The Radium Girls

The Radium Girls

The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

eBook - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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...
Publisher: [United States] : Sourcebooks Inc, 2017.
Branch Call Number: eBook hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: hoopla digital


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

May 01, 2018

This is an amazing, heart-breaking read for anyone who loves history or non-fiction.

An illuminating story. Sorry, I had to say that.

Nov 27, 2017

Informative and revelatory book about radium and the women who were poisoned by the money-hungry men in power.

Nov 15, 2017

Reading this book was like watching a car accident as it is about to happen and knowing you can do nothing to stop it. We first see these bright, young girls jumping at the chance to paint dials and make a very good wage. All have dreams and families that can benefit from these extra $$. Then we realize what they are doing -- licking paintbrushes dipped in radium over and over and over. . .

Kudos to Kate Moore for her storytelling and extensive research. She truly did bring these shining women to life and we suffered with them through their individual journeys. Their stories and the court cases that resulted from their suffering and illnesses changed the American employment landscape in significant ways. They live on in the research that they contributed to regarding radium first and then later the atomic bomb and the ramifications of testing. Shine on, ladies!

orchids3lady Nov 14, 2017

This is an important book as it details the horrifying, true events that occurred to dozens of young women as a direct result of working in factories painting glow-in-the-dark dials with radium paint. The scandalous treatment of these women and cover-up by the industry makes it very painful to read, and it is still relevant today as their struggles and illnesses formed the basis of worker's rights and OSHA years later.
However, an easy read this is not; Moore covers as many womens' stories as possible in her narrative with the result that it is both repetative and difficult to keep up with the individual stories. The Radium Girls is an excellent book club choice that will provoke a lot of discussion.

EricaV_KCMO Sep 13, 2017

A must read! A fast-paced, wonderful narrative nonfiction book about the women, who painted glow-in-the-dark watch faces during World War I and beyond.

Kate Moore spoke at BookExpo. I was in tears hearing about her research and more about these women. A wonderful interview with Ms. Moore on NPR.

Sep 09, 2017

The information in this book was new to me and very pertinent to today when the President is taking away safety regulations for workers by executive order. What these women went through was a tragedy and might I add, would probably not have happened over and over again if they had been men and thereby "breadwinners of the family"- even though in many cases they were supporting their families.
I wish it had been written in a more coherent style, I found it tough to keep all the "girls", excuse the employer, should be "women" straight even though I wanted to remember each of their stories.

Aug 20, 2017

Very interesting read, however, it seemed like the girls' narrative kept repeating. There were several companies using radium so each girl had her own story that pretty much sounded the same for each girl. After the lawyers and doctors got involved with the girls' cases, that was a repeating theme as well; lies, denials, endless physical exams etc. I enjoyed learning about the girls and the struggles they went through but the book could possibly have been shortened a bit without losing any substance.

Aug 09, 2017

Kate Moore doesn't just tell us about the lives and deaths of the radium girls, but offers us a unique glimpse into their world using their own words. By using primary sources like the girls' diaries and even interviewing living family members who remember these girls, Moore allows the reader to be swept up in the highs and lows the girls lived. As the reader, we are offered more information than the girls receive, but Moore does a great job holding information from the reader for suspense which amplifies moments of betrayal and heartbreak for the reader. Some of the most emotional moments were not ones about the girls directly, but how their conditions and ultimately their deaths impacted those who loved them. Not only did the girls suffer, but their families struggled to help them in any way possible, often resulting in cases of extreme poverty and desperation. Radium didn't just affect the women who worked with it, but their families and their communities as well.

Jul 29, 2017

This truly dark story of 1920s businesses who employed young women as dial painters using glowing radium paint without knowledge of its long-term consequences and who then covered up or denied fault as the women developed ghastly illnesses and died.

Moore’s book is thorough in its research, but tough going as the grim consequences of the work are detailed in case after case. Good epilogue. Recommended for serious history readers. Nothing like reading 'The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II,' women who benefitted from the health and safety precautions that resulted from the Radium Girls court cases.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

Jun 17, 2017

Tjad2L thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top