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The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women
Author: Kate Moore
Publisher: Published May 2nd 2017 by Sourcebooks (first published April 18th 2017)
ISBN: 9781492649359
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.Meanwhile, hundre The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come. Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives...

30 review for The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    Congratulations-winner of Best Historical & Biography 2017! I'm going to try and not cry while writing this review. I actually read this one back at the beginning of October, but I was too emotional to write a review straight away and have avoided it since. Sometimes I have trouble with emotions; for many years I avoided some of the richest books with the highest quality stories because I simply was terrified of having to process the heavy feelings behind them. I've slowly begun working on th Congratulations-winner of Best Historical & Biography 2017! I'm going to try and not cry while writing this review. I actually read this one back at the beginning of October, but I was too emotional to write a review straight away and have avoided it since. Sometimes I have trouble with emotions; for many years I avoided some of the richest books with the highest quality stories because I simply was terrified of having to process the heavy feelings behind them. I've slowly begun working on this issue, and while I can't read a slew of emotional books in a row, I have begun to place them strategically in my line up. I think the hardest part about this one is it's real; these women existed in our world and suffered the things discussed in this book which tears my heart into little pieces. I've watched firsthand how cancer can ravage the body of someone you love, but that was just a small piece of the hell these brave warriors had to endure. Ugh, grab a hanky and let's get going. This was not a book I could race through; I read another review stating how she had to pick up the book and place it down in what felt like 2 minute increments-this is exactly how it felt slowly trudging through this story. My initial interest in the history behind "the radium girls" spawned after reading another book that had a small chapter of information in it titled Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime by Val McDermid (highly recommend this book even to those crime fiction fans who do not typically read non-fiction as this read like fiction!). After the brief intro into their story, I knew I had to find out more. I was blown away at their courage and strength which is portrayed in this book as well. The hardest part about reading this one was the depth it went into to ensure we understand just how much these women suffered and how honorable their fight was to fight those who placed them in this position and find justice. One of the most important takeaways I found though was how proud and honored this story made me feel to be a woman. These females were a class act; they were determined during a time when women were considered second class citizens. We could certainly use some role models such as these in today's world; the example of the strength in numbers and how to hold each other up when you are falling apart, physically and emotionally, was not lost on me. I found myself going to great lengths wondering what happened to our society between now and then; have the subtle advancements for women caused us to compete with each other in seclusion rather than band together while building one another up? I feel like I could ramble on for days regarding this book, but if you can stomach the horror and emotion regarding this much overlooked part of our history, I think it will ensure deep reflection and cause us to question some of how we approach living our lives and what we hold important. I know I'll hold this story deep in my soul for the rest of my life, it was that powerful. *I'd like to thank the author and publisher for providing my copy via NetGalley; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    “I can’t laugh about those poor women who painted the clocks,” said Sarah. “That’s one thing I can’t laugh about.” “Nobody wants you to.” said her grandmother. “You run along now.” Sarah was referring to an industrial tragedy that was notorious at the time. Sarah’s family was in the middle of it, and sick about it. Sarah had already told me that she was sick about it, and so had her brother, my roommate, and so had their father and mother. The tragedy was a slow one that could not be stopped once “I can’t laugh about those poor women who painted the clocks,” said Sarah. “That’s one thing I can’t laugh about.” “Nobody wants you to.” said her grandmother. “You run along now.” Sarah was referring to an industrial tragedy that was notorious at the time. Sarah’s family was in the middle of it, and sick about it. Sarah had already told me that she was sick about it, and so had her brother, my roommate, and so had their father and mother. The tragedy was a slow one that could not be stopped once it had begun, and it began in the family’s clock company, the Wyatt Clock Company, one of the oldest companies in the United States, in Brockton, Massachusetts. It was an avoidable tragedy. The Wyatts never tried to justify it, and would not hire lawyers to justify it. It could not be justified. It went like this: In the nineteen twenties the United States Navy awarded Wyatt Clock a contract to produce several thousand standardized ships’ clocks that could be easily read in the dark. The dials were to be black. The hands and the numerals were to be hand-painted with white paint containing the radioactive element radium. About half a hundred Brockton women, most of them relatives of regular Wyatt Clock Company employees, were hired to paint the hands and numerals. It was a way to make pin money. Several of the women who had young children to look after were allowed to do the work at home. Now all those women had died or were about to die most horribly with their bones crumbling, with their heads rotting off. The cause was radium poisoning. Every one of them had been told by a foreman, it had since come out in court, that she should keep a fine point on her brush by moistening it and shaping it with her lips from time to time. Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut (1979) Charlotte Purcell, one of the painters, demonstrates the lip-pointing technique that they used to get the brushes to a fine point. Chicago Daily Times http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/sites/... In the real world, the girls mostly worked because they needed the money. They painted watch faces and instrument dials with paint containing radium from 1910-1935. They didn’t all die, many of them did, and the destruction of their bones was horrific. Their employers did fight the girl's lawsuits and fought dirty. Kate Moore tells the Radium Girls stories their personalities, hopes and friendships. She makes them more than a group of anonymous plaintiffs. The term 'girls' is accurate at the time of their employment licking and painting with radioactive material. They were so very young at twenty-eight, Sarah Maillefer appeared matronly to her teenaged coworkers. Some of them were little more than children, “records show that some were as young as eleven.” At the Ottawa, Illinois factory, they played in the radium using surplus paint on their eyelashes and lips painting. The same as the Brazillian children played with the blue “carnival glitter” in the Goiânia. The results were lethal, although for workers exposed to and consuming radium all day the play is unlikely to have a measurable increase in toxicity. The dial painters are estimated to have 500 times the radiation limit. I kept remembering an interview with Fuzhou factory owner, Roger Wong, in the 2005 documentary, “Mardi Gras: Made in China.” 95% of his factory’s workforce are women mainly teenage girls because it is “easier to control the lady workers.” The toxin there is to Styrene, which impacts brain and nerve function as well as a suspected carcinogen. The working conditions and pay are worse than the clean factories and good jobs of the dial painters. Nine women among fourteen plaintiffs seeking compensation from Radium Dial Company for asserted permanent injury suffered as a result of poisoning contracted through work painting radium on watch dials, Feb. 11, 1938. (AP Photo/Carl Linde) https://timeline.com/radium-girls-kat... Their legal victory 1939, after eight appeals, and the public awareness it raised led to the occupational safety regulations which protect us to this day. ___________________________________________________________ http://www.theradiumgirls.com/the-gir... https://www.phactual.com/magical-blue... http://www.nytimes.com/1987/12/02/wor... https://www.ericdsnider.com/movies/ma... http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/24/mov... https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/... http://www.cleanwateraction.org/files...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !! 4.5 Stars rounded up I wanted to showcase their shining spirits in a book that would tell their story – not just the story of the famous professionals who had helped them. I aimed to chart their journey: from the joy of their first lucrative paycheck, through the first aching tooth, to the courage each girl had to find inside herself in order to fight back against the employer who had poisoned her. I wanted to walk their routes to work and visit their homes and graves. I wished !! NOW AVAILABLE !! 4.5 Stars rounded up I wanted to showcase their shining spirits in a book that would tell their story – not just the story of the famous professionals who had helped them. I aimed to chart their journey: from the joy of their first lucrative paycheck, through the first aching tooth, to the courage each girl had to find inside herself in order to fight back against the employer who had poisoned her. I wanted to walk their routes to work and visit their homes and graves. I wished to trace the path between the Maggia sisters’ houses and appreciate how difficult it must have been to manage the steep, sloping hill with a radium-induced limp. Seventeen young women, some very young, with a lifetime of promise ahead of them. In a time when jobs were scarce and glamorous jobs were few and far between, landing a job with Radium Luminous Materials Corporation in Newark, New Jersey was considered a coup. A factory job, in essence, but they referred to it as a studio, these girls were paid to paint watch dial numerals and hands with a luminous substance that made them visible in the dark. On 1 February 1917, Katherine Schaub was making her way to “the studio” for her first day on the job. Katherine was just fourteen years old. Radium. Its virtues were extolled everywhere one looked. Magazines, newspapers called it the greatest find of history. New radium products popped up with claims of everything from improved health to being the answer to eternal life. Katherine only saw it as beautiful, a luminous glow. At first, Katherine was trained by Mae Cubberly. Another young woman, Mae was twenty years old. Using very fine paintbrushes, she instructed Katherine in the technique that all of the dial painters were taught. Lip-pointing: putting the brushes in their mouths to make the tip finer, a technique learned from girls who formerly worked in china-painting factories. Mae even lets her know that she had been worried about ingesting the radium and asked if the radium would hurt them, but had been told it wasn’t dangerous, if anything it would be beneficial. Lip…Dip…Paint. When working in the “darkroom,” Katherine would call in workers, and could see the signs of the luminous paint on the worker, on the clothes, on the lips, on face and hands, shining. They looked glorious, like otherworldly angels. And then America joined the war in Europe. Demand increased. The company opened a plant in Orange, New Jersey, not too far from the Newark factory. The company expanded right into the middle of a residential neighborhood, and some of the new workers hired lived there. Grace Fryer, eighteen – her two brothers would be heading to France to fight alongside millions. Irene Corby, seventeen. Of course, the new girls were learning to “Lip…Dip…Paint.” And years pass, it’s the early 1920s, some girls had left the radium company, but it was never long before their spot was filled with some young, new girl thrilled to land this glamorous job. Some of the girls began to complain of being tired, mysterious and unrelenting pains. Some left to find other jobs, some just left, incapable of the demands any longer. Keep in mind that the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, was only ratified in 1920. In a world dominated by men, these mysterious illnesses were cast off as frivolous, “women’s complaints.” This is the story of their fight to be heard, of their fight to find the real cause of these myriad plagues that beset them. Who would be the ones to champion their cause, and who would be those rich and powerful men who would not only deceive them, deny their own wrong-doing, lying through their teeth, making empty promises of recompense which would later be denied or reneged on. Heartbreaking as it is, these stories are not about delicate little flowers who fall trembling at the feet of the rich and powerful. These are women, who, though physically weakened, found the strength and determination to do what needed to be done - not only themselves or their families, but to protect those still working with radium, and everyone in the future. This is a well-researched story, and it shows. The sense of injustice is palpable, the story flows evenly, but varies from the fact-delivering, non-fictional voice as the author enters more emotional territory and paints the picture of scenes one could only imagine without her words. A compelling account of another era, the evolution of the rights of the average worker, but especially those working women whose voices they tried, in vain, to suppress and invalidate. Pub Date: 1 May 2017 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Sourcebooks

