The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women
by Kate Moore
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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, 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…
What I thought
I waited a few days before I begin thinking about writing this review and I still do not know where to start. So bear with me and we will start at the beginning of this journey. I had never heard about the Radium Girls, they were not talked about when I was in school. I found a podcast called The Morbid Curiosity Podcast, now anyone that actually knows me will not be surprised that I jumped on this as soon as I saw the name. So since I found it around the end of last year I have been working through the backlog of episodes that they have and one of them was on the Radium Girls. I was so amazed by the story that I began looking into them and that led me to find this book.
While reading this book I was constantly surprised at the new lows that these women went through. I know this should not have surprised me but their story was so tragic and a lot of things could have been prevented. My heart truly went out to these girls they suffered so much and were treated so horribly. I know I am not doing any justice for this book I just can not put the words together that I want to. I was so moved and truly inspired by the spirit of these women.
I usually try not to do this but…
I can’t even imagine living through what they did, having bones and limbs removed just to slow down the radium poisoning. Then to have the person that put you in that position, who knew that you were being poisoned, to just stand back and say prove it. The exams they made them go through just to humiliate these women and try to dismiss them like they were worth nothing just makes me want to scream. They knew the dangers hell they protected the other Male staff in the labs with lead aprons and then told these women to lip point their brushes again and again. Then knowing they were going to die, they tried to delay the trial so that they wouldn’t survive long enough to be able to finish the case. I know I shouldn’t be surprised but I had more faith in people.
Sorry, I guess I needed to just vent all those thoughts since they are the first things that come to mind when I think of this story. I guess there is no way to really not spoil the story.
I really wish that their story was at least touched on in school it is such an important part of our short history.