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The radium girls : the dark story of America's shining women
2017
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Genre
NonFiction
History
Topics
World War I
Military life
Medicine
Exercise
Women
Time Period
-- 20th century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

In the early decades of the 20th century, young women in Orange, NJ, and Ottawa, IL, found well-paying jobs painting watches and dials with a luminous substance made from radium. The detailed nature of the painting required that the girls twirl the bushes in their mouth to form a precisely pointed tip. Though many people believed that radium was a miracle cure for various ailments, the reality was that the radio-active radium was poisoning the girls. Their teeth fell out, their jaws rotted away, they developed crippling ailments, and died. Moore presents a powerful narrative of the girls' illnesses and their legal struggles to seek compensation from employers who knowingly hid data on radiation sickness. Through personal diaries and letters, newspapers, and court records, Moore's text is riveting. The narration by Angela Brazil is of the highest quality, pulling listeners into the story. This is a tale of women who battled big business and focused the nation's attention on workplace hazards and the responsibilities of workplace safety. -VERDICT Anyone interested in women's history will find this work fascinating. ["Moore's well-researched narrative is written with clarity and a sympathetic voice that brings these figures and their struggles to life": LJ 2/15/17 starred review of the Sourcebooks hc.]-Patricia Ann Owens, formerly with Illinois Eastern Community Colls., Mt. Carmel © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

British ghostwriter Moore traces the lives of more than a dozen American women who were employed as luminous watch-dial painters as early as 1917. She tells how these women, some barely in their 20s, were enchanted by high pay and the allure of the paint's luminescent substance: radium. Carefully researched, the work will stun readers with its descriptions of the glittering artisans who, oblivious to health dangers, twirled camel-hair brushes to fine points using their mouths, a technique called lip-pointing. By the end of 1918, one out of six American soldiers owned a luminous watch, but the women had begun losing their teeth and entire pieces of their jaws. Moore describes the gruesome effects of radiation exposure on these women's bodies, and she spares nothing in relaying the intense emotional suffering of their friends and families during subsequent medical investigations and court battles. In giving voice to so many victims, Moore overburdens the story line, which culminates with a 1938 headline trial during which a former employee of the Radium Dial Company collapsed on the stand and had to testify from bed. Moore details what was a "ground-breaking, law-changing, and life-saving accomplishment" for worker's rights; it lends an emotionally charged ending to a long, sad book. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
<p>ANew York Times, USA Today, andWall Street JournalBestseller!<br> Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf Bookclub Selection - May/June 2018</p> <p>"the glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still."--NPR Books</p> <p>The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girlsfully 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...</p>
Table of Contents
List of Key Charactersp. xi
Prologuep. xv
Part 1Knowledgep. 1
Part 2Powerp. 141
Part 3Justicep. 279
Epiloguep. 377
Postscriptp. 397
Author's Notep. 400
Acknowledgmentsp. 405
Reading Group Guidep. 409
Picture Acknowledgmentsp. 411
Abbreviationsp. 413
Notesp. 415
Select Bibliographyp. 461
Indexp. 468
About the Authorp. 480
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