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Whew! What a gut-wrenching read...and fight...for truth and justice!We start with a short eerie prologue from 1901, and soon see the chilling....never to be forgotten phrase: Lip...Dip...Paint - - - Such frightening words!THE RADIUM GIRLS is a truly shocking non-fiction read about women in the 1920's who were hired to paint watch dials with a luminous and deadly substance. Young, naive and conscientious, the shining girls kept lip-dipping and painting to achieve that precise point even when symp Whew! What a gut-wrenching read...and fight...for truth and justice!We start with a short eerie prologue from 1901, and soon see the chilling....never to be forgotten phrase: Lip...Dip...Paint - - - Such frightening words!THE RADIUM GIRLS is a truly shocking non-fiction read about women in the 1920's who were hired to paint watch dials with a luminous and deadly substance. Young, naive and conscientious, the shining girls kept lip-dipping and painting to achieve that precise point even when symptoms of tooth and jawbone loss became the norm....even when mouth sores would not heal....they needed to support their families....they trusted their employer.The gleaming substance was safe after-all, "the local paper had declared: Radium may be eaten, it seems that in years to come we shall be able to buy radium tablets---and add years to our lives!" But that was not so....as one wealthy man discovered...."The radium water worked fine until his jaw came off."One agonizing death after another is described here...right along with a multitude of corporate lies, cover-ups and acts of medical fraud, but...finally...after long fought court battles, painful deaths and body exhumations, safety standards resulted that saved future generations of workers....even the deceased contributed to science.Historically informative and unsettling read. Recommend checking out some of the old "glowing" advertisements, and the story behind THE RADIUM GIRLS bronze statue erected in Ottawa, Illinois. Interesting stuff!Many thanks to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS for the free ebook in exchange for an unbiased review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pouting Always

