kiss me, but that would be a danger to both of us. He is a meticulous and cautious man by nature, skilled at the art of keeping secrets. Most lovers are. I have limited empirical evidence to support this hypothesis, having loved only two men, but both of them held truth at a safe distance. Safe for them, not for me. His promise of protection—however well intended—doesn’t comfort me. So I comfort myself with equations.

The distance from the laboratories in Los Alamos, New Mexico, to the prison compound in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is 874 miles. We left when dawn was still a wishful glow behind

dark mountains. We are traveling, I estimate, at an average speed of forty-two miles per hour, allowing for stops—

Oh God. Will they stop? Will they allow me that simple comfort?

No. I won’t think about that. The equations. Stay with them. I drum the fingers of my free hand, playing an invisible keyboard, on the metal beside my legs. This is my habit when I run numbers, drumming my fingers on hard surfaces, desks, and tables. A distance of 874 miles at an average speed of 42 miles per hour creates a probability of 20.8095 hours of actual travel time, plus the approximately 27 minutes it would take for the MPs to force the paddy wagon to the side of the road, slide a bag over my head, and—

Stay with the equations.

“I will protect you, Hannah,” he said. “If I can.”

A distance of 874 miles, leaving at dawn, allowing for the variable If I can.

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