The Manhattan Project was a top secret operation during WWII which succeeded in creating the first atomic bomb. 109 East Palace is the story of that operation, told from a personal, rather than scientific point of view.
The scientists working to end the war at Los Alamos were the best and the brightest in the world. However, many of the scientists involved in the project were badly conflicted about what they were doing and the world they were creating. Conant looks at the personalities, relationships and inner turmoil of the scientists as they created a weapon that could quite easily destroy the earth.
The main characters in the book are Dorothy McKibben, who was the gatekeeper for the project and worked in the Santa Fe office located at 109 East Palace; and Robert Oppenheimer, who was the conflicted father of the atomic bomb. Conant also fills the book with details about the lives of the brilliant scientists and their spouses, telling the story of real people in extraordinary circumstances.
The book is also available as an audio book on 5 cd's.