    I saw a lot of positive reviews for this one so I really wanted to read it and I'm glad I did. During the beginning of the twentieth century radioactive elements were newly discovered and many were excited about the possible curative uses for them. One of the elements radium was used to paint watch dials as well as in many beauty and health products marketed to the masses. When World War I broke out the production of radium painted clocks rose and many more women became employed painting them. T I saw a lot of positive reviews for this one so I really wanted to read it and I'm glad I did. During the beginning of the twentieth century radioactive elements were newly discovered and many were excited about the possible curative uses for them. One of the elements radium was used to paint watch dials as well as in many beauty and health products marketed to the masses. When World War I broke out the production of radium painted clocks rose and many more women became employed painting them. The common practice was to use one's mouth to smooth out the ends of the paint brush leading to many women ingesting lethal amounts of radium. Eventually when the effects started to show the women had trouble finding out what caused their sickness and then trying to get the companies to acknowledge and help them pay the medical bills pilling up. The author succeeded in humanizing and bringing to life the radium girls and I honestly was boiling over with rage through out when the companies wouldn't help the girls out even though they were doing fine financially. I can't believe they went to all those lengths instead of just doing the right thing to begin with, especially because it seems like it honestly would have been cheaper to just help the girls with their medical bills.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    4.5 Stars Imagine you have your first job. Imagine how proud you are. Or maybe it is not your first job, but it is a fun job where you get to socialize if you get your job done. A job that allows you to do something important for your country. Imagine you are helping your friends and sisters obtain a job as well. Imagine you work with a super cool substance which glows in the dark. A substance you believe is safe - your employer tells you is safe. A substance that one young woman painted on her o 4.5 Stars Imagine you have your first job. Imagine how proud you are. Or maybe it is not your first job, but it is a fun job where you get to socialize if you get your job done. A job that allows you to do something important for your country. Imagine you are helping your friends and sisters obtain a job as well. Imagine you work with a super cool substance which glows in the dark. A substance you believe is safe - your employer tells you is safe. A substance that one young woman painted on her own teeth before a date. A substance that Thomas Edison deemed dangerous. A substance you paint on. A substance that some women were known to eat the paint because they enjoyed it. Now, imagine how painful it must be to have your teeth fall out, to have your jaw come out, to have the bones in your face disintegrate. Imagine your bones begin to hurt so bad you can barely move. Imagine one leg suddenly becoming 4 inches shorter than the other. Imagine bleeding to death. Imagine giving birth to a stillborn baby. Imagine going from being young and healthy to being dead in less than a week. The poor women in this book did not have to imagine any of these things because they lived this. This book is about the young women who wanted to do their part to help the war effort during World War I. These women worked in radium factories painting the faces on clocks. They were working with a luminous material and were come to be called as the "shining girls" They took a tremendous amount of pride in their jobs and many liked that they could "glow" in the dark. But then one by one they began having dental problems. The dental problems were only the beginning. The women began to die horribly painful deaths. Their loved ones left with questions unanswered. Most of the women were misdiagnosed in the beginning. Eventually their deaths became connected and the dangers of radium and radium poisoning were known. Thus, began a huge scandal and a fight for workers’ rights. The writing of this book was captivating. I found myself absorbed in these women's stories. Even as they were dying, these women tried hard to complete their doctor’s tests to determine if radium was to blame for their impending death. The Author did a wonderful job in bringing these women's stories to life. To show how they and their families had to battle for their rights. How a company can deny accountability and turn their back on these women. How their loved ones and lawyers fought for them and their rights. Wowza. What a wonderfully informative, sad, hopeful and interesting book. I learned a lot. I love when a book makes me think, feel, and learn. I had all these things going on when I read this book. I highly recommend this book. I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    What seemed like a fun, good paying job, especially for the times turns into an epic nightmare of pain and suffering for the girls who worked with radium, hand painting dials. My eldest granddaughter lived in Ottawa for a time and it is a town that is quaint, charming and has a great state park, Starved Rock, that we have gone to for years. I never knew about this factory nor anything about the history of these poor girls before this book. The author deserves kudos for bringing this huge miscarr What seemed like a fun, good paying job, especially for the times turns into an epic nightmare of pain and suffering for the girls who worked with radium, hand painting dials. My eldest granddaughter lived in Ottawa for a time and it is a town that is quaint, charming and has a great state park, Starved Rock, that we have gone to for years. I never knew about this factory nor anything about the history of these poor girls before this book. The author deserves kudos for bringing this huge miscarriage to the attention of readers. Why I gave it only three stars. I think probably if you read it will depend on what you are looking for, and once again I found a blurb misleading. I though I would get to know these girls with a bit more depth, but so many girls are mentioned that was virtually Impossible though some are mentioned more often then others. The skipping around between the plants, the two locations was a bit disruptive and confusing at times. Their suffering, the horror of what they eventually go through, so many died, so young, this does come through, loud and clear, rightfully so. Still all that I mentioned, did make for repetitious reading. I expected a more straightforward narrative, an intimate narrative account,and that is not this book, though I am very glad I read it. Big companies, doing bad things, hiding things for profit, are still and always will I believe happen. Avarice and greed are two of the seven deadly sins for a reason. Makes me wonder what we are doing today, eating or taking that we think is wonderful, that will turn out to be detrimental.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    Update!!! Interview with the author can now be found here: http://avalinahsbooks.space/interview... They were called The Girls With Radioactive Bones. There were newspaper headlines such as ' Living Dead' Win In Court' about them. And all that – almost a hundred years ago. I'm going to tell you a very painful, sad, but strong story of fighting for your rights, for justice, for your honor even. So let's start. If there was ever a time that I wanted to believe the Christian hell with burning pi Update!!! Interview with the author can now be found here: http://avalinahsbooks.space/interview... They were called The Girls With Radioactive Bones. There were newspaper headlines such as ' Living Dead' Win In Court' about them. And all that – almost a hundred years ago. I'm going to tell you a very painful, sad, but strong story of fighting for your rights, for justice, for your honor even. So let's start. If there was ever a time that I wanted to believe the Christian hell with burning pits of fire, it would be when reading The Radium Girls. It's because you can sell anything. You can make people believe the worst poison is a cure. You can sell other people's lives. And in the process, sell your own soul. And that's what the burning hell is there for. So if you still haven't heard what The Radium Girls is about, let it be my pleasure to enlighten you. Back in the early 20th century, people didn't know a lot about radiation . Rather, they did, but they didn't have a habit of sharing information, like we do now. Which is why it was thought that radium, a highly radioactive substance, was in fact good for you. Because it sold well. Because any miracle cure always sells well. So nobody even batted an eyelash when radium dial clock factories sprang up and started hiring young women to paint in their studios. Not wearing any protective suits. Putting the radium-covered brush straight into their mouths. Ingesting the radium. Like they were instructed. Because 'the radium is good for you'. It will put rosy cheeks on you. Photo courtesy of The Atlantic It's not that they didn't bat an eyelash, really – they were actually even jealous of the girls, of their shining clothes and shining hair – as they returned from work. All covered in radioactive, glaring radium. Like a fairytale curse – enchanted pixie dust, that will bring you happiness, a fortune, that will make your position coveted and make every other girl jealous of your angelic glow. And yet, coming with a price akin to the fairytale one, where you have to give away your firstborn. Which was also what some of these girls pretty much did. Unfortunately for them, back in the 1920's, the US government wasn't too keen about interfering with companies. So when they started dying horrible, torturous deaths one by one, dropping like flies, nobody intervened. They were called names. Liars. They were said to have died of sexually transmitted diseases. All the while suffering the worst kind of physical pain, because... the radium was literally in their bones. So much so, that decades, hundreds of years after we're all gone, the remains of these girls in their graves will still glow and emit radiation. So this story is about how these poor, brave women fought for justice, for at least a little bit of honor in the end of their lives, and for the ones after them. For all of you. Because this is why you can now boast some safety in your jobs. This is why you are not forced to quit when you get sick. It's also why your bosses are not allowed to blatantly lie to you if they make you work with dangerous substances. And especially as women (if you, reader, are one), you have a lot to thank these girls for. I could say so much about this story. In fact, I could quote the entire book. But that would kind of defeat the purpose of you reading it, wouldn't it? Which is what I must urge you to do, because you must know. You must know how much pain it took for our lives to be paved the way they are, to build up to this point. This is the least we can do for these girls – hear their story. Say a prayer for them. Remember them. The women we meet in this book are all so exceptional, bright, warm, cheerful. The way some of them fight this incredibly crippling condition they're faced with was so inspiring. And heartbreaking, at the same time. This book doesn't read like like non-fiction, for starters! You will be drawn into the story instantly, you will even cry. Some of you – more than once. You will curse the people who did this to them, even though they knew what they were doing. You will be angry, maybe even furious. I don't see how anyone could remain a stone statue in the presence of something like this. I dare you. But your heart will also swell with love. For the wonderful people who helped them. For the husbands and lovers of those young women who never threw them away, even when they were helpless shadows of their former selves, unable to move, to speak, to eat. You will bless the few lawyers and judges who weren't in it for the money, who fought for justice and for their own belief in the world. And most of all, your heart will swell with love for those young women who had no other option but to die, to die a graceful death, to die a proud death – because that's all that was left to them. Precious materials are more precious than human life. Such is the tendency today as well. Maybe not in the Western world anymore. But in some places of the world it still is. In the beginning of this post, I said anything can be sold. This book will make you wonder what is being sold to you right now. I am also very happy to announce to you all that the author Kate Moore has agreed to give an interview on my blog! I will be publishing it in the coming two weeks, most likely, and you are very welcome to hear the story of how this book came to be. I have a lot of respect for Kate because of how warmly she treated the memory of the girls when she was writing this book. I am also deeply thankful to Kate Moore and Sourcebooks for giving me an advance copy of in exchange for my honest review. This was a bigger gift than you could imagine. This book was worth all my love and all my tears. If you feel for these girls and their story, please share my post. We must make stories like this heard. I want this story to be known by as many people as possible, so we can all honor their memory. Thank you for reading!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    I found this book very different from anything I've ever read previously. It evoked such emotion with the details it revealed throughout and was both highly readable and thrilling. These women deserve to be recognised for the huge sacrifices they made, all they asked was the same as most of us do now - a steady job with money coming in, yet, what they got turned into something else entirely. Kate Moore did exactly what she set out to do by writing a truly honest and heartbreaking tale of these i I found this book very different from anything I've ever read previously. It evoked such emotion with the details it revealed throughout and was both highly readable and thrilling. These women deserve to be recognised for the huge sacrifices they made, all they asked was the same as most of us do now - a steady job with money coming in, yet, what they got turned into something else entirely. Kate Moore did exactly what she set out to do by writing a truly honest and heartbreaking tale of these incredibly brave and shining women whose lives were taken for granted by the greedy radium companies. They knew of the harm radium could do but in order to profit from the radium binge, let the women continue with their practices. This is an important book with regards to workplace reform but also will be of interest to those in medical and science fields or with interest in them. I am in no doubt that this sort of thing could be repeated in this day and age, due to the amount of people who's morals retire when money is involved. Highly recommended to fans of non-fiction and well researched true stories.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    All the stars for this well researched nonfiction that is just infused with emotion. Kate Moore writes in such a manner that I quickly became immersed in the stories of the American women in the 1920's and 1930's that were exposed to radium poisoning. What these women and their families went through to have the truth heard in the courts and in the country! I felt so furious at the company that refused for so long to admit their wrongdoing. Imagine implying that all these women had died of "Cupid All the stars for this well researched nonfiction that is just infused with emotion. Kate Moore writes in such a manner that I quickly became immersed in the stories of the American women in the 1920's and 1930's that were exposed to radium poisoning. What these women and their families went through to have the truth heard in the courts and in the country! I felt so furious at the company that refused for so long to admit their wrongdoing. Imagine implying that all these women had died of "Cupid's disease" aka syphilis. A definite must read on the 2017 TBR list. Thanks to NetGalley for an uncorrected digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    Well this was a rough read! At around 1h into the audiobook all I could think was... this woman just got a piece of her jaw literally fall, this can get any worse... and it did. I don't recommend the audiobook. The narrator did a great job but they didn't edit her swallowing half the time and it got annoying sadly! *As I often do with non fiction... I don't feel comfortable giving a rating to this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jo (An Unexpected Book Hoarder)

