The Radium Girls
The Dark Story of America's Shining Women
by Kate Moore
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Pub Date 02 May 2017 | Archive Date 10 Nov 2019
SOURCEBOOKS (non-fiction), Sourcebooks
As World War I raged across the globe, hundreds of young women toiled away at the radium-dial factories, where they painted clock faces with a mysterious new substance called radium. Assured by their bosses that the luminous material was safe, the women themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered from head to toe with the glowing dust. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” were considered the luckiest alive—until they began to fall mysteriously ill. As the fatal poison of the radium took hold, they found themselves embroiled in one of America’s biggest scandals and a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights.
A rich, historical narrative written in a sparkling voice, The Radium Girls is the first book that fully explores the strength of extraordinary women in the face of almost impossible circumstances and the astonishing legacy they left behind.
Kate Moore is a Sunday Times best selling writer with more than a decade’s experience writing and ghosting across varying genres, including memoir, biography, and history. In 2005 she directed a critically acclaimed play about the Radium Girls called ‘These Shining Lives.’ She lives in the UK.
"Moore’s well-researched narrative is written with clarity and a sympathetic voice that brings these figures and their struggles to life...a must-read for anyone interested in American and women’s history, as well as topics of law, health, and industrial safety." - Library Journal, STARRED review
“This timely book
celebrates the strength of a group of women, whose determination to fight
improved both labor laws and scientific knowledge of radium poisoning. Written
in a highly readable, narrative style, Moore’s chronicle of these inspirational
women’s lives is sure to provoke discussion—and outrage—in book groups.” - Booklist, STARRED review
"…[A] fascinating social history – one that significantly reflects on the class and gender of those involved – [is] Catherine Cookson meets Mad Men...The importance of the brave and blighted dial-painters cannot be overstated." - Sunday Times
"In this thrilling and carefully crafted book, Kate Moore tells the shocking story of how early 20th-century corporate and legal America set about silencing dozens of working-class women who had been systematically poisoned by radiation ... Moore [writes] so lyrically ... FIVE STARS." - Mail on Sunday
"Heartbreaking ... What this book illustrates brilliantly is that battling for justice against big corporations isn’t easy ... [The radium girls’ story is] a terrible example of appalling injustice." - BBC Women's Hour