Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

The incredible true story of the young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium and their brave struggle for justice...

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.

My thoughts-

I had never heard of the radium girls before coming across this book. I will always read an interesting story, and I enjoy learning new things about history that I didn't previously know so this was a good read for me. The Radium Girls is a heartbreaking account of the young women who were working in radium factories during the first world war. This book will enrage you. The lengths to which this company went to not be held liable for the illness they caused so many women is infuriating. These women were dying, some of their friends already dead before they took their story to court, and they still were not taking ownership of their misdeeds. The Radium Girls is a little bit on the long side, but it is broken up into three sections and there are also many girls' stories to be told. If you enjoy books about history, you will probably enjoy The Radium Girls.


  1. Sad this crap still goes on. Companies get by with so much.

  2. That is so true. The whole time I read this book I couldn't help but be extra heated because it reminded me of my grandma's house exploding and Atmos not taking responsibility for it. My parents sued them but they settled out of court. The problem with companies that big when they cause harm is you want to make them be held accountable for what they did and it is impossible because they have too much money to throw around for it to cause any kind of real change.

    These women though, they did cause a stir and make a change, at least regarding workplace laws, although they are still not perfect they are much better than what was described in the book that was in place at the time. I couldn't believe reading through this book that people would continue working there, but then I tried to think about the position they were in. It was right after WWI and many of them didn't have a choice and it was a high paying job. Sadly, many paid with their lives. Sometimes more than one woman from the same family. :(