    It is amazing, what the emotional impact of such a simple thing like reading a book can do to the mind. I finished this book last night before I went to bed, and I was crying. I was crying for the women and their families, I was crying as I learned justice was finally served and mostly, I was crying because I feel so fortunate, that because of these brave, powerful women, that we know more about radium and it's dangers today. I've had to sleep on this, before writing any words about it. Mostly be It is amazing, what the emotional impact of such a simple thing like reading a book can do to the mind. I finished this book last night before I went to bed, and I was crying. I was crying for the women and their families, I was crying as I learned justice was finally served and mostly, I was crying because I feel so fortunate, that because of these brave, powerful women, that we know more about radium and it's dangers today. I've had to sleep on this, before writing any words about it. Mostly because, I struggle to find the words, for something so harrowing as this. I have watched cancer and it's utter devastation it has on the body and what it can leave in it's path. The aftermath that is left with the families, when they try to pick up the pieces. But, I don't think that is anything in comparison to what these amazing brave women were forced to endure, and eventually mostly succumb to. I think the fact that they existed, and they experienced absolute hell, makes it all the more difficult to digest. I'd heard about The radium girls at various points in my life over the course of a couple of years. I'd heard snippets about it, but I'd never really read anything about it in intricate detail. Nothing like this book, anyway. Once I started reading this, I really wanted to read it in one sitting. I was so fascinated by it, and I couldn't quite believe what I was reading in some parts, it was that horrific. The author ensured the reader knew the true, raw experiences that these desperately ill women went through. I had to take a pause in a few places throughout the book, and take a breath. It was that intense and tragic. What I really do appreciate about this book, is the women were fighting for justice at a time, when women were seen as the second sex. It honestly does make me incredibly proud to be a woman. The way in which these women formed a group together, fought together even in their very darkest and frightening hour, just tells you something about the female sex. We definitely need some more role models like this in today's society. I honestly feel like I could talk about this book for hours on end, and I think it is a very important book of our history, and if you can overcome the horrors described in this book, then I think it could help make you reflect on your own lives and what matters most. I will not ever, forget this story, and I feel honoured to have read it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brenda - Traveling Sister

    Kate Moore’s well-researched true story tells us of the lives of the “shining girls” condersided the luckiest girls alive to have found the most coveted jobs using the “wonder” substance radium to paint dials. We learn of their feelings of joy, excitement, and independence at having such glamorous jobs, to them becoming ill and their bodies starting to deteriorate and then some to their deaths. To others realizing their jobs are causing their illness, to their fight against the companies and the Kate Moore’s well-researched true story tells us of the lives of the “shining girls” condersided the luckiest girls alive to have found the most coveted jobs using the “wonder” substance radium to paint dials. We learn of their feelings of joy, excitement, and independence at having such glamorous jobs, to them becoming ill and their bodies starting to deteriorate and then some to their deaths. To others realizing their jobs are causing their illness, to their fight against the companies and their legal battles and then for some realizing they are going to die. Moore doesn’t shy away from the vivid details of the agonizing deaths and suffering the women went through and it’s not for the faint hearted. I think that might be me as I found the torment they went through relentless and their agonizing suffering and the deaths after deaths started to become too overwhelming for me. Some of what I was reading just became a blur to me and at times I just wanted to get through the book. As much as the girls suffering broke my heart, the greed, dishonesty and the refusal to protect the young women from the danger was shocking and angered me. I think Radium Girls was one of the most unsettling books I have read and even though I did not enjoy it, I am glad I read it. The courage and tenacity of the women is an important story that needed to be told and Kate Moore is remarkable to have told it and honoring the women and their deaths by doing so. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher Sourcebooks for a copy to read and review. All of Norma’s & my reviews can be found on our Sister Blog: http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bam

    Radium, discovered in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie, was thought to be 'the wonder element,' a magnificent cure-all that could destroy cancerous tumors and could perhaps be the elixir of youth. When added to paint this 'liquid sunshine' could glow in the dark. In 1916, Radium Luminous Materials Corporation opened its doors in Newark, New Jersey and operated a watch dial studio that employed local girls, the daughters and granddaughters of immigrants, as painters. One hundred years ago, before O Radium, discovered in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie, was thought to be 'the wonder element,' a magnificent cure-all that could destroy cancerous tumors and could perhaps be the elixir of youth. When added to paint this 'liquid sunshine' could glow in the dark. In 1916, Radium Luminous Materials Corporation opened its doors in Newark, New Jersey and operated a watch dial studio that employed local girls, the daughters and granddaughters of immigrants, as painters. One hundred years ago, before OSHA and the EPA, industry had few restrictions or oversight of their workplaces in their pursuit of profits so even though the inventor of the paint knew of its destructive capabilities, the girls were not given any warnings or protective gear to wear. In fact, they were instructed to put the slim camel-hair brushes in their mouths to get a finer point for their work. Lip...Dip...Paint. Over and over, thousands of times a day. With WWI in full swing, the demand for radium dials and watches was booming; the company paid an attractive wage and employed as many as 375 girls at the peak of business. The job wasn't for everyone: some couldn't work at the pace demanded, some didn't like the taste of the paint, and some developed mouth sores quickly. But those who were talented and quick enough stayed on, liking the workplace and especially the decent salary they were paid. The first signs of illness and changes in blood resembled phosphorus poisoning, a well-known industrial poisoning in Newark, and the girls confronted their employers. They were assured that there was no need to worry--the radium amounts in the paint were so minuscule that it could not possibly cause them harm. In 1921, a corporate takeover ousted the original founder of the company and the business, renamed United States Radium Corporation, was poised to flourish in the postwar world. As the girls sickened, doctors and dentists were flummoxed by the illnesses the girls came to see them with: loose teeth, gum sockets that would not heal after extractions, pronounced limps, aches and pains. But since the girls saw different experts, all these differing complaints were not connected to one workplace. When radium poisoning was first suggested, it was highly contested by the industry and legal suits fell by the wayside as prevailing laws did not support the workers' claims. Meanwhile, 800 miles away in Ottawa, Illinois, another business started up in September of 1922: Radium Dial Company with its head office in Chicago. And the use of the 'lip, dip, paint' technique was taught to a whole new group of eager young women employees. And the deadly process began again. Other books have been written about this whole sorry and horrifying business but in this book, Kate Moore says she wanted to bring the girls' personal stories to light and give them a voice--all their hopes, dreams, pain, suffering and eventual deaths. But most importantly, how these women stood up for their rights with strength, dignity and courage. Because of their legal cases, the US government eventually formed OSHA and the EPA. Kudos to these brave women! Having lived in the general vicinity of Ottawa, IL since 1981, we were aware of this sad, shameful history through displays in local history museums but didn't realize that the area where these jobs were carried on is still in the process of being cleaned up as of 2015, according to Moore. Radium has a half-life of 1500 years! And a spinoff of the original Radium Dial company carried on business until 1978 under the name of Luminous Processes, and when workers there noticed a high incidence of breast cancer, the company denied its culpability. And the beat goes on... Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read an arc of this important and moving work of nonfiction. Thank you for bringing these women's stories to life in these pages. Notes: It was a pleasure to meet author Kate Moore at a program she gave for Seneca Public Library, Seneca, IL on March 19, 2018. She genuinely cares for these women and their stories. I also sat next to the great niece of Catherine Donohue, the brave woman who won her law suit against Radium Dial even as she lay dying. It was a pleasure to meet her as well and learn more about her family.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nadine Jones

    I REALLY did not like this. I got so angry reading this because the writing bugged me SO much that I may be somewhat unkind in this review, and I feel bad about that, because I think this is a worthwhile book and Moore's heart was in the right place when she wrote it. But ... Moore's writing style really bugged me. Because, in a book about children and young people working in factories and being poisoned by radium, the last thing I care about is how pretty they were. [Katherine Schaub] was an a I REALLY did not like this. I got so angry reading this because the writing bugged me SO much that I may be somewhat unkind in this review, and I feel bad about that, because I think this is a worthwhile book and Moore's heart was in the right place when she wrote it. But ... Moore's writing style really bugged me. Because, in a book about children and young people working in factories and being poisoned by radium, the last thing I care about is how pretty they were. [Katherine Schaub] was an attractive girl of just fourteen; her fifteenth birthday was in five weeks’ time. Standing just under five foot four, she was “a very pretty little blonde” with twinkling blue eyes, fashionably bobbed hair, and delicate features. * As time went on, she got to know her colleagues better. One was Josephine Smith, a sixteen-year-old girl with a round face, brown bobbed hair, and a snub nose. * [Grace Fryer] was an exceptionally bright and exceptionally pretty girl, with curly chestnut hair, hazel eyes, and clear-cut features. Many called her striking, but her looks weren’t of much interest to Grace. * [Edna Bolz] was nicknamed the “Dresden Doll” because of her beautiful golden hair and fair coloring; she also had perfect teeth and, perhaps as a result, a beaming smile. * [Hazel Vincent] had an oval face with a button nose and fair hair that she set in the latest styles. * [Albina Maggia] was a somewhat round and diminutive woman of only four foot eight, with classic Italian dark hair and eyes. * [Mollie Maggia] was a sociable nineteen-year-old with a broad face and bouffant brown hair. * Ella [Eckert] was popular and good-looking, with blond, slightly frizzy hair and a wide smile. * [Quinta Maggia] was an extremely attractive woman with large gray eyes and long dark hair; she considered her pretty teeth her best feature. These descriptions go on and on every time a new woman is introduced (and sometimes men are described the same way). I suppose Moore thinks it makes them more relatable. And, based on the number of five star reviews, she may be right. But it didn't work for me. The vast amount of information was a bit much, and I didn't bother to keep track of every single person, I just sort of surfed along the top - it's great that Moore did her research thoroughly, but I didn't need to hear about every detail. (And don't try to eat lunch while reading this! There's a lot of pus exploding and bones disintegrating right out of their bodies ...) I never stopped being annoyed by the insistence on describing the young women's appearance - as if what happened to them was more awful because they started out so pretty. I kept reading, I just did my best to skip over all the rest of the detailed appearance descriptions. The writing was perhaps more appropriate to an American Girl novel: But it was the same thing affecting all the girls. It was radium, heading straight for their bones—yet, on its way, seeming to decide, almost on a whim, where to settle in the greatest degree. And so some women felt the pain first in their feet; in others, it was in their jaw; in others still their spine. It had totally foxed their doctors. But it was the same cause in all of them. In all of them, it was the radium. It. Had. Totally. Foxed. Their. Doctors. Like, totally. But I soldiered on. I grew up just a bit south from Newark and Orange, NJ, and it's always interesting to learn more about the area. The writing never improved. Moore regularly makes assumptions about the thoughts and feelings of the women, which is fine in a novelization, but feels unprofessional here: As Catherine set Tommy down on a rug and watched him play, her mind went over her appointment. Now, come ON. There is no way this was recorded. No one knows what Catherine was thinking in that moment. Additionally, some odd language is used, almost childish at times: Pearl started bleeding continuously, down below. "Down below"? We can't say "vagina" now? And, perhaps most irritating of all (well, of all except Moore's bizarre fondness for repetition - THAT was really irritating!) is the choice to end many (most? all? I don't care enough to go back and check) chapters on a cliffhanger: Tom was now in the hands of State Attorney Elmer Mohn, facing two criminal charges. Dun-dun-DUNNNNNN .... Is this the latest James Patterson? Continue to the next chapter to find out what happens to Tom! This passage in the second section jumped out at me: He told one worker, Katherine Moore, on eight separate occasions that there was not a single trace of radium in her body. She later died from radium poisoning. You would think the author, Kate Moore, would comment on the name, but she does not. Is this a distant relation? We will never know. A rather egregious error does make me wonder about how accurate all of Moore's other assertions are: “[ I] understood,” said Grace’s physician Dr. McCaffrey, who’d arranged her examination with Flinn, “that Dr. Flinn was an MD.” But now, when Berry asked the authorities to look into exactly who Flinn was, he received the following letter from the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners: “Our records do not show the issuance of a license to practice medicine and surgery or any branch of medicine and surgery to Frederick B. Flinn.” Flinn was not a medical doctor. His degree was in philosophy. He was, as the Consumers League put it, “a fraud of frauds.” That made me wonder, so I used The Google and quickly found that Flinn had a PhD in Industrial Hygiene, so while he was surely a two-faced shyster, he was not wholly unqualified. His degree was not "in philosophy." Moore seems to have confused a "PhD" (short for Philosophiae Doctor, or Doctor of Philosphy) with a doctorate degree in philosophy. Yikes. That's an embarrassing mistake for an author! And where are her fact checkers?? I mean, I'm NoName Nancy here, not even reading carefully, and I noticed it! This is an important story, and I'm glad it's been told, I just wish it wasn't told this way. I found this 35 page article online, originally published in the 1997 Missouri Law Review, and I recommend it as an alternative, if you want to be informed yet avoid this particular pile of excess verbiage entirely: The New Jersey Radium Dial Workers and the Dynamics of Occupational Disease Litigation in the Early Twentieth Century. My advice: read the Missouri Law Review article, read the epilogue and post script of Radium Girls, and call it a day. The rest of the book is just ... not good. If you want to read a novelization based on other historical events in Paterson NJ (not about radium), I recommend: Girl Waits with Gun. N.B.: Do NOT listen to the audio version of this book, it's terrible. (And I love audiobooks.). I noped my way out of that audiobook faster than you can say "radium poisoning," and switched to the ebook to finish. Word count: number of times "Lip, dip, paint" (or variant "lip, dip") appears: 11 (including twice in the endnotes). I started feeling very stabby every time I saw it. Lip ... Dip ... Fuck off.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Juli

    In the early 1900s Radium was a sensation. The Curie's discovery was touted as a cure-all, a miracle, a wonder. At the time, little was understood about the side effects of handling Radium, however. In an era when most jobs for women were low paying, young women lined up for positions painting clock faces with radium paint. The jobs were high paying and gave them status in their community. The clock faces glowed a radiant green in the dark, making them a popular purchase. These girls sat for hou In the early 1900s Radium was a sensation. The Curie's discovery was touted as a cure-all, a miracle, a wonder. At the time, little was understood about the side effects of handling Radium, however. In an era when most jobs for women were low paying, young women lined up for positions painting clock faces with radium paint. The jobs were high paying and gave them status in their community. The clock faces glowed a radiant green in the dark, making them a popular purchase. These girls sat for hours happily painting, pointing their paint brushes by swishing them in their mouths. They played games with leftover radium paint, drawing moustaches on themselves, painting their eyebrows, dabbing a bit on their lips. Then they would huddle in a dark room, laughing at the bright green glow. The effect didn't wear off after work. Their clothes, their hair, even their skin would glow. Often they wore their best dresses to work so that their clothing would glow at parties. What they didn't realize is the painful effects Radium exposure would have on their health. When many of these dial painting employees began having serious medical issues....chronic mouth infections, loose teeth, disintegrating jaw bones, tumors, and even death....their employers turned a blind eye. They refused to take responsibility for the work-related illnesses and deaths. Several studies were done that refuted claims that radium was the cause of the illnesses. It took years of fighting and public outcry for life-saving regulations to be put in place to protect workers from this scale of work related injury and blatant disregard for employee health and safety. This book is well-written and an enjoyable read. It tells the tale of these bright, happy young women who were so excited to have a high paying, fun job...but who often paid a high price for working with radium. They were risking their lives for $17.50 (about $242 today) a week, and didn't even know it. When dentists starting noticing multiple women with crumbling jaw bones and chronic mouth infections, it took years for the cause to be traced back to radium. Rather than putting their employees health at the forefront, the employers involved chose to hide the facts so they could continue to make money. The women, injured by exposure to Radium, had to fight to have their story heard, and it led to work place safety regulations to prevent similar exposure to future workers. They were courageous and fought for what they knew was right. This book is horrifying and haunting, yet compelling. I'm glad the stories of these women and what they endured isn't being lost to time. It was 100 years ago now, but their fight for justice shouldn't be forgotten. Lovely and informative read. I highly recommend it!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce

    This book made me cry. It made me cry for the girls who were so brave, so sick, and so dedicated to one another so that the truth would be known. It made me cry for the greed that men, doctors and lawyers showed for these girls to let them suffer so while knowing the dangers of the substance they were working with. It made me cry to think of parents deprived of their daughters, children deprived of their mothers, and husbands deprived of their wives. It made me cry to think of the evil and greed This book made me cry. It made me cry for the girls who were so brave, so sick, and so dedicated to one another so that the truth would be known. It made me cry for the greed that men, doctors and lawyers showed for these girls to let them suffer so while knowing the dangers of the substance they were working with. It made me cry to think of parents deprived of their daughters, children deprived of their mothers, and husbands deprived of their wives. It made me cry to think of the evil and greed the pursuit of money breeds in our culture. It made me cry to think that there were men who willingly and knowingly had no respect for human life. Perhaps there is no fitting way to give justice to these girls and their families. However, Ms Moore, in telling their stories, did an excellent job of portraying for us the real pain, the real courage, and the real people, young girls really, who were a part of this company whose job it was to paint radium infused paint unto clocks and watches. Most apparent through the telling is the complete and utter disregard for these women and the horrible nature of the diseases caused by radium and what it did to their bodies. There was no sense of dignity put forth by the company who employed them. The Radium Dial Company was in a word despicable and one hopes that those, the men who oversaw the girls, the doctors who lied about their condition, and the lawyers who defended the horrendous actions of a company they well knew was lying, and who disavowed the girls' deteriorating conditions by the most despicable of ways are currently burning in hell. This book illuminates the things that were done to American workers in the twenties, particularly the women. It points out the enormous gratitude that must come from we who have come after these girls and now work in conditions that have been made eminently better through their sacrifice, courage, and determination. Thank you to Ms Moore for writing a book about the girls and their struggles. It is well worth the time one has to read this remarkable book written about remarkable women who did give their lives in such awful and painful ways. It is a tribute to them and a story that should be told and never be forgotten.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Here's another nonfiction book that reads as quickly and easily as a mystery. After a quick prologue about the Curies, the book begins in earnest in 1917 at the watch dial painting factory. What first struck me was that these girls truly were girls, mostly in their teens. Schooling beyond the elementary grades wasn't something the working classes could afford. The book gives a great account not only of the limits of science, but also the limits and willingness of government agencies to pursue em Here's another nonfiction book that reads as quickly and easily as a mystery. After a quick prologue about the Curies, the book begins in earnest in 1917 at the watch dial painting factory. What first struck me was that these girls truly were girls, mostly in their teens. Schooling beyond the elementary grades wasn't something the working classes could afford. The book gives a great account not only of the limits of science, but also the limits and willingness of government agencies to pursue employee safety. It provides a strong reminder of where we might be returning to, given the current administration. This is a sad, heart wrenching tale. These women were repeatedly told lies and dealt with coverups. And it wasn't just their problems. Like a stone thrown in the pond, the rings of destruction made their way through entire families, putting many in the poor house as they struggled with overwhelming medical bills. But there is a heartwarming aspect to the book as well. While there are plenty of villains, there were also plenty of heroines and heroes, who fought for justice for the Radium Girls. A well told story and one that I strongly recommend.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dorie - Traveling Sister :)

    This is the first non fiction book I’ve read in a long time and it is a good one. I had never read anything about the tragedy that consumed a large number of young women working with radium, painting dials on clocks and other instrument panels. In the beginning radium was actually being hailed as a “health wonder” but it was soon discovered by many of the scientists working with radium that it could indeed be very dangerous. The young women took these jobs, offered by large factories, because the This is the first non fiction book I’ve read in a long time and it is a good one. I had never read anything about the tragedy that consumed a large number of young women working with radium, painting dials on clocks and other instrument panels. In the beginning radium was actually being hailed as a “health wonder” but it was soon discovered by many of the scientists working with radium that it could indeed be very dangerous. The young women took these jobs, offered by large factories, because they paid well and they were assured that there was nothing harmful in the paint that they were using. The most horrible part of the story was the telling that most of the girls actually put the brushes in their mouths to get a pointed tip to make their painting more precise! The manufacturer’s deliberately withheld the information about the danger of this method of painting even when there were girls already having terrible side effects from the radium. Their bodies started to fall apart, many of them with jaw bone disintegration, others with symptoms in other bones in their bodies. This went on for a decade with information withheld, no assistance with medical bills, etc. and women dying from the complications. In the end some of them finally received justice but of course it was too late for many of the women. This book is obviously meticulously researched and much time taken to delve into the stories of many individual girls. The problem I had with the reading was that there were simply so many women and the book wasn’t really told in a very linear fashion so that I began to forget which woman had what symptoms, what their doctors had done, etc. I found this confusing and I think I would have preferred that the author narrow the number of victims down to a smaller number in order to keep the information and stories flowing in a more readable format. I appreciate the information that I learned from this book and would recommend it to fans of non fiction. It is well worth the read. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and Netgalley, thank you.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    I had never heard of the radium girls I had seen the glowing green dials of clocks when I was a girl. We had a Westclox alarm clock in my room. The glow at night allows us to know when we could sleep longer. I never knew that was radium making it glow. I also had no clue that girls, teenage girls had risked and lost their lives painting the numbers with a radium based paste to provide that glow. This well researched book tells of the women that faced an agonizing death because of the companies d I had never heard of the radium girls I had seen the glowing green dials of clocks when I was a girl. We had a Westclox alarm clock in my room. The glow at night allows us to know when we could sleep longer. I never knew that was radium making it glow. I also had no clue that girls, teenage girls had risked and lost their lives painting the numbers with a radium based paste to provide that glow. This well researched book tells of the women that faced an agonizing death because of the companies dishonesty and cold refusal to protect these women. This is one of those stories that shines the light in greed and calculating big business owners. History has been a long time in sharing the plight of these trusting workers. Now everyone should read their story. Netgalley allowed me to find this book and read it in exchange for my review. When I chose this book I had no concept that it would be such an in depth look at an injustice of the nineteen twenties. New heroes have come to light.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore is a 2017 Sourcebooks publication. “Luminous Processes, declared the local paper, seems to put profits before people.” ‘How quickly we forget.’ Only the most hard -hearted among us could read this book without shedding tears. So be warned this book is not for the faint of heart and while the bravery of these young ladies is certainly inspirational, the anger and frustration I felt about their untimely and excruciating death The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore is a 2017 Sourcebooks publication. “Luminous Processes, declared the local paper, seems to put profits before people.” ‘How quickly we forget.’ Only the most hard -hearted among us could read this book without shedding tears. So be warned this book is not for the faint of heart and while the bravery of these young ladies is certainly inspirational, the anger and frustration I felt about their untimely and excruciating deaths left me feeling emotionally and physically exhausted. The author has obviously done meticulous research about the women who worked for the Radiant Dial Corporation and the United States Radium Corporation beginning in 1917. The practice of ‘dip, lip, paint’, which was encouraged by the factory, to prevent waste, and to give the brush a sharper point, but exposed the women, who painted luminous dials on watches, with deadly radium. The factories were so popular, due to the wages, which were well above average, and because of the ‘glow’ the women had due to the radium exposure, which they were assured was perfectly safe. Some of the women even painted the substance onto their faces to see themselves glow in the dark. Five women in particular stood out, as they battled what was termed ‘occupational diseases’, taking their case to court, but there were many more. The court cases were long, hard fought, and had many disappointments before all was said and done. It was a hard battle which lasted for many years, but the effects lingered on for these ladies’ offspring, for years to come. But, the author really excelled at bringing these women to life, giving them a voice, so to speak. All these women were so very young, so full of life and hope. To hear, in horrific detail, their pain and suffering made for some very difficult reading. Catherine Wolfe Donohoe is one that stood out for me, with her loyal husband, Tom. The suffering these women endured, was gruesome and unimaginable. Again, I warn you, this material is very graphic, and the author drives this point home with such vividness, I swear my joints and teeth ached. This is a battle that waged for many years, with the factories refusing to accept that the radium was dangerous, then trying to hide that it was dangerous, by any means. This is a painful story, one that highlights greed and deceit, but also proves what can happen if you stand up for yourself, speak out, and refuse to give up. The women featured here saved countless lives, while giving their own. This is a powerful, gut wrenching story, and it’s one that has played out in various forms, since the years highlighted here, with various companies hiding dangers or releasing flawed products onto an unsuspecting public. These women should never be forgotten and their bravery should set a shining example for anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation. You never know, you may, like the women featured in this book, bring about new standards of health and safety, expose dangers, and force accountability on those only concerned about their own bottom line. Bravo to Madeline Piller, whose championed these ladies by raising funds for a bronze statue honoring these brave women. The statue was unveiled in 2011, in Ottawa, Illinois. 5 stars

  22. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    4.5 stars As early as World War I 'glow in the dark' gauges and watch dials became vital to soldiers. These were manufactured by painting the faces of the devices with compounds containing the radioactive element radium. At the time, the dangers of fissionable elements was unknown, and - in fact - radium was touted as a boon to good looks and good health. After the war - in the 1920s - large factories sprang up to feed the growing demand for the gauges, watches, and 'wellness products' containing 4.5 stars As early as World War I 'glow in the dark' gauges and watch dials became vital to soldiers. These were manufactured by painting the faces of the devices with compounds containing the radioactive element radium. At the time, the dangers of fissionable elements was unknown, and - in fact - radium was touted as a boon to good looks and good health. After the war - in the 1920s - large factories sprang up to feed the growing demand for the gauges, watches, and 'wellness products' containing radium. The two companies at the center of this story are the United States Radium Corporation (USRC) of New Jersey, and the Radium Dial Company of Ottowa, Illinois. The factories paid well, and young women flocked to work there. During training, the girls were told to put the delicate paintbrushes in their mouths between applications - to form a fine tip. This 'lip, dip, paint.....lip, dip, paint' went on all day, every day - for weeks, months, years. Sadly, the girls were slowly poisoning themselves with radium - but they didn't know it. Unlike nuclear fallout, which causes severe radiation burns (and often death) rather quickly, radium works subtly and slowly. Because radium is chemically similar to calcium, it replaces that element in the bones. The radium builds up over time, until the bones literally fall apart. Moreover, the radioactivity emitted damages other tissues and organs. As a result, several years after they started working at the watch factories, the 'radium girls' began to fall ill, exhibiting some of the most horrendous symptoms imaginable. Often, the women would lose their teeth first, then their jaw bones would rot - resulting in holes in the palate and face. Frequently, the victims developed limps, and - in one case - a woman's legs became permanently crossed, so she couldn't walk. Tumors might develop, sometimes so large that the patient was confined to bed - in unendurable pain. The autopsy of one dead victim showed fractured ribs, holes in the skull, and necrosis (cell death) in the skull vault, pelvis, and many other bones. In fact, there were widespread skeletal changes throughout the body. Some radium girls - if they were able to conceive - suffered miscarriages. And those women who had children were often too sick and weak to care for them. In addtion, there was always the danger of secondary infections, like pneumonia. Sadly, radium poisoning is not curable and - especially back then - effective treatments were unknown. Thus many of these women died terrible deaths. And most of them were in their twenties! Perhaps the worst thing of all, the companies knew radium was dangerous and hid this fact from everyone. In fact, company honchos out and out lied, advertising radium as healthful....'it'll put roses in your cheeks.' "The Radium Girls" focuses on several young women who fought back against the watch companies, suing for compensation and medical bills. In an author's note, Kate Moore explains that previous books on the subject focused on the legal and scientific aspects of the cases. Moore, on the other hand, wanted to showcase "real women standing up for their rights with strength, dignity, and courage" - and she does an admirable job. Moore thoroughly researched her subject, and unearthed many details about the lives of the affected women. The author captures their excitement at landing 'good jobs'' in the watch plants; the fashionable clothes they purchased with their salaries; the men they dated - and the fun they had. The girls were thrilled that their clothing, covered with radium-containing dust, would shine in the night.....making a spectacular impression on everyone around. Some adventurous gals even decorated their nails and lips with the radium paint. In retrospect, of course, this was a terrible idea! Moore goes on to write about the young ladies' betrothals and marriages..... and then the inevitable devastation to parents, siblings, husbands (and sometimes children) when their bodies fell apart. When some of the victims banded together to file lawsuits against USRC and Radium Dial, the legal machinations by the factories - who adamantly denied responsibility for the girls' illnesses - were so devious, underhanded, and downright disgusting that the factory owners deserve a place in the lowest depths of hell (figuratively speaking). The radium companies co-opted dentists, doctors, lawyers, so-called experts, factory managers, and so on - to cheat, lie, and steal. In one case, a physician swiped the jawbone of a girl being autopsied, so it couldn't be tested for radium poisoning. When the companies were found liable in court - and ordered to pay compensation to the sick women - they appealed again and again and again....in one case, all the way to the Supreme Court. Of course all this dragged on for many years, and it seems the radium companies were hoping the women would die. This book was very distressing to read - so disturbing In fact, that I had to take periodic breaks. The dismissive and uncaring stance of the guilty parties is almost incomprehensible, and they did it all for profit! And later on, when the companies were ordered to clean up the defunct factory sites, which seethed with radioactivity, they refused (or contributed a token few dollars). Unbelievable! Since this is history, I don't think it's a spoiler to say that the valiant battle of the brave women outlined in this story resulted in changes to the laws, and stronger safeguards for employees in the workplace. This is a sad but fascinating story. The book is thorough, well-written, and compelling, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jill Croce-McGill

    "I wanted to showcase their shining spirits in a book that would tell their story – not just the story of the famous professionals who had helped them." The Radium Girls by Kate Moore is a powerful and heart-breaking story about young girls who worked in radium-dial painting factories in the early 1900's where they painted luminous dials on watches and clocks. At that time everyone was told radium was healthy, some would say a miracle, and they were encouraged to drink it to cure many illnesses - "I wanted to showcase their shining spirits in a book that would tell their story – not just the story of the famous professionals who had helped them." The Radium Girls by Kate Moore is a powerful and heart-breaking story about young girls who worked in radium-dial painting factories in the early 1900's where they painted luminous dials on watches and clocks. At that time everyone was told radium was healthy, some would say a miracle, and they were encouraged to drink it to cure many illnesses - it was dubbed "Liquid Sunshine". Soon it would be discovered by many of the scientists working with radium that it could indeed be very dangerous. "What radium means to us today is a great romance in itself. but what it may mean to us tomorrow, no man can foretell." -- Dr. Sabin von Sochocky, founder of the Radium Luminous Material Corporation. The book is very well-written and the background of each girl is described in great detail, highlighting the stories of each individual "radium girl", and you get the sense reading this horrific story that most of them thought they had the best job in the world. I found it very hard to read at times because of all the suffering these girls had to go through, but it's an important part of history and one story I will never forget! Highly Recommend!!! A big thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    In the teens and 1920's one of the best jobs a young woman could get involved an exciting and new substance called Radium. Radium was a sparkling and glowing new wonder that was used in watches, clocks, weapons, and makeup. According to the companies that used it, Radium was completely harmless. They were lying and more importantly they knew it was deadly and worked for 40 years to cover it up. The Radium Girls is a horrifying and disturbing read. This book illustrates why government oversight a In the teens and 1920's one of the best jobs a young woman could get involved an exciting and new substance called Radium. Radium was a sparkling and glowing new wonder that was used in watches, clocks, weapons, and makeup. According to the companies that used it, Radium was completely harmless. They were lying and more importantly they knew it was deadly and worked for 40 years to cover it up. The Radium Girls is a horrifying and disturbing read. This book illustrates why government oversight and regulations of companies are and have always extremely important. These woman were poisoned and killed by their employers. These Radium Girls came from low income families and felt lucky to have these jobs. Once these women started becoming sick and dying these Radium companies hired doctors to lie to the public and reaffirm the safety of Radium. Some company doctors engaged in character assassination by claiming these women had actually contacted Syphilis. These Radium Girls were warriors and because of them we are all safer. Because of the Radium Girls The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was established. The Radium Girls is a story of profits over people. These women were discounted and had no protection from the Radium they were exposed to, while their male counter parts were given lead aprons to shield them from the Radium. I highly recommend.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    This somber story chronicles the lives of the Radium Girls, female factory workers exposed to large quantities of radium by the men who assured them that it was harmless. Trying to get the factory to take full responsibility, this women's fight for justice was wracked with scandal, denial and cover-ups, but it's ultimately a story of hope and power reclaimed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Macy_Novels at Night

    I read this book as part of a book club, having never heard of it before. I am going to make the assumption that like myself, many other people have been left in the dark in learning about this piece of history, no pun intended. I think I made the mistake by listening to this book on audible, rather than reading it myself. The writing style of the author was exquisite, but I did not love the tone of the woman who read it. The story itself was wonderfully written and I found myself tearing up hea I read this book as part of a book club, having never heard of it before. I am going to make the assumption that like myself, many other people have been left in the dark in learning about this piece of history, no pun intended. I think I made the mistake by listening to this book on audible, rather than reading it myself. The writing style of the author was exquisite, but I did not love the tone of the woman who read it. The story itself was wonderfully written and I found myself tearing up hearing what these women went through. I also struggled at times to get through chapters because of the anger towards the companies that allowed this to happen, and how they lied so terribly. I admire this author for telling this story and being impressed to make sure that their pain and suffering are not forgotten. I loved hearing her author's note at the end, and why she chose to write this book, and I truly believe that is why writers were given their gifts! On another note, this story makes me question so many things around us. What do we blindly trust to be safe and true that we are being lied to about? People have the tendency to trust authority way too much, and had not some things been questioned in this case, they would have gotten away with their deceit much longer. Does anyone else ever wonder what is silently killing us that we have no idea about because we are too trusting?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mariah

    I read this book for the Goodreads' Book Club Diversity in All Forms! If you'd like to participate in the discussion here is the link: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... This book was fantastic. I couldn't believe this was something that happened in the United States and I had never even heard about it before. There has never been any mention of the factors when learning about World War 1. As a teacher, I hope that I can definitely change that. As a former student I would get bored and sick I read this book for the Goodreads' Book Club Diversity in All Forms! If you'd like to participate in the discussion here is the link: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... This book was fantastic. I couldn't believe this was something that happened in the United States and I had never even heard about it before. There has never been any mention of the factors when learning about World War 1. As a teacher, I hope that I can definitely change that. As a former student I would get bored and sick of hearing about wars. Because when your young the stories all sound similar. However, this is a unique angle to the women that stayed back and worked while their men were fighting. I wonder how many history teachers even know about this. This book was addicting and I suggest it to everyone! I learned so much and really felt that the author covered everything. I was extremely impressed and hope to read more of her work. "The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War. Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill. But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hirdesh

    4.5 Shining Stars. Glorious one as the Victory of The Radium Girls ! ! Dip.......Lip........Paint....... Great Thanks for Netgalley and respective publisher. I had started late this book which led to Great book. However, starting was slow. But, What a great rhythm had picked by story. So many congratulations for Writer. Writing was different and highly enthusiastic , lovely piece of description by Author. Highly recommended to Genuine Readers. Emotions were on Zenith as the Part 2 began throughout the b 4.5 Shining Stars. Glorious one as the Victory of The Radium Girls ! ! Dip.......Lip........Paint....... Great Thanks for Netgalley and respective publisher. I had started late this book which led to Great book. However, starting was slow. But, What a great rhythm had picked by story. So many congratulations for Writer. Writing was different and highly enthusiastic , lovely piece of description by Author. Highly recommended to Genuine Readers. Emotions were on Zenith as the Part 2 began throughout the book ! ! *Radium is a very rare and most catastrophic element esp. when it comes to use without precaution in Industrial task. It's delicacy has shown in this book. It was complete book with twist and turned of whole matter. I had enjoyed it ! Even though, Justice had taken time about 13 years for those girls. All is well that ends well ! ! ! I'll add quote of book soon in my review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    A painful and important read about the young women who suffered at the hands of the radium industry before fighting for their rights and for justice. Kate Moore does a great job with chronology, showing what drew the women into working at the dial factories, the subsequent horrid decay of their bodies, and then their legal battles. I appreciated how Moore made space for these women and their life narratives instead of creating a dry academic read. She focused on the resilience of these women in A painful and important read about the young women who suffered at the hands of the radium industry before fighting for their rights and for justice. Kate Moore does a great job with chronology, showing what drew the women into working at the dial factories, the subsequent horrid decay of their bodies, and then their legal battles. I appreciated how Moore made space for these women and their life narratives instead of creating a dry academic read. She focused on the resilience of these women in the face of overwhelming pain and resistance from industrial forces. If anything, this book illuminates how capitalism exploits - and literally kills - people, especially those with less power and credibility in society. While perhaps beyond the scope of The Radium Girls, it is heartbreaking to think about how this still happens to so many women and people of color today, especially to those who are abroad, who are often invisible to us in the United States and other privileged locations. Overall, a long yet worthwhile book. Kudos to Kate Moore for the depth of her research and the quality of her writing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Although, as a scientist myself who has worked with radioisotopes, I had heard of the women workers who died as a result of painting radium on clock and instrument dials in the 1920s, I wasn't prepared for the sheer horror of the story that unfolds in this book. It wasn't just the naivety of the girls and their bosses with regard to the dangers of radium that shocked me but the way the corporations lied to the girls when the dangers were recognised and women were dying tragic and painful deaths Although, as a scientist myself who has worked with radioisotopes, I had heard of the women workers who died as a result of painting radium on clock and instrument dials in the 1920s, I wasn't prepared for the sheer horror of the story that unfolds in this book. It wasn't just the naivety of the girls and their bosses with regard to the dangers of radium that shocked me but the way the corporations lied to the girls when the dangers were recognised and women were dying tragic and painful deaths at a young age. Discovered in 1898 by the Curies, radium was hailed as a great cure for shrinking tumours and was thought to be beneficial for health and vitality. It was added to cosmetics and even medicines to treat all manner of ills and promoted as a health giving tonic. In 1917, a watch dial company in New Jersey started to use it to paint the dials of watches and clocks so that they could be read in the dark. With the start of WWI this was expanded to ship and later plane dials and the factory hired hundreds of young women to do the painting. The women were taught to paint the fine lines on the dials by a technique called 'lip pointing'. Using a fine brush they would dip it in the radium paint, draw the brush to a fine point with their lips and then paint the line of the dial: "lip, dip, paint". At first the girls were allowed to rinse the brushes in water but this was later discouraged as radium was lost in the wash water and it was too expensive to waste, so the girls would "lip, dip, paint" and repeat over and over again. The radium dust was also all over the workplace, on the benches where they ate their lunches, in their hair and in their clothes. The workers were known as the 'Shining Girls' because they literally shone in the dark. In the 1920s, Mollie Maggia was the first of the girls, but not the last, to start losing her teeth and eventually her jaw bone also disintegrated and was removed. Dentists and doctors were puzzled by the nature of her illness and her eventual death was listed as syphilis even there was no evidence for this (or even evidence that she had ever been sexually active). Other girls then began to fall ill. Developing anemia, losing teeth and jawbones, developing painful joints and hips, experiencing stillbirths. Later on sarcomas started to appear on those who survived long enough. All through this the radium corporations told the girls that radium could not be responsible and was perfectly safe. Eventually the girls would find a champion in lawyer Leonard Grossman who worked tirelessly to bring the corporations to account and change the laws surrounding Industrial occupational hazards forever. This is an amazing story, meticulously researched and investigated by Kate Moore, telling the personal stories of many of the women and their families who fought to be heard, often from their hospital beds. There were almost too many tragic stories of the many young women employed by the radium companies that I felt I was suffering from emotional overload in the middle of the book but once it moved into the women's fight for recognition of the damage done to them and their families and the sheer bravery exhibited by them I was totally enthralled by their battle for justice and was cheering them on. With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Sourcebooks for a copy to read and review

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